LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — The Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) announced an agreement Friday to continue rural transit services after boundary changes to the transportation program threatened to leave some riders ineligible.
NDOT reached an agreement with the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA) and the Eastern Nebraska Office of Aging (ENOA) that allows services offered through ENOA's rural transportation program to continue through the end of October.
The agreement between all parties is effective immediately.
NDOT's Local Assistance's Transit Office became aware in Mid-may that the current program was operating out of compliance with the Federal Transit Administration's Section 5311 requirements, a press release from NDOT says.
Because of changes in urban and rural classification, the program's authorized boundaries changed, resulting in a possible loss of services to those communities that are now considered in the urban boundary.
MAPA, ENOA and NDOT have been working to implement a resolution that allows services to continue as they currently are through the combination of various federal grant programs.
“This resolution reflects a strong partnership between all parties that allows this vital service to continue,” said NDOT Transit Manager, Kari Ruse. “Everyone involved has been committed to finding a quick and
sustainable solution that brings us into compliance and continues to provide transit service to the Omaha community.”
Currently, the program provides public transportation to those living west of 120th St in Omaha. Four other counties in Eastern Nebraska also utilize the program.
NDOT says that because of the urban map changes, the new boundary was pushed to 180th St, impacting riders in between the boundaries. Riders in Papillion, Gretna and Bellevue would also be affected.
The origin or destination of the trip must be in a rural area to be eligible for Section 5311 reimbursement and to be considered a rural trip.
NDOT continues to work with the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration and stakeholders in the metro area to establish long-term solutions.