Hattiesburg, Mississippi – On Thursday, Mayor Toby Barker was joined by Ward 1 Councilman Jeffrey George, Ward 4 Councilwoman Mary Dryden, Ward 5 Councilman Nicholas Brown, city administrators and community members to announce a $1.8 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration to improve accessibility for Hub City Transit.
This on-site announcement followed a release by U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and Representative Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) announcing the award from the FTA’s Grants for Buses and Facilities Program earlier in the week.
The FTA Buses and Bus Facilities Program grant, when combined with $784,800 in local matching funds, will allow the city to undertake a multi-year bus stop improvement project to increase Hub City Transit ridership, enhance rider safety, and improve access to businesses.
This award will fund sidewalk, crosswalk and pedestrian signal improvements at eight project sites that will encompass 19 different bus stop locations throughout the city. These improvements will also upgrade some existing facilities to be ADA accessible and in some cases, allow for multi-use of the pathway by pedestrian and bicycle.
The eight project sites are:
- Ward 5 – Edwards Street, in the Irene Chapel Neighborhood
- Ward 5 – McInnis Loop, between South 28th Avenue and Highway 11
- Ward 4 – Hardy Street, between Park Avenue and South 17th Avenue
- Ward 2 – Edwards Street, between Tuscan Avenue and Duke Avenue
- Ward 2 – East 7th Street, in the Mobile-Bouie Neighborhood
- Ward 2 – Grace Avenue
- Ward 1 – Hardy Street, between 36th and 38th Avenues
- Ward 1 – North 31st Avenue, north of 7th Street
In 2018, the City of Hattiesburg has increased coverage and service to residents by Hub City Transit with the expansion to seven routes and 15 transfer points. This also included establishing a route that services The University of Southern Mississippi campus and neighboring streets.
With this expansion, Hub City Transit reached a milestone of 100,000 in total ridership for the first time in its existence. That number was sustained in 2019. In January of this year, a tracking system for each bus route was launched at hubcitytransit.com so that riders can track the buses in real-time.
“ I am very appreciative to Senator Hyde-Smith, Senator Wicker and Congressman Palazzo for their support of our community and this funding. Hub City Transit has seen a lot of progress, growth and key milestones throughout the past two years and this grant continues that momentum,” said Barker. “Access to public transportation is vital to our city’s continued growth. It provides ladders of opportunity to those who need access to our two universities, our workforce development center at PRCC, our local health care facilities and many of our grocery and retail outlets.”
This funding will also continue the city’s commitment to walkability and completes streets – accommodating the needs of everyone, regardless of transportation mode.
This grant is over a three year period and will involve a design phase, land acquisition and many steps to check off as the projects move forward.
Barker added, “I want our residents to know that [despite the pandemic] exciting things are still happening in Hattiesburg. We are accomplishing things together. And when we come out of this, and we will – we are going to be better positioned to seize the many opportunities to advance all of our residents and neighborhoods.”