News Releases

1/16/2014: Collins Named NCDOT Public Transportation Division Director

Collins Named NCDOT Public Transportation Division Director

Posted 1/16/2014 5:38:35 PM

RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Transportation today announced Debra Collins as the new director of the department’s Public Transportation Division. Collins begins her new duties on Feb. 1 and will oversee the day-to-day operations of the division, which fosters the development of intercity, urban and rural public transportation in North Carolina. “Debra is a seasoned professional with a deep knowledge of public transportation,” said NCDOT Deputy Secretary for Transit Richard Walls. “Her experience and expertise will not only be of great benefit to the division, but also to the public transportation systems serving all 100 counties of North Carolina.” Collins comes to NCDOT from N.C. State University’s Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE) where she currently serves as co-director of the Institute’s Public Transportation Group, as well as program manager for the Urban Transit Assistance Program and manager of the North Carolina Transit Program. Prior to her time at ITRE, Collins worked with the Virginia Department of Highways and Transportation, the Virginia Highway and Transportation Research Council and the City of High Point, and held several positions with the Winston-Salem Transit Authority. She is a 1977 graduate of Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Va. where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science. She also holds a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. In addition to her work experience and participation in several national public transportation projects, Collins has served on several boards and committees including the North Carolina Public Transportation Association, the American Public Transit Association (APTA) Technology Procurement Working Group and the Institute of Transportation Engineers Technical Advisory Group on Planning for ITS Transit Training Standards Modules. She was also the recipient of the NCDOT Governor’s Award for Public Transportation in 2000. A native of Lexington, Va., Collins lives in Salisbury with her husband, Rip. The couple has two children, Will and Casey. Her salary will be $98,446 a year. The NCDOT Public Transportation Division awards grant funds to local public transportation systems. These grants enable systems to provide people in all 100 counties access to education, job opportunities and health care. For more information on grant programs through the Public Transportation Division of NCDOT, as well as transit systems that serve the public throughout the state, visit www.ncdot.gov/nctransit. ***NCDOT***
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6/18/2013: Public Transportation Helps Feed Residents of Rutherford County

Public Transportation Helps Feed Residents of Rutherford County

Posted 6/18/2013 10:40:17 AM

RALEIGH — With the assistance of funds through the N.C. Department of Transportation, Rutherford County Transit is helping connect those in need with a local food bank through a unique partnership. In January, after seeing signs along the side of the road numerous times advertising free food at Storehouse Pantry, a local food pantry, Rutherford County Transportation Services Director Kerry Giles decided to learn more about the service and investigate ways that the transit system could help get the food to those who need it the most. Within a week, Rutherford County Transit began offering free transportation to Storehouse Pantry on Thursdays to residents who don’t have access to transportation. “This partnership is a perfect marriage of services,” said Giles. “The pantry provides the food and we eliminate the transportation barrier, ensuring that people are able to get to the food that they need – it just made sense.” Approximately 100 residents use the service a month, and Giles is looking at ways to increase those numbers. “We use five vans that seat eight people. With food onboard, we can only fit four people on each vehicle,” said Giles. “We’re working with local churches to set up a schedule where they use their vehicles to transport the food so we can fill our vans with more people.” In addition to transporting more people per vehicle, Rutherford County Transit is also looking at expanding hours of the service, which would enable the system to possibly schedule two runs per vehicle. They’re also running some routes on Tuesdays to accommodate residents from areas with a higher need. Giles is also looking to partner with other free food distribution sites in the area to increase the amount of food making its way to those who need it in Rutherford County. How it Works: Every Thursday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., Rutherford County Transit vans pick up residents of various communities. The current schedule is as follows: •    1st Thursday – Forest City, Cliffside and Henrietta; •    2nd Thursday – Rutherfordton, Spindale, Ruth and Green Hill; •    3rd Thursday – Sunshine, Bostic and Golden Valley; and •    4th Thursday – Ellenboro, Mooresboro and Harris. The service is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to limited seating, interested riders must call in advance to reserve a seat. Upon arrival, riders must bring a form of identification, as well as proof of residency, such as a utility bill. Storehouse Pantry requires anyone interested in receiving free food to fill out an eligibility form. Residents can only ride once a month. One person per household, 18-years-old or older, can ride. No coolers can be brought on board and cancellations must be made at least 24 hours in advance. NCDOT’s Public Transportation Division (PTD) supports Rutherford County Transit through the Rural Operating Assistance Program. NCDOT-PTD awards grant funds to local public transportation systems. These grants enable systems to provide people in all 100 counties access to education, job opportunities and health care. For more information on grant programs through the Public Transportation Division of NCDOT, as well as transit systems that serve the public throughout the state, visit www.ncdot.gov/nctransit. ***NCDOT*** PTD
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Rutherford County Transit Driver Earl Crowder, right; and a passenger loading food into a transit vehicle.
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7/24/2012: Board of Transportation Approves $87,717 to Chapel Hill Transit for Planning of Expanded Park and Ride Options

Board of Transportation Approves $87,717 to Chapel Hill Transit for Planning of Expanded Park and Ride Options

