Cover story: How an underfunded, inadequate transit system undermines Memphis’ workforce and economy

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Cover story: How an underfunded, inadequate transit system undermines Memphis’ workforce and economy

June 12, 2018. Memphis Business Journal

“Every community of this size should have a viable transportation system, and we really don’t have it,” Luttrell said. One contributing factor leaders cited: the lack of density in the city’s core due to years of outward migration to the suburbs.

Ask any MATA commissioner what the agency’s biggest challenge is, and “funding” will undoubtedly be the response. The money MATA receives from the local, state and federal government varies each year, and leaders contend the organization has been chronically underfunded. 

Transit Vision, part of Memphis 3.0, the city’s comprehensive master planning process, hopes to help Memphians overcome transit obstacles to employment. 

Transit Vision is led by the City of Memphis and Innovate Memphis in partnership with MATA. Oregon-based consultant Jarrett Walker + Associates was hired to design the transit network. 

It recommends updating MATA’s network based on logistics: Change the existing bus system from 60 percent coverage/40 percent ridership to 70 percent ridership/30 percent coverage.

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