Bangor City Councilman Joe Baldacci donates salary to save bus route

972103_10201601361416511_603195378_nBy Ramona du Houx. August 15th, 2013 ·
Maine Insights

Bangor City Councilman Joe Baldacci is so committed to the cause to keep the Odlin Road bus route operational and he will forego his City Council salary to help defray cost.

“Earlier this month I said I would be willing to donate my salary as a Bangor City Councilor to keep the buses running on the Oldin Road route. Today I kept that promise,” said Councilman Baldacci. “I delivered to the city manager an authorization to assign the equivalent of my salary for one year, or $2,000, back to City Hall to extend the bus route for an additional month.”

The city has cited their goal of saving roughly $20,000 dollars as the primary reason for closing the route.The shut down of the bus route was proposed even though ridership has steadily increased.

On Monday the City Council took action to create a public fund with the initial goal to keep the bus route running until November 1st. It was indicated that at least $4,000 would be needed to make this happen.

“With my donation, and another private donation made Monday night, our short term goal has been reached. Now we have time to work on our longer term goal of creating a public/private partnership to keep that bus route up and running,” said Baldacci.

The route serves primarily low-income working people who are struggling to overcome poverty. There are few other transportation options for those living in this region.

“We appreciate Councilor Baldacci’s support. For myself and many other riders, the Community Connector is the only affordable way to get to work and meet our basic needs. This is why public transit is a critical part of a just community,” said Ted Rippy a Food AND Medicine (FAM) board member.

Donations are still needed-

“It would be great if private businesses in the area and other interested citizens come forward with donations – big or small – everything will help,” said Councilman Baldacci. “People rely on this bus service for work and other important services. This lifeline needs to continue for the well being of our citizens and the growth of Bangor’s economy.”

The Odlin route, which opened sixteen months ago, was the result of a five-year petition campaign by Bangor residents living on Odlin Road and Outer Hammond Street.

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