Clastran hopes to solve funding issues

Clastran riders at risk of losing service

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Thousands of people in three counties rely on services provided by Clastran. But unless the service's leadership can pull out a Hail Mary, they may not have a ride by the end of next month.

"It's very unfortunate to hear that these services may be discontinued because they already have limited options," says Hayes.

Lakesha Hayes is Executive Director with Independence Accessible Housing. She sets up transportation for the elderly and disabled.

"Their day programs, doctor's appointments, shopping, wherever they need to go."

She relies on services like Clastran, which provides transportation for riders over 60 or who have mental or physical disabilities.

"Anything they can use that transportation service for, they will because a lot of times, that's their only option," says Hayes.

But Clastran's budget may soon hit a roadblock. Right now, 80% of their budget—about $3 million a year—comes from the federal government. But all that money's being pushed to the 59/20 bridge project over the next four years.

"There's not any money program for Clastran after October 1," says Fenn Church.

Clastran's executive director says this could cut service to 7,800 riders.

"We serve more people now than we ever have before," says Church.

Church will be meeting with the Metropolitan Planning Organization this Wednesday to see if they can find a way to pay for the Clastran and the bridge project.

"That's why I want the full MPO to get there, I'm trying to get as many elected officials at that meeting on Wednesday at 1:30, and let's put everybody's heads together and see if we can't come up with a viable solution," says Church.

"This transportation service is desperately needed for an underserved population who don't have the transportation they need to get where they want," says Hayes.

Clastran has applied for other federal money, but because of certain qualifications, they can't use a majority of the money being offered. That meeting again will be Wednesday at 1:30 on the third floor at the Regional Planning Commission on 20th Street.

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