WASHINGTON, July 2 (UPI) -- Grants totaling $29 million will help U.S. military veterans access local transit systems for jobs, school and other destinations, federal officials said.
The grants will support 64 projects in 33 states and the Northern Mariana Islands, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Monday in a release.
"Ensuring that our veterans and military families have access to quality, convenient transportation is just one way we can thank them for their service," LaHood said. "With these transportation grants, we will help connect veterans and military families with the jobs and training opportunities they deserve, as well as the medical care and other services they need, all located close to home."
The Veterans Transportation and Community Living Initiative, funded and overseen by the Federal Transit Administration, supports initiatives by local governments and transit agencies to use technologies making it easier for veterans and others to access and schedule rides on buses, vans, taxis and other transportation systems, the department said.
"America's war heroes deserve a chance to support their families, participate in their communities, receive job training and get to work," FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff said. "It's vitally important that we remove barriers to success by making transportation available wherever our veterans choose to live, work and receive care."
The unemployment rate for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is greater than 12 percent, more than 4 percentage points above the national average, the Transportation Departments said.