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Some Mainers drive far for work. The Maine DOT is creating a pilot program to find a solution

ODD Vanity Plates
Robert F. Bukaty
In this Feb. 2011 file photo, traffic approaches Maine Turnpike toll booths in Gardiner, Maine. A Maine law banning obscene license plates goes into effect Monday, Oct. 18, 2021, but getting the foul language off the roads and highways won't happen overnight.

Maine workers struggling to find affordable housing often have to live far away from work and commute long distances. With gas prices skyrocketing and car emissions the biggest source of greenhouse gases in Maine, the state wants to create pilot programs to transport workers more efficiently. With $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds, the Maine Department of Transportation is looking for workforce transportation pilot projects, especially in rural areas.

"This is a huge need in Maine and I think it's right to foster creative collaborative solutions around it," said Matt Schlobohm, the executive director of the Maine AFL-CIO.

The Workforce Transportation Pilot program will give out grants to cover pilots projects it approves and can be used for capital and operating costs, including program start-up costs. The state anticipates setting grant cap of $750,000, and will accept applications for projects on a rolling basis.