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Mayor's Office

2005 Media Releases

June 7, 2005
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Larry Worth, StarTran, 441-7185
Mary Jo McClurg, Cornhusker Bank, 434-2220
Doug Alford, TierOne Bank, 475-0521

Initiative Promotes Home Ownership And Public Transit

Mayor Coleen J. Seng today announced a program that provides home buyers in Lincoln with a new financial incentive to purchase a home near public transportation. The Smart CommuteTM Initiative is based on homeowners spending less on commuting expenses and putting those potential savings toward the purchase of a home. If eligible home buyers purchase a house within a quarter-mile of a StarTran bus stop, TierOne Bank and Cornhusker Bank will add a portion of their transportation savings to their qualifying income to increase their home-buying power. (Smart Commute is a trademark of Fannie Mae.)

“For many households, transportation costs are the second largest expense after housing,” said Mayor Seng. “With the recent increases in gas prices, public transportation has taken on added importance. I am thrilled to help promote this kind of innovative, creative program that encourages both the use of public transit and home ownership.”

As an added incentive, StarTran will offer borrowers participating in the Smart Commute Initiative with three months of free transit passes, valued at $90. “This is very positive news for potential homeowners who depend on StarTran to link them to employment, education or entertainment,” said Larry Worth, StarTran Transit Manager. “With the Smart Commute Initiative in Lincoln, people in our community can take advantage of living closer to transit opportunities, while saving money for a new home.”

Mayor Seng and Worth were joined at the announcement by Mokhtee Ahmad, Regional VII Administrator for the Federal Transit Administration and local lending partners.

“We are excited about offering mortgages through the Smart Commute Initiative in Lincoln as a way to promote the use of public transportation and help families achieve the dream of home ownership,” said Doug Alford, First Vice President of TierOne Bank.

“With interest rates lower than a year ago, we feel this is a great opportunity for borrowers to qualify for more of a home today and save transportation costs,” said Mary Jo McClurg, Vice President and Branch Manager, Cornhusker Bank.

Under the program, the participating lenders will be able to add to the qualifying income $200 per month for households with one wage earner and $250 per month for households with two wage earners. Other advantages of the initiative include low or no down payments, environmental benefits and reduced traffic congestion.

Consumers interested in the Smart Commute Initiative may contact Bob Brandt at TierOne Bank, 475-0521, or Mary Jo McClurg at Cornhusker Bank, 434-2220.

For more information on StarTran, call 476-1234 or see the City Web site at

Mayor's Office    Media Releases