We should discuss how to provide public transportation to all Veterans (at no cost to the Veteran), with fares reimbursed to the transit agencies by the Federal Government. To accomplish this, I suggest we redesign the VA ID Card so that the Federal Government can reimburse Public Transit agencies for providing transit services to all military Veterans. From a policy standpoint, it would be ideal if the reimbursement could be used by Transit Agencies for either operating costs or capital expeditures. Providing national public transit service benefits to all registered Veterans nationwide would allow many Veterans the opportunity to remain independent and improve their quality of life, especially as many Veterans struggle with transportation issues and reduced mobility due to their military service or age. One useful by-product of this policy would be that it would yield data which Transit Agencies and the DOT could utilize to identify patterns of use and areas of need, in order to allocate resources more efficiently. Additionally, this federal policy can be implemented with little or no initial cost as it utilizes existing public transit systems nationwide. In fact, the only start-up costs would involve developing new VA ID Cards with similar features to the ID Cards for Active or Retired Military. Another minor cost would involve RFID card readers at vending machines or on vehicles.
Idea No. 10