HIRTA lands $1 million for Health Connector for Most Vulnerable

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URBANDALE, Iowa — The Heart of Iowa Regional Transportation Agency (HIRTA) was awarded $1,084,257 from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to fund its Complete Trip-ITS4US Deployment Program, HIRTA announced Thursday.

HIRTA Executive Director Julia Castillo said the first 12 months of the program will be given to concept development phase, which aims to deploy enhanced and equal access to healthcare options for all Dallas County residents.

“This project is an amazing opportunity for HIRTA and can be life changing for those in Dallas county,” Castillo said. “HIRTA was one of five projects selected to receive this funding. Our project — called Health Connector for the Most Vulnerable: An Inclusive Mobility Experience from Beginning to End — will focus on the complete trip, not just pickup and drop off.”

Specifically, the program will focus on underserved communities, Castillo said, including rural residents, veterans, persons with disabilities, low-income people, older adults and persons with limited English proficiency. Details are available on the HIRTA website. HIRTA serves the public’s transportation needs in Boone, Dallas, Jasper, Madison, Marion, Story and Warren counties in central Iowa.

“Part of the success of the project will be to replicate it in our other communities,” Castillo said, “so this will be a far-reaching project once all the phases are complete. We have an amazing group of people who will be part of this every step of the way. One requirement includes HIRTA working with local partners to make this possible, which is a huge positive.”

The DOT’s Complete Trip-ITS4US Deployment Program will make up to $40 million available for projects, showcasing partnerships, practices and technologies that encourage independent mobility for all. The overall goal is to increase mobility options across transportation modes while addressing the obstacles of planning and completing trips. The Complete Trip program develops local partnerships and mobility solutions to achieve complete trips for all travelers.

Castillo said HIRTA is grateful to the U.S. DOT and the Federal Highway Administration for the programming opportunity and excited about the positive impact it will make in its communities.

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