Santoni Supermarket gears up for gas tax

BALTIMORE (WMAR) - Store aisles full of healthy food.  If you have a car taking advantage of this is easy.  But if you don't, carrying bags of food for several miles is hard work and many folks opt for closer, and perhaps, not so healthy options.

Starting Monday that will change for folks in one Baltimore neighborhood.

"It's been a dream of mine for the last three years the food desert epidemic is in a big part of Baltimore and its sad that in 2013 in cities like Baltimore and after sitting on many communities and I think free if not inexpensive transportation is really a way to combat that problem," Ron Santoni, Jr., CFO of Santoni Supermarket said.

The bus will serve several Eastside neighborhoods including senior housing projects where access to markets is difficult or non-existent.

The hope is this will be a first step to getting fresh and healthy vegetables and other food into underserved areas.

It's an idea that many folks say is long overdue especially at a time when the price of gas is going up thanks to new taxes and folks on a fixed income that do drive have another option.

 "I think it's a great idea you know these days the economy we can use every piece of help we can get and by senior citizens being shut in and locked in and waiting for a grandson or granddaughter that never comes I think it's ideal it's perfect," Theresa Phyall said.

Santoni says as the program shows promise, he wants to expand and add two more busses within two years.

The price of doing business always seems to go up but Santoni says this is the right thing to do.

"Should Annapolis pass the gas tax and it's implemented, it will drive the cost of this new shuttle up that's something we really didn't plan on but yet again we have to dig deep and strap up our boots and dig a little deeper in running our business," Santoni said.

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