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Monroe County Commissioners Look To Expand Rural Transport

Rural Transit officials say they hope attention at the national level will bring more funding in the near future.

Residents living in rural areas of Monroe County may soon be able to use public transportation after the County Council approved a $30,000 increase in the commissioners’ Rural Transit fund.

Commissioner Mark Stoops says residents can currently call and request a pickup but there are many people who get denied.

“What we’re trying to do is create a system of routes that connect directly from our rural communities to Bloomington Transit in Bloomington,” Stoops says.

Stoops says more than fifteen thousand people commute to Monroe County and Bloomington from outlying counties.  Part of the proposal would be to build parking areas where those commuters could leave their vehicles and catch a bus into town.

Although no concrete plans have been developed, Stoops says the funds will act as seed money — something lawmakers can bring to the table when they begin to work with Rural Transit to develop site and route plans.  He also says federal grants could provide additional funding as early as next year.

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