The Union Recorder

Local News

April 3, 2013

Regional transportation program not happening


A proposed Regional Transportation Program initiative through the Middle Georgia Regional Commission (MGRC) wanted to pool state resources to provide more efficient rural transport services. 

Bob Rochelle, on behalf of the MGRC, informed the Baldwin County Commissioners of some bad news Tuesday. Formerly, the Regional Commission had been the prime contractor with the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) for the provision of transport throughout the region.

“We viewed that as an integral part of being able to coordinate with the county rural transit system,” Rochelle said. “We were just informed two weeks ago that as of July 1 we would no longer be the prime contractor for that service, which in effect kills our mobility management program.”

The Macon Transit Authority is the new administrator selected by DHS. 

The Regional Commission has challenged the ruling, but the outlook for a Middle Georgia regional mobility system is poor. Rochelle said that system would help Baldwin County offset the costs within its Section 5311 Rural Transport program.

“I wanted to bring that to your attention because Baldwin County is in effect our most advanced county in regards to looking at that as a viable option,” Rochelle said.

County manager Ralph McMullen said the MGRC had no idea the state agencies were planning on pulling out.

“They turned on this program,” McMullen said.

Sammy Hall, District 3, stated that the current county transport program is one of the most inefficient programs operating.

“Why can’t we figure out one way to work together,” Hall said. “You see our transportation bus going across the river, and you see one of the other ones coming back with one person on it.”

The MGRC’s initiative was one of three pilot state programs looking to tackle that issue. Rochelle contributed the pull out to turf wars.

“Various state agencies just want to control and look out for their portion of those programs,” he said.

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