Macon Transit Authority could shut down without federal funding

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – There’s a threat Macon Transit Authority (MTA) buses could stop rolling in Macon.

“People are gonna stop riding the bus,” exclaims Angel Kenndrick.

The Virginia College student says the threat of bus fares increasing could prevent some riders from using MTA.

“I think it’s unfair they’re going up on the prices, because they just went up on the bus passes,” continues Kenndrick.  “They need to stop going up, they’re just too high.”

Rick Jones, the CEO of MTA, explains the Federal Highway Trust Fund is running out of money.  Jones tells 41NBC, the more than $2.5 million it gets each year is used for operating costs, such as paying drivers, maintaining the buses, and purchasing fuel.

“Transit as we know it will cease to exist and operating out of the fare box will not sustain transit,” comments Jones.

Jones says to run the bus line without the federal funds could mean routes could be eliminated and ride prices could increase from $1.25 to up to $5.

“We would have no means to support the federal portion of the bus line,” argues Jones.

Roynita Sherman relies on MTA because she doesn’t drive.

“I don’t think it’s fair for the government to cut MTA funds because a lot of us depend on it to get to school, work, daycare centers,” expresses Sherman.

Jones admits raising bus fares usually lowers the number of people that will take the bus.

“I would not want to increase fares, I would like to consider that as my last option,” states Jones.  “We’ve got to remember that some folks have to live within the incomes that they have which is very minimal, and when you increase a fair even a little bit, it affects them a lot.”

May 31 is the deadline for federal lawmakers to approve a transportation funding bill.

Categories: Bibb County, Local News

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