Jonesboro's Public Transit System Plan at Debate - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR--Tiffany Blankenship Reports

Jonesboro's Public Transit System Plan at Debate

July 18, 2005--Posted at 5:30 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO-- After six years of planning, the city council will finally put the public transportation system plan to vote, and city officials say they are pretty confident the idea will pass.

Three words ... are they coming? That decision is up to the Jonesboro City Council as the plans for funding the proposed transit system are put to a vote.

Grant Coordinator Paul Copeland says, "Jonesboro is a small town but is the only metropolitan statistical area that does not provide public transportation for it's citizens."

"The system will have three fixed routes... There will be about 30 stops on those three, and then we'll have about two buses that will run paratransit or on demand service," Copeland says.

A service the city says will improve the quality of life in Jonesboro socially and economically by helping transport ASU students, senior citizens and potential workers.

"There are individuals out there that want to work, but they need transportation from their homes to their workplace; so we think this will also help employment," Copeland says.

The city's original goal was to use private donations to raise half of what the council would spend to fund the project which is about $130 thousand per year.

The city has now exceeded that goal of $65 thousand by raising nearly $200 thousand. The rest, they say, will be federally subsidized, but if no plan is in place by September, Jonesboro stands to lose about a half-a-million dollars in federal grants.

"We don't want to lose those federal grant funds they are available to us. We want to make sure we have a system in place and program so we can operate by it," Copeland says.

With the money and a plan in place, the city assumes they are coming.

The vote will take place at the Huntington Building tomorrow night and if passed, the public transportation system is expected to be in place by April 2006.

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