Study looks at Regional Transit Authority for C.R. metro

Study looks at Regional Transit Authority for C.R. metro

A 2016 study of the Cedar Rapids transit system started the conversation about forming a Regional Transit Authority.

Now the Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is conducting another study to take a closer look.

“Would it be possible for a regional transit authority to provide service to communities that don't currently have service or increase the level of service to communities that already have it?” asks MPO Manager, Bill Micheel.

That is exactly what the study is looking to find out.

Currently Marion and Hiawatha pay Cedar Rapids for limited bus service but the study hopes to find a better way.

“The essential parts of this analysis would be to determine if there are some efficiencies to be gained for our transit users,” says Micheel.

Instead of Cedar Rapids providing transit an independent body would tax communities based on the level of service they want or need.

The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority or DART has found success under a similar system and for a growing metro area it would seem to make sense.

“So many people in larger metro areas are not just living in one city and working in the same city; they're living in one and working another, going to medical appointments or school in another,” says Amanda Wanke, Chief External Affairs Officer with DART.

The study will look at many factors including potential use, cost, and management of a more regional transit system.

The findings should be ready for metro area communities in spring 2018.

“That will allow them to have a conversation about what benefits they see, what benefits the corridor MPO policy board sees for the region and at that point there will be a determination made about whether or not to move forward,” says Micheel.

It would be a move forward that could change the way people move around the metro.

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