Sen. Kissel Seeks to Expand Transportation Services for the Elderly

March 20, 2008

Bill provides additional funding for services set to begin in July in North Central Connecticut

State Senator John A. Kissel, R-Enfield, today said that a bill he is co-sponsoring that passed the legislature’s Human Services Committee will provide the Independent Transportation Network (ITN) of North Central Connecticut with additional funding to implement their regional transportation system. According to Sen. Kissel, who along with Sen. Jonathan Harris, D-West Hartford, initiated legislation in 2006 that originally created the regional networks, the legislation authorizes $50,000 to assist with the development cost of the projects set to begin in the greater Enfield area on July 1st of this year.

“I am very excited that we were able to move this item out of committee,” said Sen. Kissel, who serves as ranking Senator of the Human Services Committee. “The ultimate goal is to set up a regional transportation system that meets the needs of our elderly population. This program is designed to supplement local dial-a-ride programs and to eventually be self-sufficient.”

Sen. Kissel is the former ranking member of the legislature’s Select Committee on Aging. During his tenure on the committee, he worked closely with Sen. Jonathan Harris, D-West Hartford, to develop the ITN. Through their efforts the town of Enfield and surrounding communities along with the town of West Hartford were among the first to receive planning grants. The program will consist of volunteer drivers who will offer their services to the regions elderly population.

“We need to give our growing elderly population more access to transportation. The ITN does this without creating a large financial burden. I am very hopeful that once this program is up and running it will it will be a model for the entire state,” said Sen. Kissel.

The legislation now heads to the Appropriations committee for further deliberation. The Independent Transportation Network of North Central Connecticut consists of the towns of Enfield, Bloomfield, East Granby, East Windsor, Granby, Somers, Suffield, South Windsor, Windsor and Windsor Locks.

“So many local folks are working tremendously hard to make the North Central Connecticut transportation network a reality and this funding will help guarantee a successful start.”