Starkville, MSU pursue transit grant

By The Associated Press

STARKVILLE — The city of Starkville has joined Mississippi State University in seeking a public transit grant from the state.

The Starkville Daily News reports that the Mississippi Department of Transportation grant would provide half the funding necessary to have three shuttle routes throughout the city and 80 percent of funds needed to purchase shuttle shelters and buses.

The program would be named the Starkville/MSU Area Rapid Transit. The deadline to submit the proposal is March 4.

The three routes would be a city and campus connecting route, a city circular route and a Starkville Sportsplex route.

MSU Parking Services Director Mike Harris says if the grant is approved, the bus routes would likely begin operating in late 2013. Each bus would cost approximately $150,000.

“We’ve had a transit group that has met over the past year with representatives from the campus and the community as to what areas we need to service. This has been a collaborative effort. It’s not something we’ve done overnight. We saw the need for this with continued enrollment growth on campus and growth in the community,” Harris said.

The routes would run from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

“It’s a great way to connect the city and campus, and it’s a green solution to traffic and congestion. What we’re trying to do is help with the overall quality of life for our community and campus,” he said.

Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman said the transit system would be instrumental in reducing traffic congestion.

“We have a large population within the city that goes to and from campus on a daily basis. We think there’s great potential to ease the flow of traffic by offering mass transportation options that are hopefully convenient and desirable,” he said.