Craig looks for funds to improve transit | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig looks for funds to improve transit

Janelle O'Dea

At the Nov. 25 Craig City Council meeting, the council approved submittal of a grant application for funds to improve transit resources in Craig.

Craig Mayor Terry Carwile said the grant would likely be used to enhance already-existing transit options.

"The nonprofits and some of the other organizations around here have done a great job addressing the needs of their own specific clienteles," Carwile said. "But there has not been any coherent plan in place to address the community as a whole. I'm sure there's some folks falling through the cracks."

Carwile said Craig's veterans are a group that would benefit from an enhanced transportation plan.

Although Craig's Veterans of Foreign Wars volunteers provide rides for fellow veterans to the Veteran's Affairs hospital in Grand Junction, veterans don't have a reliable way to access community services on a daily basis.

Carwile said the process began when City Manager Jim Ferree approached the Colorado Department of Transportation to inquire about funds to update the Craig transit plan.

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Through CDOT's Funding Advancements for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery (FASTER) transit grant program, the city can apply for up to $20,000. The grant requires a 20 percent local match, or $4,000.

While approving the submittal for the grant, the council also agreed to provide up to $3,000 to achieve the local match. Carwile said the council would approach other local agencies to reach $4,000.

Amanda Arnold, community impact coordinator at Moffat County United Way, said an improvement in community transit could help a lot of the people she works with.

"Individuals in need of transportation live on the outskirts of town," Arnold said. "Transportation is such a need for them, and we don't have a lot of options in our community because of funding."

Arnold said residents need transportation to and from the doctor, Colorado Northwestern Community College and the grocery store, as well as other essential services.

"They get their food stamps or WIC but they need a way to get back and forth to get nutritious food for their families," Arnold said.

While people may have the money and ability to access services, without transportation, taking advantage of community resources becomes an obstacle instead of a stepping stone to success.

Sometimes Arnold provides rides to resources and said many of her clients coordinate carpools.

Volunteers from Love INC or other community organizations provide transportation, but volunteers sometimes run scarce or aren't able to provide a consistent transportation service.

"The things they could do to better their lives and work their way out of poverty would be much easier if they had transportation to get where they need to go," Arnold said.

Contact Janelle O’Dea at 970-875-1795 or jodea@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @jayohday