Senator Kissel Helping to Establish Regional Transportation System for Seniors

May 3, 2006

State Senator John A. Kissel (R-Enfield) continues to advocate on behalf of a proposal that could provide up to $50,000 in state funds to establish a regional transportation system for Enfield and the surrounding area’s seniors. Last year Senator Kissel and Senator Jonathan Harris (D-West Hartford) initiated this proposal and met with Katherine Freund, founder of the Independent Transportation Network, a Portland, Maine service, on which the Connecticut system would be modeled after. Recently, the town of Enfield has been looking into raising up to $25,000 locally which could then be matched or even exceeded by state funds.

“Senator Harris and I have been advocating on behalf of this proposal for the past two years and I am happy to see that the town of Enfield is embracing this opportunity,” said Senator Kissel. “Portland, Maine’s program has been widely successful providing safe, convenient, and dependable transportation for that state’s seniors and visually impaired residents and I am hopeful we could have similar success here in Connecticut.”

The matching state funds would be included in state budget implementer legislation. Portland’s Independent Transportation Network provides rides 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Already, the Enfield Town Council has voted unanimously to allow Pamela Brown, the town’s social services director, to apply for the state grant from Connecticut’s Department of Social Services.

Senator Kissel and Senator Harris have worked together extensively on issues pertaining to seniors as members of the Select Committee on Aging, including advocating on behalf of critical changes to the state’s Commission on Aging. Senator Kissel serves as the Committee’s Ranking Member and Senator Harris, the former mayor of West Hartford, serves as the Committee’s Co-Chairman.

“I would like to thank Senator Harris for his hard work on this issue as well as his dedication to helping seniors throughout the state. We both strongly support this proposal which would help seniors keep their independence after they are no longer willing or able to drive themselves.”