• Memphis Bus Riders Union urging leaders to invest in public transportation

    By: Kirstin Garriss

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Members of the Memphis Bus Riders Union are urging Shelby County Commissioners to invest in public transportation.

    During his budget presentation this evening, Mayor Lee Harris' proposal doesn't include any funding for MATA in the 2020 fiscal year.

    Sammie Hunter said he was disappointed by this announcement. 

    “If MATA doesn’t have money in a sufficient time, there’s going to be some cuts, some massive cuts and we can’t stand for any more massive cuts,” said Hunter, of the MBRU.

    Hunter was one of several people with the union and the Memphis Interfaith Coalition for Action and Hope (MICAH) who want commissioners to fund the $30 million MATA needs this year. 


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    “You know you got people out her suffering trying to get to work, get to the grocery, trying to get to healthcare,” said Hunter. “It’s vital that we try to get that $30 million to fix this bus system.”

    In a recent letter to commissioners, Mayor Harris said he will present a MATA funding plan in September. If that plan is approved, funding for transportation would start in the 2021 fiscal year. 

    But Hunter said bus riders like himself can't wait that long. 

    “We got to find a way to try to get some money, some kind of way. This city needs a good transportation system, we deserve a good transportation system,” he said. 

    A MATA spokesperson sent FOX13 the following statement about the county’s FY2020 budget proposal:

    "We fully understand the County's current financial constraints. We appreciate the support of Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris and his future commitment to helping fund the Memphis Area Transit Authority. Our goal is to improve how public transit is delivered including offering more frequent service. We look forward to learning more about Mayor Harris's transit funding plan when he unveils it in September."

    Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland proposed a $2.5 million increase for MATA in 2020.

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