Transport for elderly facing funding threat

JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - A big threat to transportation services for the elderly and disabled in Jefferson County. Seniors enjoying the New Hope Baptist Church Senior Citizens Center are worried. A large number depend on Clastran to get to Avondale. "Clastran is a lot of good to us senior citizens because we don't any other way to travel unless Clastran takes us," Cloria Young said.
For some senior citizens Clastran is their only way to get medical treatment. "I call in some time. They can't carry me. Sometimes I have to be at the doctor, hospital at seven o'clock. Then I got to find a way to get to the hospital," Julia Gray said.
The Jefferson County Commission has cut back on every county agency because of funding problems. Wednesday the head of senior services says if the commissioners cannot find $345,000, the agency will lose another $1.7 million in federal funds. "If the funding is not obtained either through the federal government or the county, we stand to cancel transportation for about 45,000 people," said William Voight, Director of Senior Services.
Voight says Clastran will shutdown at the end of January and some of the county's 34 senior centers will close. County Commissioners are worried about losing federal dollars. "If we lose 1.7 million in federals funds for a senior program, trust me, there is another state willing to grab it and we will never get it back," Shelia Smoot, Jefferson Co. Commissioner said.
Those who depend on Clastran hopes the county can find the money. "Tell them to dig it up. We need our centers open," Gray said.