Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Veterans Yet to See Transport Program; JTA Hopes to Have Project Fully Operational by Summer of 2014

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Veterans Yet to See Transport Program; JTA Hopes to Have Project Fully Operational by Summer of 2014

Article excerpt

Byline: Clifford Davis

A new JTA program mostly funded by nearly $2 million in federal grants was supposed to be operational this month but remains in the planning stages with not a penny of the money spent.

Meanwhile, veterans wait.

John Wallace, a 59-year-old ex-Army mechanic, sat in his wheelchair outside the VA Outpatient Center in Jacksonville on Thursday afternoon waiting for his ride.

He lives close to the clinic and uses JTA to get back and forth, but the problem comes when he needs to go to a VA hospital in Gainesville.

If his daughter can't take him, as she usually does, he has to depend on a VA van driven by volunteers to pick him up at the clinic - but the vans fit only 12 people and have a tight schedule.

"Sometimes, your appointment in Gainesville runs over, and you're late," Wallace said. "That van is going to leave at 2 p.m. If you're late, you get left. It's happened to me twice."

JTA plans to help solve that problem when its One Call, One Click program becomes a reality. It is meant to bring together resources from 12 counties for long trips outside JTA's operating area.

The agency was selected for the grant in November 2011 with much pomp, including a visit from Secretary of Transportation Ray Lahood.

But final confirmation of the grant didn't come through until August 2012, which considerably set back JTA's timetable, according to Brad Thoburn, JTA vice president of long-range planning.

Now JTA is hoping to have the project fully operational in summer 2014.

"We've kind of heard some rumblings out there," Thoburn said. "People get frustrated because the planning side, which is really important, isn't as visible."

The agency has been busy nonetheless, according to One Call, One Click project manager Liz Peak.

"We've held over 50 public meetings and are right now getting ready to make some of the large purchases of technology," Peak said. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.