JAMM Transit Receives State CARES Funds for Safety Protections
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JAMM Transit today announced that it is receiving nearly $300,000 in state CARES Act funding to assist in the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment and cleaning supplies.
“The health and welfare of our passengers is the number one priority of JAMM Transit,” said Erica Pogue, JAMM’s Operations Director.
“This emergency relief funding from the state is significant for us to increase our safety protocols while at the same time saving our transit CARES dollars for other operating needs during this pandemic.”
Oklahoma’s public transit systems have been severely impacted by the decreased ridership and higher operational costs due to COVID-19.
In late August, Governor Kevin Stitt and Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) Secretary Tim Gatz announced that $6 million in federal CARES Act funding would be directed to ODOT for the Protect Transit project that includes support in purchasing Personal Protection Equipment and cleaning supplies for public transit agencies statewide.
“Our transit operators play a key role in the lives of many Oklahomans each day,” said Governor Stitt. “This funding will help ensure our public transit system can continue to provide critical services safely and consistently as we recover from the impact of COVID-19.”
“It’s good to see JAMM Transit leading the way on putting CARES Act dollars to work protecting riders and drivers from the spread of COVID-19,” Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz said.
“ODOT has already received funding requests for Personal Protective Equipment and cleaning supplies from 30 organizations that provide transportation services in Oklahoma, and we expect to work with many more until all $6 million is committed.”
During this health crisis, transit systems across Oklahoma have continued to perform their daily service to thousands of Oklahomans who depend upon transit as their only means to get to life-saving medical appointments, to grocery stores, pharmacies and other shopping locations, to work and to other essential places.
Systems statewide have increased safety precautions in a variety of ways including increased and deeper cleanings, personal protective actions, social distancing, changes in operating procedures and following all CDC recommendations.
“Rural transit is essential to the wellbeing of our citizens, communities and the state’s economy,” said Oklahoma Speaker of the House Charles McCall (R-Atoka).
“The importance of transit has been magnified during the COVID-19 pandemic with systems continuing to meet the critical transportation needs of Oklahomans while at the same time increasing safety and health standards.”
The Speaker said that in the long-term, the legislature must address the viability of Oklahoma’s transit system once the pandemic subsides.
“Public transit will be a major component of Oklahoma’s economic recovery. Without an effective public transit system operating seamlessly statewide within and between rural and urban Oklahoma, a recovery will be slow at best, if at all,” he concluded.
JAMM Transit, headquartered in Atoka and Tishomingo, is a rural public transportation system dedicated to providing excellence in transportation through mobility that promotes self-sufficiency, independence and improves the quality of life while stimulating economic development with the provision of safe, reliable, affordable and accessible transportation services for the public.
JAMM Transit serves residents living in Johnston, Atoka, Marshall and Murray counties in southeast Oklahoma.
”This state CARES Act funding is critical to our ability to keep the buses running,” said LaQuita Thornley, Executive Director of INCA Community Services.
“In the short-term costs have gone up, revenue has gone down, hours have got longer, and the responsibilities to the community have increased. We appreciate Governor Stitt and Secretary Gatz recognizing the critical need and financially assisting our transit systems during the pandemic.”