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COUNTY IMPLEMENTS TRANSPORTATION SOLUTION FOR SENIORS WITHOUT BURDENING TAXPAYERS

COUNTY IMPLEMENTS TRANSPORTATION SOLUTION FOR SENIORS WITHOUT BURDENING TAXPAYERS

March 23, 2010

Contact: Van Wanggaard

(262) 632-0687

Several weeks ago, an initiative to provide reliable transportation for Racine County’s senior citizen population was presented to local officials at The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread.  As a County Board Supervisor who is always open to innovative ideas, I immediately recognized the merit of this proposal, which was developed by the non-profit Independent Transportation Network (ITN).  ITN’s service provides essential transportation solutions for senior citizens without placing the long-term cost burden on taxpayers. 

While other elected officials are tossing around ideas for new transportation systems with multi-million dollar price tags attached, my colleagues and I on the County Board, County Executive Bill McReynolds, and the County Human Services Department proactively worked to implement a program that delivers a valuable service to seniors at a very small up-front cost to the taxpayers.  I am proud that instead of saying “It can’t be done” or “It can only be done with a large tax increase,” we worked towards an affordable transportation solution that will transform quality of life for our county’s seniors.

The foundation of ITN’s program relies on community-minded volunteers and corporate sponsorships, and will provide a dignified transportation option for seniors that will increase safety on roads and decrease the chances of seniors reverting to a “shut-in” lifestyle.  ITN’s plan has been successful in many other cities, including Chicago, Davenport., Iowa, and Lexington, Kentucky.

The initiative holds great promise for delivering this important service to our county’s aging population.  Seniors need community and county government support to make their doctor appointments, run errands, and visit family & friends.  But the real value in the proposal is that the initial investment is minimal, and the program is self-sustainable after five years.

Racine County residents are tired of politicians making excuses for their ineffectiveness and making decisions to benefit their re-election chances.  Working with ITN to address seniors’ needs is the kind of leadership and problem-solving we need in Racine.  I applaud all of the parties involved in getting this program off the ground efficiently and with an optimistic eye toward the future.

For information on ITN’s service, visit www.itnracinecounty.org, or call (262) 664-1460.

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