MCOTA Funding Primer Technical Report

In the state of Minnesota, state and federal funding for public transit systems is administered by a number of different agencies, with coordination efforts encouraged by the Minnesota Council on Transportation Access (MCOTA). The Minnesota Legislature established MCOTA in 2010. MCOTA was established in order to “study, evaluate, oversee, and make recommendations to improve the coordination, availability, accessibility, efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and safety of transportation services provided to transit public1”. MCOTA is tasked with duties related to the following key areas: vehicle and client sharing, cost sharing and purchasing, communication and coordinated planning, reporting and evaluation, and research and demonstration2. This MCOTA Research Project is aimed at providing an inventory of the transportation funding programs available from the federal and state government in Minnesota, including funding levels and details about the administration of each program. The goal is to identify opportunities for coordination.

What is Human Services transportation (community-based transportation)?

Human Services transportation includes broad range of transportation services for transportation-disadvantaged population; primarily persons with disabilities, seniors, low-income individuals, and children. Since Human Service transportation is not centrally coordinated in Minnesota, the goal of this report is to more fully understand all sources that fund this service. As stated on MCOTA’s website, “While there have been significant investments in transit at the federal, state, and local levels, serious gaps in service exist in many communities. Unfortunately, a multitude of funding programs and requirements across dozens of departments and agencies make transportation coordination and communication a daunting task.”

What are the purposes of Human Services transportation?

In order to support and increase transportation options for transportation-disadvantaged people, funding would be allocated to different organizations with various transportation purposes. Transportation-disadvantaged people have different needs and require a variety of transportation services with different trip purposes. Based on the survey results, most trip purposes would be as following:

  • Health/medical (e.g., single or periodic trips to doctor, clinic, drug store, treatment center)
  • Health maintenance (e.g., dialysis or other recurring and frequent trips that require regular transport)
  • Nutrition
  • Income maintenance (e.g., trips to food stamp or social security office)
  • Social trip (e.g., visit to friends/relatives)
  • Recreation (e.g., trip to cultural or athletic events)
  • Education/ training
  • Employment (e.g., trips to work, including job interviews. welfare-to-work trips)
  • Social services (e.g., trips to meet with counselors, social workers, and other staff related to the receipt of social services)
  • K-12 education (school children)