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Natchez Transit System to be featured on PBS

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Transit System and its future regional intermodal transit facility is now the focus of a PBS production.

Producers of “Blueprint America,” a PBS project on infrastructure, contacted City of Natchez Department of Adult Services and Public Transportation Director Sabrena Bartley last month.

In an e-mail to Bartley, “Blueprint America” Associate Producer Tom McNamara said Natchez and its growing transit system exemplifies a smaller community that is being proactive with its infrastructure.

A production crew plans to travel to Natchez at the end of this month, and interview Bartley, Natchez Transit System employees and citizens who use public transportation regularly.

The episode will eventually air on PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, a national evening broadcast. An air date has not been set.

“(PBS) is excited about the transportation project and its positive impact on rural livability in these communities, and I’m really excited about that too,” Bartley said.

“I’m excited about the fact we are leading the way. We’re making positive strides in transportation, and Natchez is just on the move.”

Bartley said PBS producers contacted her after reading an article about Natchez Transit published in The Democrat.

“We’re just really honored and humbled that (PBS) has chosen to feature this project in rural Mississippi and in Natchez,” Bartley said. “It’s good for Natchez Transit, and it’s even better for Natchez because it promotes Natchez as a whole.”

Bartley said the city recently received the green light from the Mississippi Department of Transportation to move forward with plans to construct a $2.5 million regional intermodal transit facility. MDOT and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will fund the construction of the 9,000-square-foot facility, which will be located on the site of the old AB Motor Company on North Shields Lane.

Bartley said the facility will broaden service areas to include Adams, Claiborne, Jefferson, Franklin, Lincoln, Copiah, Simpson, Jefferson Davis and Wilkinson counties.

The facility will include parking spaces for customers, a park and ride service, a modern transit vehicle maintenance facility and a regional transportation call center, along with parking space and storage for up to 28 transit vehicles.

Bartley said the facility will allow Natchez Transit to cutback its demand response service, and establish more fixed routes.

The facility will employ approximately 40 people upon completion, and provide passengers up-to-the-minute information about local and regional transportation schedules.

“We have received all our funding and now we can proceed with planning, engineering and design,” Bartley said.

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