Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) and Representative Dylan Fernandes (D-Falmouth) had a busy day on Martha’s Vineyard on Friday, including back-to-back events to mark the release of funds earmarked for the Island from the FY 2018 state budget.
The Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group received $58,000, and the Transportation Access Program at Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (MVCS) was re-funded with $100,000.
The money for the MV Shellfish Group will go toward making up the year-end deficit the group usually incurs. Island towns pay a “membership fee,” and the group also fundraises, but the state funds will help “the balancing act of money,” Emma Green-Beach, co-director for the group, said.
“The funding really goes a long way toward advancing shellfishing here on the Island,” Fernandes said. “Shellfish aren’t only delicious, they are a huge economic driver … and such an environmental asset. We’re thrilled to able to hand over this check for $58,000.”
The Transportation Access Program program provides up to $750 per person or family to travel off-island for doctor appointments. The money goes toward the cost of ferries, gas, bus fares, and hotels while they are unavoidably on the mainland for treatment.
“Being from Truro, and living in such a far-flung place where it’s quite a distance from care, something I feel very strongly about, and Dylan [Fernandes] certainly does as well, is making sure we’re helping Islanders who are navigating complicated health situations and being able to be there, and say, ‘There’s so much you’re worrying about, here’s one less thing,’” Julian Cyr said.
The program started in 2016, and helped 150 Island families with off-Island travel due to long-term illnesses. It went unfunded in FY17. Applications to apply for the program will be available on the MVCS website starting March 12.