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City council restores Meridian Transit Authority money

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
Nov. 7, 2001
Meridian Transit Authority officials began working Tuesday to re-establish bus service to Naval Air Station Meridian after city councilmen restored money they originally cut from the agency budget.
Councilmen voted Tuesday to give the authority $20,000 of the $20,700 cut from its $139,000 funding request for the fiscal year that started Oct. 1. The move will allow the authority to receive $60,000 in matching funds from the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
Cmdr. Sally Benson, commanding officer for the Naval Technical Training Center at NAS Meridian, said bus service had not been reliable.
Buford said irregularity in bus schedules resulted from drivers trying to accommodate NAS Meridian personnel who asked to be picked up or dropped off at points not normally designated as stops.
He said Meridian Transit Authority staff members began working with NAS officials Tuesday to correct the problem. He said commission officials hope to have the NAS Meridian route re-established by the weekend.
Buford said bus drivers who were left jobless by the funding cut will be "re-hired immediately." He said that Meridian Transit Authority's interim director, Michael Darden, will determine who specifically will return to work.
Darden is temporarily replacing former executive director Evelyn Bumpers, who Buford said resigned Oct. 31 for "personal reasons." Buford would not comment whether her decision had anything to do with the agency's funding issue.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.

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