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MATA board welcomes support from county officials

The Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted to support the Shelby County Board of Commissioners’ action to provide funding to the public transportation provider.

The vote occurred during MATA’s scheduled monthly meeting and followed on the heels of the Shelby County commissioners’ approval on Jan. 27 of a resolution to allocate $1.5 million to MATA. The funds would come from the county’s capital improvement budget.

Also, MATA officials said they would attempt to secure additional funding by using the allocation as local matching funds – something that’s necessary to attract federal grant money.

As a result of the funding, MATA also has plans to replace the current buses with electronic powered buses.

Initially the Board of Commissioners’ resolution was set to end in 2025, but County Commissioner Edmund Ford Jr. amended it to end in 2023.

“The resolution further indicates that the MATA board welcomes the addition of up to two additional board members when sustained funding exceeds $8 million annually,” MATA officials said in an official statement.

Meanwhile, MATA welcomed Michelle Robinson McKissack as the newest MATA board commissioner. The Memphis City Council approved her appointment at its January 7 meeting. McKissack, who serves on the Shelby County Schools board, succeeds John Vergos.

“I am honored to be appointed by Mayor Strickland to serve on the MATA Board of Commissioners,” McKissack said. “I feel like I’ve come full circle after riding MATA buses as a student to and from school to now serving on the Board to make the public transit system stronger.

“Public transit is at a critical crossroads in our community,” she said. “I am looking forward to helping advocate for more funding in order to help enhance transportation access for everyone in our community.”

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