Transit system to hit Valdosta streets - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Transit system to hit Valdosta streets

October 25, 2006

Valdosta - In 2002, the Valdosta-Lowndes Metropolitan Planning Organization was formed to study the feasibility and demand for a public transit system.  The response was overwhelming.

"That would be real nice to have a transit system," says Valdosta resident Belinda Lightsey.

"Oh yes!  I would ride it, yes I will!" agrees Kevin Washington.

Once this need was recognized, the MPO and city officials began working to create a bus system that would provide an alternative form of transportation while cutting back on traffic.  "While we don't necessarily have any major problems in Valdosta right now during peak travel times, we see that in the future, a transit system will be very beneficial as we continue to grow," says City Engineer Von Shipman.

They estimate the transit system will cost nearly one million dollars a year.  But with federal money and revenue from bus fares, the city won't have to foot the whole bill.  "The shortfall will be somewhere around 250 thousand per year that they would have to come up with to subsidize the system," says Dan McGee, Transportation Planning Coordinator for the South Georgia Regional Development Center.

The MPO also mapped out potential transit routes hitting major hot spots like Moody Air Force Base, Valdosta's Colonial Mall, and Valdosta State University.  All other information including employees and finalizing route will be worked out in future meetings.  "How many drivers we'll need, the amount of buses we'll operate, the specific routes we'll run, all that will be determined in this next step," he adds.

City council says they will continue to work closely with the MPO to get the transit system running as soon as possible.