Will County Receives Grant to Support Paratransit Services
JOLIET – Will County has received a $139,261 grant from the Northeastern Illinois Agency on Aging in support of the Will-Ride transit program. According to Will County Executive Larry Walsh, this grant will help fund the paratransit services available to the elderly, disabled, and low-income residents in Will County.
“We have been working for a number of years to improve transit services to underserved areas of Will County,” said Walsh. “The announcement of these grants funds to Will County is a great step forward as we continue to improve coordination of services among several communities across the county. Safe, accessible, reliable transportation is critical to preserving quality of life for some of our most vulnerable residents. We are fortunate to receive this grant to help maintain this service.”
Through a partnership between Will County, Pace Bus, and townships in eastern and central Will County, more than 900 trips are provided to local residents each month. This service is critical to this region because currently there are limited services available. Will County has increased the transit options in these underserved areas through a coordinated effort.
“For too long, residents in eastern Will County felt disconnected from other parts of Will County,” said Walsh. “This was largely due to the inability of many of our residents to get from one area to another if they did not own their own vehicle.”
In 2010, Will County received an RTA planning grant to conduct a countywide inventory of services that were available and also study ways transit services could be improved. Following this successful effort, Will County received a second RTA grant that contributed funds toward expanding services in the townships of eastern Will County. The longer term goal is to give residents in all areas of the county access to existing fixed route rail and bus lines, along with expanded access to jobs, health care and other venues throughout the region.
“I want to thank the Northeastern Illinois Agency on Aging for recognizing the needs of our residents,” said Walsh. “These funds will help us build on our success with a larger Will-Ride effort. This will give our residents an opportunity to get out of their homes and get to medical appointments, shopping trips, and enjoy other important visits that keep people healthy and happy.”