SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Mayor Lee Harris’ public transit plan has created controversy among residents since its announcement last month.
If passed, Harris said residents with three or more vehicles would be required to pay a $145 fee. The fee would go toward MATA with the hopes of raising $10 million annually.
He claimed only 17% of residents would be affected.
"The reason why we go to the three-car household because three-drivers tend to put more wear and tear on our infrastructure.”
WREG wanted to know exactly where those 17% lived within Shelby County. So we went directly to Harris for answers. However, our questions went un-answered.
“’That 17% of people that will pay for that. Who are those people?"
"So, the idea is that over time we face a worsening outlook in respect to the wear and tear on our roads. Our emissions are the largest source of greenhouse gases emissions are passenger vehicles," he answered.
We asked Harris three times for an answer but still got the same response.
“As far as location, where are these people? Where do the 17% live?"
"So, as I said before in Memphis and Shelby County there is a tendency to do us versus them. I refuse to do that. I think we can all be pressed into service for common cause," he said.
WREG put in a records request with the county and found 28 Zip codes had more than 1,000 residents with three or more vehicles. This includes areas in Collierville with nearly 7,000 residents and Arlington with nearly 5,500 residents.
The list also includes several Zip codes in North Memphis – totaling up to a little more than 5,000 residents, and also areas in South Memphis – totaling nearly 7,000 residents.
Right now, Harris is asking the commission to vote on the proposal by February.