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Funding Rural Public Transit Skip to content

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Funding Rural Public Transit


Older adults living in rural areas need public transportation options and services that will ensure their ability to age in place and live independently for as long as possible. Transportation services in both rural and urban areas rely heavily on public subsidiaries; however, funding from the federal government is limited in rural communities. AARP produced this fact sheet to discuss state and local funding options for public transit services in rural areas.

Key Points

The fact sheet provides an overview of existing funding sources for rural public transit, an outline of suggestions for policy makers on funding rural public transit, and examples of public and private funding partnerships. Rural public transit services are assembled through a mix of funding resources. With each resource providing limited funding, it is critical for rural public transit to have multiple funding sources.

Other report highlights include:

  1. Some local communities allocate funds from town and city budgets for transportation services that are often focused on the needs of older adults.
  2. Certain commercial grocery stores have contributed to dial-a-ride programs that bring seniors in the area to shop for groceries on a regular basis.
  3. Public transit funding from the Administration on Aging is allocated at the regional Area Agency on Aging level, based upon annual needs assessments by region.

How to Use

The fact sheet provides an overview of public transit funding options available for rural communities from the federal government, state and local governments, and public and private funding organizations. Reviewing this fact sheet will allow local officials and policymakers to gain an understanding of existing funding resources for rural public transit and the importance of having multiple funding streams to establish a practical public transit system in rural communities.

View full report: Funding Rural Public Transit (PDF – 477 KB)

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