The general public has opportunities for input on the possibility of a public transit system in Statesboro with an open house Tuesday and a continuing online survey.
Both are part of a city-funded feasibility study. The open house, or drop-in public input meeting, will be held from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m., Nov. 27, in the Jones-Love Cultural Center at Luetta Moore Park, 121 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. People can come in at any time during those two hours, but a brief presentation, summarizing the study, will begin at 6 p.m.
Besides sharing information about the study, the project team and city staff members will “receive input through interactive stations and discussions” with the public, states the city’s announcement.
“As the city of Statesboro continues to grow, we want to be proactive in determining how our transportation network, including transit, needs to grow as well,” city Public Works and Engineering Director Jason Boyles said in the release. “This study will allow us to gauge the level of interest from the community as well as conduct the technical analysis necessary to understand more about any potential needs for transit in Statesboro.”
A city bus or trolley system, with trolleys in this case being small buses and not rail vehicles, are possibilities that Mayor Jonathan McCollar and other backers of the public transit idea have mentioned. But McCollar has emphasized that the city is keeping its options open, as reflected in the study and the emphasis on public input.
The survey, available on the city’s website, www.statesboroga.gov, or directly at www.surveymonkey.com/r/StatesboroTFS, is scheduled to remain open through Dec. 14.
“Do you think a public transit system is needed in Statesboro?” is the second question in the 21-question survey. Another survey item asks, “If you were able to use public transit in Statesboro, where would you be going?” and lets respondents choose multiple options, such as school, work, healthcare or shopping. That question also offers a blank for responses not in the multiple-choice.
Other survey questions let people rank specific local destinations and identify their current means of transportation.
A second public meeting will be held in early 2019 at a date yet to be announced, and the study is slated for completion in the spring.
In the new sales tax for transportation, or T-SPLOST, approved by Bulloch County voters in May, Statesboro has $450,000 earmarked for development of public transit.
This is out of the city’s projected five-year $20.64 million to $25.8 million share of revenue from the 1 percent tax. The referendum designated the far larger portion of the revenue for “road, street and bridge purposes,” a broad category that also includes sidewalks, bicycle and walking paths, drainage structures and equipment such as graders and backhoes.
In early September, City Council authorized hiring Connetics Transportation Group, or CTG, based in Atlanta, to conduct the feasibility study for $68,793. This was a negotiated fee, for fewer services, after CTG initially asked for $89,158 as the only bidder.
At no additional cost to the city, Boyles said, CTG hired Symbioscity, an urban planning firm based in Savannah, to assist with the study.
The study should help the city determine “the need, where’s that need at in the city, … what kind of vehicles are necessary to use and then figure out if there will be enough revenue” to make a transit system viable, City Manager Randy Wetmore said in September.
For more information, citizens can contact the project manager with the city of Statesboro, Kiara Ahmed, civil engineer, at (912) 764-0655 or email@example.com.
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.