Meridian Star

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January 14, 2013

Work to begin on new tribal transit facility

MERIDIAN —     CHOCTAW — The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians/Choctaw Transit will build a 13,960 square foot regional maintenance center on tribal land.

    The construction of the new facility will provide services for tribally owned transit vehicles, transit vehicles which belong to other public transit operators in East Mississippi Region, and other vehicles, including school buses and emergency vehicles, assigned to other tribal programs.  

    "The new maintenance facility is imperative to keeping Choctaw Transit’s fleet of over 40 vehicles in service," according to a Mississippi Department of Transportation press release.

    A groundbreaking ceremony for the facility will take place Wednesday at 1 p.m. in the parking lot behind the Choctaw Hospitality Institute located at 390 Industrial Road and will feature remarks by Central District Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall and tribal officials, including Chief Phyliss J. Anderson, Chief of Staff Timothy Tubby, and Director of Tribal Member Services Division Janis Jimmie.

    "I am pleased to break ground on this project," Anderson stated in the press release. "The Choctaw Regional Maintenance Facility will use the latest equipment available, and I hope it expands our work force and broadens our maintenance service capacity. I thank Commissioner Hall and MDOT for their support of this much-needed upgrade to the Choctaw Transit program. The planning and the realization of that planning is another example of the great partnership between Choctaw Transit and MDOT."

     Choctaw Transit serves the five county area of Kemper, Neshoba, Leake, Newton and Winston counties, and is an active member of the East Central Transit Action Group (EZTAG) region which includes Clark, Jasper, Kemper, Lauderdale, Leake, Neshoba, Newton, Scott and Smith counties.

    While the bus service primarily serves the Choctaw communities in the area, anyone who lives along the service route is eligible to use the service.    

    "Whether it’s getting a commuter to work, an elderly resident to a doctor’s visit, or a young child to the Boys and Girl Club, Choctaw Transit has been a driving force for economic opportunity and improving the quality of life for area residents for over 30 years," the press release states.

    “We look forward to working with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and transit providers throughout the area to provide not only more efficient services, but to also provide greater connectivity to more destinations that citizens need to enhance their quality of life,” Hall stated in the press release.  “Access to public transit services is an essential part of providing the safe, affordable and efficient transportation system that we strive to maintain.”

    In March of last year, bus services in the city of Meridian, which was managed by the Meridian Transit System, shut down amid financial woes. Meridian City Council member George Thomas said earlier this month he expects discussions some time in the future to see if a deal can be reached whereby Choctaw transit could take over busy routes in the city.

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