Bangor City Councilman Joe Baldacci donates salary to save bus route

By Ramona du Houx - August 15th, 2013 

Bangor City Councilman Joe Baldacci is so committed to the cause to keep the Odlin Road bus route operational and he will forego his City Council salary to help defray cost.

“Earlier this month I said I would be willing to donate my salary as a Bangor City Councilor to keep the buses running on the Oldin Road route. Today I kept that promise,” said Councilman Baldacci. “I delivered to the city manager an authorization to assign the equivalent of my salary for one year, or $2,000, back to City Hall to extend the bus route for an additional month.”

The city has cited their goal of saving roughly $20,000 dollars as the primary reason for closing the route.The shut down of the bus route was proposed even though ridership has steadily increased.

On Monday the City Council took action to create a public fund with the initial goal to keep the bus route running until November 1st. It was indicated that at least $4,000 would be needed to make this happen.

“With my donation, and another private donation made Monday night, our short term goal has been reached. Now we have time to work on our longer term goal of creating a public/private partnership to keep that bus route up and running,” said Baldacci.

The route serves primarily low-income working people who are struggling to overcome poverty. There are few other transportation options for those living in this region.

“We appreciate Councilor Baldacci’s support. For myself and many other riders, the Community Connector is the only affordable way to get to work and meet our basic needs. This is why public transit is a critical part of a just community,” said Ted Rippy a Food AND Medicine (FAM) board member.

Donations are still needed-

“It would be great if private businesses in the area and other interested citizens come forward with donations – big or small – everything will help,” said Councilman Baldacci. “People rely on this bus service for work and other important services. This lifeline needs to continue for the well being of our citizens and the growth of Bangor’s economy.”

The Odlin route, which opened sixteen months ago, was the result of a five-year petition campaign by Bangor residents living on Odlin Road and Outer Hammond Street.

More about Bangor City Councilman Joe Baldacci:

Joe Baldacci was born, brought up, and educated in Bangor. His family owned Momma Baldacci’s, an Italian restaurant that came to be known as a community place to gather, where Joe worked alongside his seven brothers and sisters.

Joe graduated with distinction from the University of Maine with a B.A. in political science in 1987 and earned his law degree with Juris Doctorate from the University of Maine School of Law in Portland, in 1991. At Law School Joe co-founded the Maine Association for Public Interest Law (MAPIL), which still provides scholarships to law students who work in the public interest legal field. After graduation from Maine Law School in 1991 Joe established an office for the general practice of law and has been serving people since then. Currently has two associates working for him.

During his time on the council Joe worked to keep the Bangor City Nursing Home open when it was threatened with closure, and to allow the Fire Department to establish its ambulance and paramedic unit. From 2005-2007 Joe volunteered as an officer of the Save Dakin Pool Committee, which raised private funds for improvements at the east side pool, and has fought to keep the facility free for Bangor kids. He continues to fight for the Dorthea Dix hospital for the well-being and safety of the region’s citizens.