County Comment: Hopewell express jobs transportation will continue

County Comment
Hopewell express jobs transportation will continue
By Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer

Workers in the Hunters' Green/Hopewell Valley business park will continue to receive free transportation services to their jobs through the Washington County Community Action Council's "Community Action Transit" (CAT) service, effective July 6th.
In the regular meeting of the Washington County Board of County Commissioners on July 6th, Community Action Council Executive Director David Jordan announced receipt of funding from the Maryland Transit Administration that will allow continuance of the "Hopewell Express" program. Notice of that funding was made available on June 30th.
Hopewell Express is a free transportation program to assist individuals who are seeking employment or who are already working at distribution facilities in the Hunters Green Business Center. Located in Hopewell Valley, north of Interstate 70, along Hopewell Road and Route 63, the Business Center encompasses 631 acres and is home to over 20 businesses and distribution centers. The service operates from downtown Hagerstown on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Routes and times will remain the same. All inquiries concerning the program can be addressed to CAC at 301-797-4161, extension 107 or 158. It will no longer be required to register for the program.
Logos on bus stop signs will be changed to CAC's "CAT" logo. The service will remain free of charge at least until January 1, 2011, at which time CAC's Board of Directors will decide if a fare is appropriate.
Hopewell Express was developed out of a concern that the employers in the Business Park area had a need for workers, and the Department of Social Services (DSS) had a desire for employment based transportation to assist their Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) clients
Initial funding came from a Washington County Community Partnership (WCCP) grant for a one-time pilot program, and was passed on to Washington County Transit (WCT). The pilot program began September 2007. DSS also contributed funding. Continuation of the program had been in jeopardy due to state funding cutbacks in 2009.
County Transit Director Kevin Cerrone said "we (WCT) are pleased CAC was able to absorb the service into their transportation program to continue providing this noteworthy element of employment for the citizens of Washington County".
The transportation funds came from MTA-administered Jobs Access Reverse Commuter (JARC) funds and the New Freedom transportation initiative. CAC is the designated recipient for the funds.
CAT was initiated by a CAC-County Commissioners partnership through actions of the Washington County Disabilities Advisory Committee. The program has provided coordination and consolidation of transportation for human service agencies in the County, and looks to expand services in the future to meet underserved transportation needs.