Local 24 News political analyst & commentator Otis Sanford on need for good public transportation


THE MEMPHIS AREA TRANSIT SYTEM … REMAINS ONE OF MEMPHIS’ BIGGEST CHALLENGES … AS MATA STILL DOES NOT HAVE ANYWHERE CLOSE TO THE MONEY IT NEEDS TO MAKE MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS. NOW WITH IT BEING AN ELECTION YEAR… LOCAL 24 POLITICAL ANALYST OTIS SANFORD IS CALLING ON MAYORAL CANDIDATES… TO MAKE A CHANGE. HERE’S TONIGHT’S POINT OF VIEW. OTIS SANFORD/REPORTIN G: DURING A THREE WEEK TEACHING ASSIGNMENT IN MAINZ, GERMANY, I NATURALLY FOUND MYSELF COMPARING THAT CITY TO MEMPHIS. GRANTED, IT WAS NOT A FAIR COMPARISON. MEMPHIS IS MUCH LARGER AND MORE RACIALLY DIVERSE. AND YET, I COULD NOT HELP BUT OBSERVE THAT FOR A CITYOF JUST OVER 200 THOUSAND PEOPLE, MAINZ HAS EXCELLENT PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. THE BEST I’VE SEEN IN ANY U.S. CITY. MAINZ HAS A BUS AND LIGHT RAIL SYSTEM THAT IS EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT. THE BUSES AND TRAMS RUN EARLY AND OFTEN. THEY ARRIVE ON TIME, ARE EASY TO ACCESS AND ARE AFFORDABLE. PATRONS – FROM TEENAGERS TO SENIOR CITIZENS – RELY ON THE SYSTEM TO GET TO WORK, TO SCHOOL, TO SHOP OR TO TOUR THE CITY’S MANY HISTORIC SIGHTS. MEMPHIS, ON THE OTHER HAND, CONTINUES TO MUDDLE ALONG WITH A PUBLIC TRANSIT SYSTEM THAT IS NEITHER EFFICIENT NOR RELIABLE.INSTEAD OF BEING AN ASSET TO THE CITY’S ECONOMY, THE MEMPHIS AREA TRANSIT AUTHORITY IS OFTEN A LIABILITY. SO HERE’S MY SUGGESTION TO ANY SERIOUS CANDIDATE WANTING TO BE OUR NEXT MAYOR AND THE INCUMBENT SEEKING A SECOND TERM. START ADDRESSING THE LONG TERM PLANS FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION.BE CAUSE IMPROVING THE SYSTEM WON’T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT. IT WILL TAKE YEARS AND PLENTY OF MONEY. IT WILL ALSO REQUIRE STRONG LEADERSHIP AND POLITICAL WILL. MEMPHIS’ PUBLIC TRANSIT WILL LIKELY NEVER REACH THE LEVEL OF MAINZ. BUT IT SIMPLY HAS – TO GET BETTER. ANDTHAT’S MY POINT OF VIEW. I’M OTIS SANFORD, FOR LOCAL 24 NEWS. LISTEN UP PARENTS. SUMMER SCHOOL

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