Major push happening for Alabama to start funding public transportation

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama is one of the only states in the country that doesn’t contribute state money to public transportation.

Advocacy groups and those who rely on the services are asking the state to chip in.

Grege Armstrong is one of many people who ride the Montgomery Area Transit System, which he says is his only way to get to work. Armstrong said his wait time for the bus can often be long.

“A lot of times, they can be late for no reason,” Armstrong said.

Like many people who rely on public transportation in Alabama, Armstrong would like to see more funding.

“I’ve been riding a bus now for years, it’s convenient for me to ride a bus,” he said.

The state doesn’t fund public transportation. Instead, most of the funding comes from cities and counties. Alabama is one of four states that don’t fund public transit.

“We are the only state east of the Mississippi that doesn’t and that choice is limiting opportunities for folks and our economic development as a state,” said Chris Sanders, communications director for Alabama ARISE.

Sanders said this is a issue ARISE has been working on for years.

“Even a modest state investment in public transportation could bring in millions of dollars from the federal government,” he said. “It also create jobs in rural and urban areas alike.”

One of the state’s largest public transportation providers is the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority, which averages about 3 million riders per year.

Some lawmakers have mixed opinions on this issue, many of whom say the budgets are tight enough as they are.

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