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McKinney Councilmembers Votes on Federal, State Funding for Public Transit

McKinney City Council members voted Tuesday evening to move forward with state and federal funding to get public transportation back to the city.

Council members approved a request for federal grant funds to help pay for potential service, as well as a grant agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation to receive state funding.

Chandler Merritt, McKinney’s director of strategic services, said the funding requests now go back in the hands of the state and federal government to decide what the next steps.

If approved, the city will then create a board that will begin the planning process.

Residents have been without buses after a transit system named TAPS (Texoma Area Paratransit System) failed and folded in November 2015.

For people like Ashley Bridgewater, mother of a newborn baby named Liam, it is a daily struggle.

Bridgewater has been staying at the Samaritan Inn for the last several weeks as she searches for a job.

She used to work as a night auditor at a hotel before baby Liam was born, but getting to job interviews and doctor’s appointments is tough without a car.

“It’s hard to rely on other people to get rides, so it’s pretty hard. It’s almost impossible,” Bridgewater said. “Without transportation, we’re just stuck.”

Bridgewater is far from alone. The lack of public transit is also a struggle for the elderly, the disabled and anyone trying to make ends meet.

Merritt said he understands people’s frustrations, fielding at least one or two calls a week from concerned citizens on the status.

Merritt said Tuesday evening’s vote is not the first step, but it is definitely the initial steps toward a public transit system.

DART estimates approximately 250,000 people use public transportation – bus and train – every day in North Texas. DART does not currently serve McKinney, but has been invited to discuss future plans, Merritt said.

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