Tuesday, January 3, 2012

VA Proposes Rules on Forthcoming Transportation Grant Program

The Dept of Veterans Affairs (VA) is planning to launch a program of grants to state veterans service agencies and local veterans services organizations to help provide transportation to VA medical care for veterans in "highly rural areas" (defined in this case as those counties or county equivalents with population densities of less than seven persons per square mile). This program is being established as a result of Section 307 of the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, which Pres. Obama signed into law on May 5, 2010 (P.L. 111-163). The legislation authorized $3 million per year from FY 2010 through FY 2014, and called upon VA to establish a program of $50,000 grants during this period to help states and local veterans service organizations address veterans' medical transportation needs in highly rural areas.

Before the VA can begin soliciting grant applications, they need to have the program structure in place, so they currently are seeking public comment to the rules they have proposed for this program. A notice appears in the December 30, 2011, Federal Register. While most of the proposed regulation for this program is simply a re-statement of the legislation, VA does have some elements that need meaningful input, such as the scoring criteria for applications under this program and the proposed reporting requirements for this program's grantees. Comments are due February 28, 2012.

For more information on this planned program, as well as the Veterans Transportation Service and other VA transportation initiatives, contact the VA's David Riley by email (david.riley3@va.gov) or phone (404-828-5601).

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