Shelby County mayor changes plan for MATA funding

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Mayor Lee Harris answered questions from the community about his plan to implement a $145 fee to families who have three or more cars.

Mayor Harris believes the fee will raise a total of 10 million dollars for MATA. Harris said he made changes to his plan by making the $145 fee per household instead of each car.

“Transit is related to the solution, transit  helps to alleviate traffic congestion, helps to reduce wear and tear on our roads and helps preserve our environment,” said Mayor Harris.

Johnnie Mosley, with Citizens for Better service, said he supports giving money to MATA but doesn’t think the proposal is fair.

“Just because they have three cars doesn’t mean that they are rich or there may be a situation where you have senior citizens who still have their sons and daughters living with them, “said Mosley.

Mayor Harris said he changed the plan from charging $145 per car to $145 per household if people have three or more cars. He argues even though only 2 percent of the population uses the bus it's important to help those in need.

“Those 2 percent of riders are mostly minority, mostly lower income and mostly without a car, we’ve got to do what we can to make sure they can participate in our economy,” said Harris.

Mosley thinks there is a better way to receive funding.

“You should actually go to the voters and get permission with the voters to see if it's okay,” said Mosley.

Mayor Harris plans on speaking at a few more events before he brings the final plan before the commission sometime in February.