Memphis City Council Restores MATA Routes

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(Memphis) Memphis City Council approved the transfer of over $450,000 from the EDGE program to MATA to restore bus routes Tuesday.

Councilman Lee Harris said public transportation is one of the basic responsibilities of the city, and last budget season the city neglected it.

“It's hard to imagine that we cut fire, police, MATA, which are core responsibilities and there is some hesitancy that there are some divisions that are sacred cows,” said Harris.

Harris says if public safety had to be cut this year because of tough times programs like EDGE, the city initiative to bring jobs to Memphis, should be impacted too, especially since their operating budget won't be impacted by the cut.

“You gonna sit up and tell me 400-something-thousand dollars is going to have a negative impact on you. Shame on you! And you can roll your eyes all you want to!” said Councilwoman Janis Fullilove.

Councilwoman Fullilove was against giving EDGE hundreds of thousands as bus routes had to put on the brakes.

“I guarantee you not one executive at EDGE has to worry about his or her mortgage, utility bill or how you're going to get to work,” said Fullilove.

EDGE’s goal is to bring thousands of jobs to Memphis by growing the industrial park on Presidents Island, but Councilman Joe Brown says the city has done enough for manufacturers and it's time to focus on the people of Memphis again.

“We have given everything we can possibly give to all these special programs,” said Brown.

The city says EDGE will get its money, it will just be delayed a year.