On February 5th the Augusta Regional Collaboration held the first of a series of community forums on topics important to the economic vitality of Augusta. This month's topic was mass transit, something near and dear to ARC's Asst. VP Jack Wilde.
"A robust mass transit system can be both a social good and an economic one," Wilde claimed, "If it connects workers to jobs and consumers to stores." Many people in Augusta have voiced complaints about the local transit system, but fewer have stepped forward with solutions. "We need to find out what people mean when they say 'I want better bus service' because that's an outcome, not a specific suggestion."
1st District Commissioner William Fennoy was in attendance, as was Pat Stephens, the new director of the city's bus service Augusta Public Transit. Participants in the forum spent some time nailing down specific improvements they wanted to see to the system, but then were asked to evaluate whether their improvements were aimed at enhancing social benefits like access for non-drivers, or economic benefits like access to jobs and stores. What was a surprise to everyone involved was how focused all the participants were on the economic benefits of their improvements.
Take a look at the video, leave your comments, and get involved!