Governor proposes major investment for public transit

BERWICK, COLUMBIA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A first-of-its-kind investment in transportation in decades was the topic of discussion in Berwick Tuesday.

Medical and transportation officials highlighted Governor Shapiro’s budget proposal that would invest an additional $282,800,000 to increase the availability of public transportation.

According to the officials, half of the patients that receive dialysis care at Fresenius Kidney Care utilize the shared ride services provided by Rabittransit, without it, they say they have no other means of transportation to make it to their life-saving appointments.

“I can not stress enough the importance of rural transit, it is not merely a mode of transportation, it’s a life,” said Rabittransit Executive Director Richard Farr.

A budget proposal from the governor could increase access to public transportation in rural Pennsylvania and beyond,

A bulk of the investment going toward shared ride services.

“Approximately $37,000,000 of the investment that the governor is proposing would help shared ride by advancing the delivery of drivers, the delivery of patients to educational opportunities, employment opportunities, and medical opportunities across our state,” said PennDOT secretary Mike Carroll.

Medical trips made up nearly half of all shared ride services in the state from 2022-2023. In rural counties, that need is greater.

“Our rural counties, nearly half of our shared ride trips are for medical purposes,” said Farr.

Fresenius Kidney Care Clinic facilitates dialysis treatment and other comprehensive kidney care. Berwick Clinic Manager Kelly Schraeder says shared ride services help her patients survive.

“And without it, if they miss a treatment if they shorten a treatment if they don’t have a ride, they may end up in the hospital or worse,” Schraeder explained.

The transit budget proposal and the rest of the state budget are due in June.

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