Posted 7/24/2012 12:16:12 PM

RALEIGH — The N.C. Board of Transportation at its July meeting approved $87,717 in state funding to the Town of Chapel Hill, operating as Chapel Hill Transit, through the NCDOT Public Transportation Division’s Urban/Regional Bus and Facility Program, to conduct a feasibility study for the expansion of the Eubanks Road Park and Ride lot. The Urban/Regional Bus and Facility Program provides the required state match to direct recipients of federally funded grants through the Federal Transit Administration for projects such as new buses and vehicles, as well as maintenance, operations or transfer facilities. Chapel Hill Transit received a Federal Transit Administration Urbanized Area Formula Program Capital grant to conduct a feasibility study and, if found feasible, undertake preliminary engineering and design for the potential expansion of the park and ride lot on Eubanks Road between Millhouse Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (N.C. 86). The state funding approved will be used as the required 10 percent match. These funds match $87,718 in local funds and $701,747 in federal funding, totaling $877,182. Park and ride lots enable transit riders who do not live within walking distance of their stop to park their car in a designated area where they can then board their desired bus route. The Eubanks Road lot, which was built in 1995 and is owned by the Town of Chapel Hill, has 400 parking spaces on approximately seven acres of land. A recent study shows that the lot is about 89 percent occupied. Due to anticipated growth and development in the area, as well as the planned development of high-quality rapid transit in the corridor, Chapel Hill Transit is studying increasing the capacity at the lot by either purchasing nearby property to accommodate additional spaces, or constructing a parking deck on the current lot. Since Gov. Bev Perdue took office, the NCDOT Public Transportation Division has awarded more than $436 million in grant funds to local public transportation systems. These grants enable systems to provide people in all 100 counties access to education, job opportunities and health care. For more information on grant programs through the Public Transportation Division of NCDOT, as well as transit systems that serve the public throughout the state, visit www.ncdot.gov/nctransit. ***NCDOT***
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6/15/2012: Students Begin Apprenticeships and Internships at North Carolina Public Transportation Agencies

Students Begin Apprenticeships and Internships at North Carolina Public Transportation Agencies

Posted 6/15/2012 8:55:18 AM

RALEIGH — For seven college graduates and one graduate student, June isn’t just the end of the school year, it’s also the beginning of an opportunity to get first-hand work experience in the public transportation industry and prepare for a career in the future. Each year, the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Public Transportation Division Apprenticeship and Internship Program matches current graduate students and recent college graduates with a sponsor public transportation agency, transportation management company or planning organization for a paid 12-month apprenticeship or internship. “Working as the NCDOT Apprentice for Triangle Transit, I’ve had the opportunity to explore the inner workings and operations behind providing excellent customer service, efficient route management and effective public involvement," said former Triangle Transit Apprentice Kenneth Baker. To see an interview with Baker during his apprenticeship, visit the NCDOT YouTube page. Apprenticeship Program The apprenticeship program gives individuals who have recently earned their undergraduate degree the opportunity to work in the field of public transportation management. The program provides exposure to all aspects of a transit system and allows apprentices to gain experience in managing public transportation operations. Apprentices are required to complete independent research or a special project based on the sponsor’s needs and the apprentice’s abilities. Seven apprentices were placed this year at the following public transportation agencies: •    Charlotte Area Transit System •    Chapel Hill Transit •    Concord Kannapolis Area Transit •    Durham Area Transit Authority •    Greensboro Transit Authority •    Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation (PART) •    Triangle Transit Internship Program The internship program provides work experience and learning opportunities for graduate students attending colleges and universities in North Carolina. Interns will have the opportunity to use both analytical and communications skills that they have gained during their academic career in a public transportation setting. With hands-on training and experience, interns are better able to evaluate public transportation careers and compete for jobs. One intern was placed this year at N.C. State University Wolfline. The N.C. Board of Transportation approved $239,523 in state funding at their May meeting to support the program, with the remaining 10 percent coming from the local governments sponsoring the apprentices and interns. Gov. Bev Perdue’s proposed budget continues to support enhancing or expanding our transportation infrastructure. Since Gov. Bev Perdue took office, the NCDOT Public Transportation Division has awarded more than $436 million in grant funds to local public transportation systems. These grants enable systems to provide people in all 100 counties access to education, job opportunities and health care. For more information on this program and grant programs through the Public Transportation Division of NCDOT, as well as transit systems that serve the public throughout the state, visit www.ncdot.gov/nctransit. ***NCDOT***
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5/18/2012: Applications Now Accepted for Public Transportation Rural Operating Assistance Program

Applications Now Accepted for Public Transportation Rural Operating Assistance Program

Posted 5/18/2012 9:12:00 AM

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Transportation’s Public Transportation Division is currently accepting applications for the Fiscal Year 2013 Rural Operating Assistance Program (ROAP) grant program. ROAP is a state-funded public transportation program that consolidates three grants into a single application package. County governments and eligible transportation authorities can apply for their county’s designated share of $18.8 million available through the following programs: Elderly and Disabled Transportation Assistance Program (EDTAP) EDTAP provides operating assistance funds for the transportation of elderly and disabled citizens, enabling them to reside for a longer period of time in their homes, enhancing their quality of life. A total of $7.7 million is available through this program; Employment Transportation Assistance Program (EMPL) EMPL is intended to help Department of Social Services clients who have transitioned off the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Work First program in the last 12 months, as well as Workforce Development Program participants and the general public for travel to work, training and other employment-related destinations. A total of $3 million is available through this program; and Rural General Public Program (RGP) RGP is intended to provide transportation services for individuals in rural areas who are not receiving transportation benefits from human service agencies or organizations. The county, in consultation with the Community Transportation System, must determine the RGP services to be provided with RGP funds. A total of $8.1 million is available through this program. By consolidating these three programs into one application, NCDOT-PTD staff will be able to better understand services that will be provided and assure that funds will be used as intended. The deadline to apply for ROAP funding is June 20. To view application materials, visit www.ncdot.gov/nctransit and click on “Grant and Program News.” Since Gov. Bev Perdue took office, the NCDOT Public Transportation Division has awarded more than $436 million in grant funds to local public transportation systems. These grants enable systems to provide people in all 100 counties access to education, job opportunities and health care. For more information on grant programs through the Public Transportation Division of NCDOT, as well as transit systems that serve the public throughout the state, visit www.ncdot.gov/nctransit. ***NCDOT***
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