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The Friends of the Salem Council on Aging have been awarded a $30,000 grant from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation to conduct a feasibility study toward the creation of a new intra-city shuttle system that would be convenient, accessible, and affordable for all residents.

The concept of a city shuttle and the application for the grant were action steps in the first year of implementation of the City’s landmark Salem For All Ages Action Plan. The grant reflects the Foundation’s commitment to building healthier communities by promoting collaboration and improving systems and best practices.

“This feasibility study will help us better understand the logistics, economics, and challenges that need to be addressed in order to bring community transit to Salem,” said Mayor Kim Driscoll. “Many small and medium cities are setting up their own internal shuttle systems, however, and I’m optimistic we can take those best practices and build a service here that works best for Salem. I would like to thank the Tufts Health Plan Foundation for this grant award and the City staff and volunteers of the Salem for All Ages Task Force who made it possible.”

“Our investments focus on improving community livability and addressing inequities to help older adults live healthier, fulfilling lives,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president, corporate citizenship for Tufts Health Plan. “Every community has different needs and opportunities. We want to honor communities where they are and catalyze health improvements for older adults and the entire community.”

“One of the priority items from the action plan is a focus on improving connections and transportation options for Salem seniors,” said Patricia Zaido, co-chair of the Salem for All Ages Task Force. “A city shuttle system would be of benefit to residents of all ages, however, and also help lessen traffic congestion and improve quality of life overall.”

In all, Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced 21 new grants totaling more than $1.7 million and representing collaborations with more than 200 community organizations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.