Tupelo transit talks revived

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The AARP will revive a recently failed effort to bring public transportation to Tupelo, making it a key priority for members of the local chapter.
Community input will be sought, and a review of past proposals and existing services will be undertaken as part of the project. It also will hold a community “conversation” on the matter at noon on Nov. 2 – it’s location will be announced later.
Although a they haven’t set a firm deadline, chapter members said they’ll dedicate one or two years to the project if necessary.
“It’s going to revisit the same issues, but I think we’re going to have a little more power because people here in town really want it and the people in our group really want it,” said Ora Baldwin, AARP Tupelo secretary and past member of the now-defunct Tupelo Public Transportation Committee.
The transportation committee had been established by the mayor and City Council to study the need for public transit and make recommendations on its implementation, costs and user demand. But after more than a year of work and a $25,000 study by a hired consultant, its efforts failed to produce what council members deemed a viable option.
Its members disbanded last year.
One of them, Tupelo resident David Puckett, is aware of the AARP’s efforts and supports them. But he said it has little chance of success.
“I don’t see anything happening with it until we get this council out,” he said, “but I will assist in the effort.”
Also assisting is AARP Mississippi, whose associate state director for community outreach, Ivory Craig, said she wants to involve the entire community both young and old.
It’s not the first time an AARP chapter tackled this issue. The Southaven and Vicksburg branches also pushed for public transit, Craig said. Vicksburg now has a bus system, but Southaven still is working on its effort.
Those interested in participating can call (866) 554-5382 or email msaarp@aapr.org.
emily.lecoz@journalinc.com