The LaGrange County Council on Aging (COA) and LCAT recently received a gas sponsorship from DRV/Cruiser RV for three months.
With rising gas prices, it’s hard to pay the fuel bills for LaGrange County’s public transit system. Last year LCAT provided 38,942 trips to residents of LaGrange County. The gas bills alone to provide this service were $87,194.
LaGrangeCountydoes have a rural public transportation provider – the LCAT vans. The service is provided by the COA under the LCAT name. A very important need for the county is the seven wheelchair accessible vans that the LCAT program has. They take people to doctor’s appointments, the grocery store, visiting, work, and school.
This service is by donation only within the county for people over 60 years of age. Those under age 60 will be charged a set fee. Transportation out of the county is provided to any county resident for a charge. Veterans are provided with transportation for just a donation.
The program is funding by a grant from INDOT, receiving $256,484 for this year. The LaGrange County Council on Aging has a budget of $600,000, and also receives $30,000 from the Older Americans Act to provide transportation to seniors, which includes part of the home assistant service.
The program received $50,000 from Medicaid trips provided last year. The COA also receives $40,000 from the county to help in its mission.
There is also funding from the United Fund, Parkview LaGrange Hospital, and IU Health System to assist in the transportation program. The fees collected last year from the under 60 transportation clients totaled $103,360. Even with all of this help, there is still a lot of fundraising to be accomplished, with approximately $100,000 is needed annually to continue the program.
Cheri Perkins, director of the LaGrange County COA, wrote the original grant for the rural public transportation program and is very determined to see it continue. The rising cost of gas and the maintenance costs on the vans continue to grow.
The LCAT transportation program drove 445,990 miles last year. A misconception about the program is that it is paid for by the county, including the maintenance and gas. However, these expenses are the responsibility of the COA, not the county.
For more information on the programs that the COA offers or to become a gas sponsor, contact Cheri Perkins at 260-463-4161.