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MassDevelopment

Grants fund local transportation to essential services for seniors, veterans


March 13, 2021 : The Berkshire Eagle, by Scott Stafford


A state grant program will fund local transportation companies to bolster access to services during the economic downturn of the coronavirus pandemic.

MassDevelopment, in partnership with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, has awarded $2.5 million to 47 cities and towns, municipal agencies, regional transit authorities, nonprofits, and health and human service providers through the Taxicab, Livery, and Hackney Transportation Partnership Grants Program.

The grants will help communities supplement existing transportation options, create new programs to transport individuals to work, grocery stores, nonemergency medical appointments and other destinations, and facilitate delivery of essential supplies, such as food and medicine, to residents in need.

The grant program is funded by MassDevelopment’s allocation from the commonwealth’s Transportation Infrastructure Enhancement Trust Fund.

In Egremont, in coordination with the towns of Alford and Mount Washington, a $23,940 grant award will fund a contract with Bianco’s Limousine and Livery Service, Berkshire Taxi Co. and CRT Inc. Cabulance to facilitate nonemergency medical transportation to out-of-town destinations and other transportation for seniors, including veterans, homebound and disabled individuals, and individuals living alone, to replace the suspended Southern Berkshire Elderly Transportation transit.

Mass211 will use a $40,000 grant award to contract with County Rainbow Taxi to facilitate nonemergency medical transportation and transportation to food pantries and meal programs, job interviews, emergency child care, the Registry of Motor Vehicles, or court appearances (including housing court) in Berkshire County.

Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires received a $83,118 grant to contract with Berkshire Taxi to facilitate nonemergency medical transportation in the Berkshires, as well as transportation for individuals to Boston and Springfield.

“Getting the most fragile Massachusetts residents to work, grocery stores, medical appointments, shelters, and other critical destinations and creating new business for taxi and livery companies makes these grants special in the time of COVID-19,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera.

The commonwealth’s Transportation Infrastructure Enhancement Trust Fund was created by ”An Act Regulating Transportation Network Companies,” which Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law in August 2016.