Public And Private Officials Look For New Transportation OptionsBy Jeffrey Hess | Published 13 Jul 2011 03:28pm |
Transportation officials from around Mississippi are meeting in Jackson to think of new ways to help Mississippians be more mobile. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that public and private groups are meeting to coordinate transportationfor both rural and urban parts of Mississippi.
The yearly summit is organized by the Mississippi Department of Transportation to coordinate public and specialized transportation resources.
M-Dot Public Transit director Shirley Wilson says Mississippi has special transportation needs because of the state's high poverty and vast rural areas.
"When it comes to getting to medical appointments or getting to employment, it might be out there but there are still in Mississippi areas where people don't have cars. There are still areas where they cannot get to the necessities of life. There are those are disabled that want to be in the community, the want community inclusion," Wilson said.
Wilson says businesses also examine a state's transportation infrastructure when deciding where to set up shop.
The plan is to combine public agencies and people like Gwendolyn Johnson who works with a no-profit cooperative group called Delta rides, which coordinates bus and van travel for people living in 20 counties in the delta.
"Because people need transportation. In our area, poverty is an issue. There are impoverished people in our area and they lack transportation needs, especially the elderly and disabled," Johnson said.
Johnson says an average ride can cost 5 to 10 dollars depending on where the rider needs to go.
Still, for some disabled Mississippians, transportation can be hard to come by even in highly urban areas says Lee Cole....the president of the Jackson chapter of the National Federal of the Blind.
"As simple as in Jackson, there are a lot of sidewalks in Jackson where a person that needs to get to the bus stop cannot navigate walking in the street the or on the side of the road because there are no sidewalks and they can't get out to the bus stop," Cole said.
Cole says building mass transportation options is not just the right thing to do, it is good for the Mississippi economy...saying it would allow more people to work, shop and be involved in economic activity.
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