Over 85 people attended the Public Hearing on transportation issues held
by the Sussex County Transportation Citizens Advisory Committee in the
Freeholders Meeting Room on Wednesday, June 16, 2010. The Hearing is
held annually to inform the public about funding for the Senior Citizens
and Disabled Residents Transportation Program (SCDRTAP) and Public
Transportation Section 5311 funding for the coming year. For the third
year in a row, the SCDRTAP allocation has been cut due to the decrease
in Casino Revenue, which funds the program.
Highlands Workshop employees held signs saying things like, “We work, we
pay taxes,” and “Save My Ride” as over two hours of written and oral
testimony was received from more than thirty Sussex County residents.
Testimony was heard from employees at the Highlands Workshop who use the
service to get to and from work; senior citizens and residents with
disabilities who use the service to get to medical appointments,
nutrition sites and grocery stores, and people who use public transit to
get to and from dialysis and cancer treatments. Residents of the Sussex
County Homestead, board members from SCARC and NORWESCAP, staff at
Project Self-Sufficiency and Catholic Family and Community Services, a
member of the Sussex County United We Ride Stakeholders Group and the
Executive Director of United Way also offered testimony. Freeholder
Susan Zellman also offered some pertinent remarks.
All those who testified had the same message: public transportation is a
lifeline for those who use it and Sussex County needs more, not less,
Several speakers addressed a change in the Medicaid transportation
system and the New Jersey Department of Human Services’ decision to
subcontract Medicaid transportation to a private contractor,
LogistiCare. This decision will cost Sussex County almost $100,000 in
transportation funding and undermines the current shared ride system
mandated by the federal United We Ride initiative, which has been
providing a synergistic transportation system in Sussex County for the
last four years.
Public support for Sussex County Skylands Ride was unanimous, as was the
demand for increased services, such as evenings and weekends.