Franklin County commissioners are withholding allocated funds for Western Maine Transportation Services. As a result, WMTS is unable to draw down larger federal funding. Riders and town officials have been given a letter detailing the termination or drastic reduction in services in Franklin County, as of March 31.

In speaking with WMTS, I was told that the “on demand” bus would likely be terminated. Fares and individual donations cannot be used as matching funds for federal grants, and are not enough to keep the service viable.

Riders range from drivers with a temporary injuries, elderly people shopping, people going to training programs and jobs, people who can’t drive for medical reasons attending PT sessions, appointments and volunteering.

I want to stress that the bus is essentially a ride-share program for non-drivers. Recently, after serving the Jay Head Start children, the bus made four stops in Wilton including mine, three locations on Route 2, three in Farmington (before 9:45 a.m.) and made three more stops on the way back to Wilton before I was home at 11:45.

It is available to all residents. A ride-share program for $10,000 a year for the county, with maintenance, drivers, fuel, schedulers, grant writers, wheelchair-lift equipped and insurance? Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

Recently commissioners stated a desire to take care of their own before allowing entry by immigrants. If the commissioners truly want to take care of the people of Franklin County, then stripping them of vital social services is not a good place to start.

Nancy Walters, Wilton


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