TriMet awards $683,512 in federal funds to improve access to jobs in the region

by

Grants awarded for programs to aid low-income residents in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties

TriMet has awarded $683,512 in Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) grants to non-profit and government programs that connect low-income residents to jobs and job-related services. The federal funds flow through TriMet to the community and TriMet matches the amounts with in-kind transit services.

The JARC program was established to address the unique transportation challenges facing low-income residents seeking to obtain and maintain employment. It leverages transportation and social service resources to improve access to jobs and job-related activities.

“Access to transit is access to opportunity,” said TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane. “These JARC grants are going to agencies that offer critical programs and assistance that connect people to job centers, enhancing mobility and strengthening our community.”

The JARC grants fund mobility options to improve access to areas with entry-level employment opportunities, many of which are located in suburban areas not well-served by transit. Many entry level-jobs also require working late at night or on weekends when conventional transit services are either reduced or non-existent.

The following projects were selected through a competitive process, with participation by the Jobs Access Advisory Committee in the selection. The grants are for use in Fiscal Year 2014 (July 2013 through June 2014).

Tualatin Chamber of Commerce’s Tualatin Shuttle – $147,512
Tualatin – Transit Commute Service

The Tualatin Chamber of Commerce has successfully operated the Tualatin Shuttle since 1997. Although Tualatin has north-south transit service near the town center, it severely lacks east-west service to the Northwest quadrant of town identified by TriMet as a “Target Employment Area for JARC Funded Projects.” This area of Tualatin has the greatest concentration of jobs that is not directly served by TriMet. It attracts significant traffic due to the concentration of jobs, location between I-5 and Highway 99W, and lack of TriMet service.

“Approximately 90 percent of Tualatin’s 21,000 employees commute from other areas outside of Tualatin,” said Tualatin Chamber of Commerce CEO Linda Moholt. “This expanded service is the result of many community efforts to improve local transit service.”

In an effort to provide service to the NW Employment center and create an early win for the Southwest Corridor Plan, the JARC grant will be used to continue and expand the vital peak hour weekday shuttle service that is free to riders. The Tualatin Chamber of Commerce will expand service with a new fixed-route transit program.

Swan Island Business Association’s Swan Island Evening Shuttle – $120,000
Portland – Transit Commute Service

The Swan Island Evening Shuttle provides a last-mile shuttle service between the Rose Quarter Transit Center and the Swan Island employment area via Basin Avenue weekday evenings between 6:30 p.m. and midnight.

Swan Island Business Association Executive Director Lenny Anderson champions the phrase, “Swan Island: 10,000 great jobs, minutes from MAX.”

The Swan Island Evening Shuttle, which serves shift times when TriMet service is not offered, connects to all four MAX lines, Streetcar and six TriMet bus lines on Swan Island at Anchor Street (Line 72), at the Albina/Mississippi MAX station (Yellow Line & Line 35) and at the Rose Quarter Transit Center (Red, Blue & Green lines; bus lines 4, 8, 35, 44, and 77; and C-Tran 157).

“The Swan Island Evening Shuttle has provided an essential link to good paying 2nd and 3rd shift jobs on Swan Island since 2000,” said Anderson. “80 times every weeknight an employee at UPS, Daimler, Vigor Industrial or one of the many smaller employers on Swan Island gets a lift to work or home.

Clackamas Community College’s (CCC) Green Line Shuttle – $30,000
Clackamas County – Transit Commute Service

“The Clackamas Community College (CCC) Green Line Shuttle provides a transit lifeline to many of our students who otherwise would not have the time or money to attend college,” said College Services Vice President Courtney Wilton. “These students are constantly juggling work and class demands.” 

The CCC Green Line Shuttle runs express service between the college’s main campus in Oregon City and the MAX Green Line terminus at Clackamas Town Center. It is full during rush hours. Seventy-two percent of incoming CCC students receive financial aid; slightly over half of these students live below the federal poverty level and 42 percent work more than 20 hours a week. The shuttle service provides a direct trip that is not available on TriMet and connects the MAX infrastructure to the under-served area around Clackamas Community College.

