MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris announced a new plan to provide MATA with $10 million in funding annually by requiring an extra fee on third and fourth vehicles.
If implemented the plan would call for a $145 sustainability fee to be given to anyone in Shelby County who owns three cars or more. Only 17 percent of the population currently has more than two cars, the administration said.
The $10 million in revenue will then be used to fund MATA each year. Harris says this proposal would generate millions for MATA's crumbling infrastructure and fight poverty.
“Everyone has to play a role in trying to preserve our shared environment, even local elected officials,” said Harris. “We will all enjoy the benefits of clean air, reduced congestion, and a reduction in poverty. This sustainable investment in transit helps achieve all those objectives.”
Harris is asking for the commission to vote on the proposal by February 2020.
He says better public transit helps the whole community, helping to help remediate poverty by getting people to jobs, which reduces the crime rate.
"We'll be able to produce over 1 million new rides and reduce thousands of metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions," he said.
He said better public transit helps the whole community.
"Which is going to help remediate poverty, to get people to jobs, which reduces our crime rate."
County Commission Chairman Mark Billingsley said he is curious to see how the public reacts to the proposal.
"The mayor has shared that he is going to roll this out over the next five months. That's going to allow us to do town hall meetings in every district with the mayor to hear from the customers," Billingsley said.
The county expects to have town halls and input from the community on this. It would take a yes vote from nine commissioners to pass. Harris would like a decision by February of next year.
"I am trying as best I can to move the needle where the need is greatest," Harris explained.