The history of transportation studies in Cape Girardeau County spans several years. During that time, various "experts" have made suggestions, some of which have resulted in the formation of the county's transit authority and other minor changes in the way individuals without personal transportation get to and from medical appointments and shopping.
For nearly a year, the consulting firm BMI-SG has been conducting another study, costing $225,000 and funded by a Missouri Department of Transportation grant. This study, local officials say, is supposed to be the definitive study that will guide future transportation solutions.
As part of the solution-seeking process, hearings are scheduled from 3 to 7 p.m. today (Salvation Army, 701 Good Hope), Wednesday (University of Missouri Extension Center, 684 W. Jackson Trail in Jackson) and Thursday (Osage Community Centre, 1625 N. Kingshighway).
Each of the sessions will be like an open house where interested members of the public can come and go. Presentations will be made at 4 and 6 p.m. each day by Frank Spielberg from BMI-SG. Spielberg will be discussing the three options that have been identified for improving public transportation:
* Restructure Cape Girardeau's taxi-voucher program.
* Establish a fixed-route van system and eliminate the taxi-voucher program.
* Establish a fixed-route system and keep the voucher program.
Spielberg expects a final report of local transportation needs will be delivered to MoDOT by January.
In the meantime, the study needs input and ideas from the public, particularly those who need transportation because of their circumstances.
This is the public's opportunity to be heard and have some influence on the recommendations that will be forthcoming. It is important for interested individuals to make an effort to attend one of the hearings. This is the only way the consultant will get information needed to make sound proposals.