Governor Janet Mills announced nearly $1 million in Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan grants for innovative workforce transportation projects aimed at supporting employers in York and Oxford counties, as well as enhancing existing transportation options for workers in Lewiston-Auburn.

The grants, administered by the Maine Department of Transportation, are part of the Workforce Transportation Pilot Program, an initiative of Governor Mills’ Jobs Plan that supports local and regional pilot projects that connect workers to employers through ridesharing, vanpools, and other transit options.

The three grants announced were awarded to the Kennebunk-Kennebunkport-Arundel Chamber of Commerce, Western Maine Transportation Services, and Maine West, a part of the University of Maine System. Prior workforce transportation grants have been awarded to Bath Iron Works, Gagne Foods in Bath, Timber HP in Madison, Robbins Lumber in Searsmont, and Sunday River in Newry.

With an award of $476,000, the Kennebunk-Kennebunkport-Arundel Chamber of Commerce will develop a new transit service from the Biddeford and Sanford areas to downtown Kennebunk and provide local transportation connections for workers to employers in Kennebunk’s Lower Village and in Kennebunkport.

With an award of $283,000, the University of Maine System in collaboration with MaineWest, a partnership of organizations in Oxford County, will support the purchase of vehicles to connect students in four school districts to opportunities in the outdoor recreation field, including on-the-job training, work experience, skill-building, and mentorship to help create foundations for successful employment.

 With an award of $225,000, Western Maine Transportation Services will work to extend existing service hours and review potential route adjustments to better accommodate the needs of workers and employers in the Lewiston-Auburn region.

 The Workforce Transportation Pilot aligns with strategies from Maine Won’t Wait, the state’s four-year plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in part by promoting public transportation, to combat climate change.

Applications for the Workforce Transportation Pilot program are open. There is no application deadline, but applicants are encouraged to submit projects as soon as possible. With these new awards, approximately $2 million remains to be awarded through the program. For more information on how to apply, please visit its website.