MATA hoping to expand, be more accessible to thousands of riders

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- MATA is working on a plan that would make public transportation more accessible to thousands of people in Memphis.

MATA officials went before City Council this week to talk about securing an additional $30 million a year to fund an expansion.

Under Gov. Bill Haslam’s IMPROVE Act, the city is allowed to set up dedicated funding from various sources, such as rental car fees and sales tax surcharges, for this type of annual investment.

The governor proposed the IMPROVE Act in January in an effort to help fund the state’s $10 billion backlog in road projects.

“The better the transit system is, the better the opportunities for people," said interim MATA CEO Gary Rosenfeld. "The better opportunities for people, the more economic development there is.”

Rosenfeld said the expansion would add more buses on the streets, more routes and more hours on some routes.

It would create 100 to 200 jobs at MATA and give thousands of people better access to school, work or wherever they need to go.

“Recognizing that access to jobs is a good lead to solve some of the poverty issues in our community," said Rosenfeld.

But first they need to come up with a vision plan.

Next month, MATA is holding a working session with stakeholders to go over the planning process.

Then in October, they’ll form a more in-depth vision plan. It would then be presented to the MATA board and City Council for endorsement and approval next year.

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