The Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) announced Friday an agreement has been reached with the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA) and the Eastern Nebraska
Office of Aging (ENOA) that will allow the continuation of services offered through ENOA’s rural transportation program. The agreement between the three parties is effective immediately and will support services through the end of October.
In mid-May the NDOT’s Local Assistance’s Transit Office became aware that the current program was
operating out of compliance with the Federal Transit Administration’s Section 5311 requirements. Due to changes in urban and rural classification, the program’s authorized boundaries shifted causing a potential loss of services to those communities that now are considered in the urban boundary. The NDOT has been working with MAPA and ENOA to implement a resolution that would allow services to continue as currently offered through the combination of several federal grant programs.
“This resolution reflects a strong partnership between all parties that allows this vital service to continue,” NDOT Transit Manager Kari Ruse said. “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.”
The program currently provides public transportation to people residing west of 120th Street in Omaha, along with four other counties, including Washington, in eastern Nebraska. Due to changes to the urban map, the new boundary was pushed to 180th Street, impacting those riders in between as well as riders in Papillion, Gretna, and Bellevue.
To be considered a rural trip and eligible for Section 5311 reimbursement, either the origin or the destination of the trip must be in a rural area.
The department will continue to work with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit
Administration and metro-area stakeholders to establish long-term solutions.