Military Veterans and Transportation Needs

(The following are TRANSPORTATION notes from the 2013 National Conference of State Legislatures – Military and Veteran’s Affairs Task Force. I am not presenting as my opinion, just relaying the information as it was presented during the task force meeting)

 Military Veterans and Transportation Needs

Did You Know…?

  • many of America’s 23 million veterans face transportation mobility challenges
  • states can and do help by:
    • coordinating services
    • funding programs
    • providing transportation
    • reducing fees and taxes
  • recent federal initiatives include:
    • new grant program
    • Veterans Transportation Service
    • national online dialogue
  • need to get to work, school, medical care, community and family
  • WWII and Korean war veterans no longer drive
  • Younger veterans surviving battlefield injuries that were fatal in previous wars and require continuing therapeutic care
  • injuries to fatalities ratio is 16:1 (5x greater than Vietnam War)
  • of 1.8 million served in Iraq or Afghanistan, 360,000 have traumatic brain injuries
  • 26% of those who have served since 2001 have a service connected disability, compared with 14% of all veterans
  • veterans more at risk for unemployment, homelessness, PTSD, major depression, suicide
  • need access to jobs, training, social services, mental health care, social activities; but 40% live in rural areas where less available

 

State Action

All levels of government and many non-governmental organizations can help

Coordination:

  • better coordinate diverse programs across state agencies
  • programs more efficient
  • programs easier to use

Funding:

  • special trust funds or dedicated funds
  • vouchers for wheelchair disabled veterans to use public transportation for medical appointments

Transportation programs:

  • state coordinates transportation for veterans at county level
  • vans on specific routes to VA hospital

Reduced taxes and fees:

  • states waive or reduce certain vehicle-related fees and taxes for eligible veterans:
    • driver’s license fees
    • vehicle taxes
    • fees for special veteran’s license plates
    • fees for disability placards

Other state roles:

  • free or reduced transit fees
  • waive toll road fees
  • special parking privileges
  • initiate studies
  • joining multi-state initiatives

 

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