Tuesday, April 21, 2009

President Signs National Service Bill Into Law

Today (April 21), President Obama signed the "Serve America Act" into law. At its essence, this is a reuathorization of domestic volunteer service programs managed by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Our colleagues in the voluntary service sector can speak more eloquently about the overall opportunities that are created under this legislation. Perhaps its most dramatic feature is a tripling of the AmeriCorps program.

There are two leading potential angles of interest for public and community transportation in this legislation. One is that most of the volunteer service programs allow program funds to be used to cover at least a portion of participants' transportation costs, either as part of their stipends, or else as part of sponsors' management of particular service projects. Another is that it is possible for AmeriCorps or other service programs to be used to provide on-the-ground people to do field work, resource coordination, mobility management, or outreach for community-based transportation activities.

In case you're wondering where this legislation may relate to your state or community, here's a list of service programs it has extended, amended, renewed or established:

Learn and Serve America
National Service Trust
National Civilian Conservation Corps
National Senior Service Corps
Volunteers for Prosperity

For information on how the federal government will implement this legislation, go to the website of the Corporation for National and Community Service, at www.nationalservice.gov

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