LIVE OAK COUNTY – The preliminary draft of a new transportation plan for Live Oak County indicates a strong need to increase the availability of public transportation and — almost as importantly — better communicate its existence to area residents.
Improved access to public transportation can help rural residents connect with needed medical care, higher education and new career opportunities, according to the preliminary plan.
Work on this proposed transportation plan first began in 2013 when the Transportation Coordination Network of the Coastal Bend was awarded funding through the Texas Department of Transportation to develop it for Live Oak County, reports show. The work involved an assessment of the transportation needs of county residents — with a special focus on senior citizens, persons with disabilities, low income individuals, and people with limited English proficiency.
Copies of this proposed plan, which have yet to be formally adopted by the Live Oak County Commissioners Court, were circulated earlier this month by Robby Silva, projects manager for the Transportation Coordination Network.
“We have incorporated your feedback and included the projects the group identified,” Silva announced in the email.” We would like to schedule an AWG meeting for sometime next week to finalize the plan and prepare to submit before the Live Oak County Commissioners Court.”
The report draft states that “continued innovation, significant increase in public transportation investment, and broad political and community support,” will be needed to make this plan work.
“It is in the county’s best interest to align investments with ‘livable communities’ principles that support economic, environmental, and social well-being of Live Oak County residents,” the plan states.
Studies made as part of the plan indicate that many area residents are unaware of any available transportation services and those who know about them and actually made use of them find them to be inefficient, inflexible and not cost effective.
“It is most equitable to generate transit funding from a narrowly-defined group of beneficiaries, such as users of new transit service and employers who generate commute trips,” the report reads. “Successfully meeting the transportation needs of Live Oak County residents will require collaboration among Live Oak County, the City of George West and the City of Three Rivers.”
Live Oak County Judge Jim Huff said Monday that the plan remains under review.
“I have the rough draft on my desk but we need to meet to finalize it,” he said in an email.
Ben Tinsley is a reporter for The Progress newspaper in Three Rivers. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 361-786-3022. Tinsley can also be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BenTinsley, Google at http://plus.google.com/+BenTinsley or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ben.tinsley.12.