Access to Jobs
Transportation plays a vital role in our society. One major area that transportation affects is jobs. Unfortunately, traveling to jobs is more often easier said than done, particularly for those without access to fast, reliable transportation. In almost every city, automobiles remain the fastest and most reliable way to get around. However, minorities and lower-income individuals have significantly lower rates of car ownership.
In addition, the shift of jobs, in particular entry-level and low-skill jobs, from the central city to the suburbs caused a mismatch between residential and employment locations. The growth of jobs in suburban locations that are difficult and often impossible to reach by conventional transit service has created a genuine problem for low-income households without access to reliable automobiles.
As a result, federal, state, and local transportation agencies are working to improve access to jobs.
Working to improve access to jobs in the Baltimore region In response to a federal transit program, the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board developed a comprehensive area-wide approach to providing transportation services to welfare recipients and low-income people regardless of jurisdictional boundaries.
The Regional Job Access and Reverse Commute Transportation Plan was prepared to help guide funding recommendations and long-term service planning. This plan is not meant to supersede, but to build upon existing area welfare to work transportation planning activities. The plan’s contents follow the outline prescribed by the Federal Transit Administration in its Job Access and Reverse Commute grant program.
JARC and New Freedom Funding Programs
The Maryland Transit Administration administers federal funding through the Section 5316 (Job Access and Reverse Commute – JARC) and Section 5317 (New Freedom) Programs.
Usually on an annual basis, the BRTB reviews requests for funding that are then submitted to the Mass Transit Administration for consideration and submission to the Federal Transit Administration.
The Maryland Transit Administration is responsible for administering a variety of state and federal grants for public transportation programs. The federal programs covered under this application process include:
- Section 5316 Program – Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC)
- Section 5317 Program – New Freedom
The JARC program provides formula funding to states to support the development and maintenance of projects designed to transport welfare recipients and eligible low-income individuals to and from jobs and activities related to their employment.
The New Freedom program is to provide new public transportation services and public transportation alternatives beyond those currently required by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 121001, et seq.) that assist individuals with disabilities with transportation, including transportation to and from job and employment support services.
A key consideration in the review process is seeking project proposals that address the priorities in the Baltimore Area Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan for the Baltimore region. Each regional plan in the state includes information on the transportation needs for people with disabilities, older adults and individuals with lower incomes in that region, an inventory of available transportation services, and identifies strategies and potential projects for addressing gaps in services.
The regional plans also fulfill new coordinated planning requirements for the JARC and New Freedom Programs, and future projects funded through these programs must be derived from the plan.
JARC Selection Criteria
The BRTB considers a number of different factors when making recommendations come from the Regional Job Access and Reverse Commute Transportation Plan.
MTA and the BRTB use the following selection criteria. This criteria differs from the State-wide criteria, included in the application, in that the Baltimore Regional criteria weights the Local Needs at 25 points out of 100 and the Coordination and Cooperation at 20 points out of 100.
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