LIMA — Public transportation needs can vary greatly for area residents, from seniors needing rides to medical appointments to young people entering the workforce needing ways to their jobs. A new plan endorsed by Allen County Commissioners aims to take a more regional approach when it comes to coordinating services to meet these needs.
Commissioners passed a resolution endorsing the West Central Ohio Regional Transportation Coordination Plan Thursday. The plan was developed through a collaborative effort between various non-profit agencies, the Lima-Allen County Regional Planning Commission, the Allen County Regional Transit Authority, the West Ohio Community Action Partnership and other regional transportation coalitions and incorporating Allen, Auglaize, Mercer and Van Wert counties.
“Once we received approval here, it will go to the Ohio Department of Transportation,” according to Area Agency on Aging 3 Executive Director Jacqi Bradley. “The coordinated plan provides language for local non-profits and providers of transportation services to receive vehicles, paying 20 percent for them with ODOT paying 80 percent. It also spells out the types of services that will be provided throughout our community.”
Pooling the resources of four counties rather than one can help leverage more federal transportation funding to help maintain services like Find-A-Ride and mobility management services, both provided through AAA3 and funded by ODOT.
“We’ve been filling a gap for quite some time, but now with the cutbacks the RTA has had to make in Allen County, we encourage people who are at this point elderly and disabled to call our agency and ask for the Find-A-Ride program to see if we can help link them to another transportation system.”
AAA3 will oversee implementing the plan and making amendments starting next year.