“The time and money saved by riding the shuttle helps them immensely. The college is thankful to TriMet for the JARC funding that supports this endeavor,” Wilton stated.

Portland Community College’s Steps to Success (STS) Shuttle – $50,000
Portland – Transit Support/Travel Training/Job Retention Services

The STS Shuttle provides access to comprehensive educational, social and employment services to Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) recipients. STS offers individualized coaching, classes and training that allows clients to gain the skills and qualifications necessary to obtain permanent jobs or to transition into a new career. The 12-passenger STS shuttle van transports TANF clients to volunteer opportunities, employer hiring events and employment training services.

“The Shuttle Van allows Steps to Success customers to participate in the multiple employment and training activities they are required to attend throughout the city,” said Workforce Development Director Amy Youngflesh.  “The shuttle transports job seekers to job fairs, training classes and interviews so our customers can maximize their time while in the Steps to Success Program and become employed.”

Portland Community College’s Job Link – $30,000
Portland – Transit Support/Travel Training/Job Retention Services

“Job Link provides emergency transportation assistance for employees in the first 90-days of getting hired,” said Workforce Development Director Amy Youngflesh.

Job Link offers employment and training services for unemployed and under-employed residents of southeast, north and northeast Portland. This emergency transportation program for newly employed workers serves customers in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Welfare-To-Work program, Dislocated Workers, One-Stop customers, adult recipients of Food Stamp Employment and Training, and Housing Authority of Portland (Home Forward) residents. It is designed to solve immediate and short-term transportation needs within the first 90 days of employment that can make the difference between obtaining, keeping or losing a job.

“It can be in the form of a tow truck or taxi voucher so workers can get to work during that crucial first 90-days of work.  It’s available 24 hours/7-days a week. It has been a life link for hundreds of newly employed workers,” said Youngflesh.

Additional awardees

TRANSIT COMMUTE SERVICES

Ride Connection’s Forest Grove, Cornelius and Tigard Connector Service – $141,000
Ride Connection’s Connector Service provides transportation service to low-income areas that do not have transit service, helping individuals traveling for employment, job training or employment-related activities. Riders are able to connect to and utilize the TriMet system and create local community connections. Last-mile connector service will be made available in urbanized areas in Forest Grove, Cornelius and Tigard.

City of Tigard’s SW 72nd Avenue Employment Area Service – $40,000
Local and regional planning efforts identify the SW 72nd Avenue Employment Corridor in Tigard as a priority target area for added service. Those planning efforts include the 2013 Employment Transportation Services Plan, 2004 TriMet Transit Investment Priorities (TIP) Update, Tigard Transportation System Plan and the Southwest Corridor Plan. Adding last-mile connection service to this area will better serve current travel demand and future growth. It will improve transit connections and service options for low-income workers and job-seekers in the corridor.

TRANSIT SUPPORT/TRAVEL TRAINING/JOB RETENTION SERVICES

Clackamas County Social Services’ Catch-a-Ride – $25,000
Catch-a-Ride provides first-mile connectivity to fixed-route transit and other services from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the residents of public housing and other low-income households in Oregon City, Milwaukie and other sections of Clackamas County. The program also provides work training for drivers, clerical positions and dispatch operators.

OTHER TRANSPORTATION SERVICES

Community Cycling Center’s Create a Commuter – $60,000
Portland

The Create a Commuter program provides healthy and reliable alternative transportation options for adults living on lower incomes and in underserved communities so they can access jobs, and/or job-related services. With this grant, up to 170 eligible participants will receive bicycle safety education and fully-equipped commuter bicycles that will allow them to integrate into a multi-modal transportation system and access underserved transit areas or job-training programs.

Metropolitan Family Service’s Ways to Work – $40,000
Portland

Ways to Work is a national program operated locally that provides vital access to jobs and job-related support services for low-income households. Funds will support staffing and direct program costs to provide low interest automobile loans and financial education. Loan recipients must register with local car-sharing programs. Loan sizes range up to $8,000 with an interest rate of 8 percent.

TriMet/Grant recipients comply with Title VI of Civil Right Act of 1964

TriMet is committed to complying with the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The agency prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age or disability in all of its federally funded programs and activities.