UAH new site of state Office for Public Transportation under grant

Dr. Mike Anderson

Dr. Mike Anderson, chair of UAH’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, is the principal investigator for the grant.

Michael Mercier | UAH

Beginning in January, The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) will be the site of the Office for Public Transportation under a three-year, $4.5 million grant.

The grant is through a partnership between the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and University of Alabama in Huntsville.

"We are being established to provide support services to ALDOT and the state’s public transportation providers through UAH," says Dr. Mike Anderson, chair of UAH’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and the principal investigator for the grant.

UAH will staff the new office with a director, a financial manager and three regional managers. They will work with rural providers of public transportation and providers of transportation specifically designated for elderly and disabled passengers, Dr. Anderson says. The office’s financial manager will be located in Montgomery and the regional managers will be in the regions they represent.

The state has approximately 30 rural transit agencies and 150 agencies transporting the elderly and disabled.

"For the most part, these agencies are run by county governments or designated non-profit organizations," Dr. Anderson says.

UAH will assume the Office for Public Transportation’s roles in overseeing invoicing and spending, vehicle maintenance activities, passenger policies and procedures, and driver rules and regulations. Reporting to ALDOT’s State Local Transportation Engineer and the Local Transportation Bureau, the office will ensure local providers are in compliance with all ALDOT and FTA regulations.

Regional managers will also conduct training sessions for drivers on a variety of topics including passenger conduct, vehicle inspections and vehicle maintenance. In addition, the office will provide assistance to counties wishing to establish federally compliant public transportation agencies and with route mapping or other requests.

"Call us and we’ll work with you to establish whatever transportation system you need," Dr. Anderson says. "Or, if you have an established system, we’ll work with you to make sure that it follows the FTA guidelines."

 

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