Greene public transport talk shifts to silence
Feb 24, 2011 8:04 am
Proposed cuts to federal transportation grants are likely to end development of new public transit opportunities for low-income residents in Greene County, a report by Doron Tyler Antrim in the Daily Mail suggests. “Transportation in Greene and neighboring counties is a major obstacle for many who do not own their own vehicles,” Florence Ohle, executive director of Community Action of Greene County, is quoted saying. “Without personal, reliable transportation, it is impossible to find or maintain employment. For low-wage earners either just beginning a work history and who have not yet established credit … obtaining a car can be the difference between success and failure.” Before the recent rage for cutting government services state- and nation-wide, Greene County had been looking for ways to increase public transportation. No more. Two programs - community action offers people within 200 percent of the federal poverty level with children, or non-custodial parents paying child support, with transportation to their job, job training site or day care facility; and Wheels for Work provides auto loans to low-income parents or non-custodial parents paying child support - are both facing major cuts from sources ranging from the Greene County Legislature and the New York state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to the federal government program, Community Services Block Grant, that fund them, according to Ohle. She added that money from the federal stimulus swelled Greene County’s block-grant allocation to more than $500,000 last year, alongside $665,000 for home weatherization and the stocking of shelves at local food pantries. Now, Republicans and Tea Party supporters across the country are saying we can no longer afford such social service programs. But as midwestern battles over budget cuts and other matters heat up, it seems we are headed to a national standoff on the ways in which we look at our ideals of community over the coming generations. Stay tuned...