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Tasks for Transit Accomplishments for 2019

4Q 2019: TFT’s plan for 2019 was to continue its steady growth by adding four Partner Charities to its network. As has been done for the previous two years, one more was added during each quarter of 2019. TFT ended 2019 with 30 Partner Charities.

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The Status of the Fare Free WRTA Idea

3Q 2019: In April 2019, the Greater Worcester Research Bureau published a report analyzing the possibility of the WRTA running a “fare free” bus system. Other cities, e.g., Portland, Oregon, are doing this or have done it in the past. Clearly, a fare-free WRTA would be a great benefit for those living in poverty.

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The Relationship Between Transportation and Poverty

2Q 2019: In a December 2018 article, US News & World Report noted that the US poverty rate dropped from 14.9 percent to 14.6 percent. In Massachusetts, the rate has dropped to 11.1%. However, Worcester’s rate is thought to be twice the state average, roughly 22%.

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Funding Massachusetts Regional Transportation Authorities

1Q 2019: The fiscal calendar year for regional transit authorities (RTAs) is the same as the Massachusetts state government: from July 1st of one calendar year to June 30th of the next. Since RTA budgets depend in part on funding provided by the state, the RTA administrators and their advisory boards experience the months from January to June as a period of troubling uncertainty.

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2018 Activities and Accomplishments

4Q 2018: Having more than doubled its operations in 2017, TFT entered 2018 with a plan to more than quadruple its operations in 2018.  Additional funds were needed to meet higher WRTA fare prices.  More important was the gain in the number of Partner Charities supported.

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The Importance to the CHIP of Referring Organizations

2Q 2018: A coalition of local health care providers have recently published the Greater Worcester Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) as their proposal to improve the overall health of area citizens. “Access” to health care is one of the issues addressed in the CHIP.

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Partner Charity Highlight: Net of Compassion

March 2018: Hotel Grace is the city’s overflow shelter for the homeless during the coldest days of Winter. There are three churches that sponsor and support Hotel Grace: St. John’s Catholic Church, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester and Net of Compassion, a Pentecostal church.

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WRTA Fiscal Crisis and the TAC

February 2018: A replay of last year’s WRTA fiscal crisis is now in progress for the next fiscal year, fiscal 2019, that begins July 1, 2018. Due to the current levels of state-wide funding of all transportation authorities, and rising local expenses, the WRTA faces a $1.1 million deficit.

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