Public input sought in bus talks

By Emily LeCoz / NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – A city effort to explore public transit options will continue next week despite recent talks of scrapping a $25,000 study on the subject.
A community meeting Aug. 31 will solicit citizen input about whether Tupelo needs a public transportation system and how it might come to fruition.
It will be held at 6 p.m. at the St. Paul United Methodist Church Christian Life Center at 475 Front St.
The meeting will come two weeks after a City Council discussion in which most members dismissed recommendations in a transit study it had funded. The study had proposed several options ranging from a regular-route bus system to a door-to-door specialty service.
The preferred option, according to Tupelo’s Public Transportation Committee, is nearly half-million-dollar option to run a four-route bus system, six days a week. It would provide an estimated 62,000 rides the first year and more than 100,000 the second year.
Most council members said the plan isn’t feasible, but two said that shouldn’t end the conversation.
“We haven’t voted on not doing it, you know, we haven’t voted to say it’s put on the shelf,” said Ward 4 Councilwoman Nettie Davis. “We’re trying to get more public expression about it. As long as we don’t take a vote on it, it’s still active.”
Davis has collaborated with the five-member Public Transportation Committee to organize the community meeting. The committee was formed last year by the mayor and council to study public transit and make recommendations.
It then hired a transit consultant to produce the study, which was completed this summer.
Also involved with the meeting is Ward 7 Councilman Willie Jennings.
“I know we probably won’t get what was recommended to us, but I just feel like we can do something,” Jennings said. “My conscience won’t let me live with not even trying. We need to look at all options before we can say no.”
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.

Have your say
■ What: Public transportation meeting
■ When: 6 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 31
■ Where: St. Paul United Methodist
Church Christian Life Center, 475 Front St.
■ Who: Everyone is invited .