Macon-Bibb could avert Transit Authority fare hike with federal funds

The Macon-Bibb County Commission authorized spending American Rescue Plan Act funds to cover the cost of the pending 50-cent fare hike


The Macon-Bibb County Commission approved spending up to $375,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to try to persuade  the Macon-Bibb Transit Authority to hold the line on fares through June of 2024.

Under the measure passed Tuesday night, the county is using a portion of the $75.8 million in federal funds allotted to Macon-Bibb County to address the negative impact COVID-19 had on the public transit system.

Under an agreement to be forged with Mayor Lester Miller and the authority, the county will allocate 50 cents per rider each month under the condition that no fare increase will take place over the next 15 months.

The authority had planned to raise regular fares from $1.25 to $1.75, which included one transfer, which is currently priced at 50 cents. The authority’s plan also included raising paratransit fares by $1, but the ARPA funds are contingent on no hike taking place.

Commissioner Elaine Lucas, who was a vocal critic of the fare increase, co-sponsored the ordinance, which also was supported by two members of the public who had also spoken against the fare hike at recent commission meetings.

Also, commissioners amended the Macon-Bibb County Government Policies and Procedures manual to allow the county to recover the value of any county property that is taken, damaged or destroyed by the willful misconduct or gross negligence of employees. An assistant county attorney said they have had problems with workers who quit and take county-owned property with them.

The Commission also approved $500,000 in ARPA funds to run the Depaul USA homeless medical respite being built as part of the Macon Housing Authority’s Central City Apartments.

Also on Tuesday’s agenda, commissioners approved more than $193,000 for equipment for Bibb County sheriff’s vehicles, $475,519 for a new call-taking system for the E-911 center, up to $830,000 in SPLOST funds for up to 200 portable public safety radios, nearly $37,000 for fire station alarm systems, about $144,000 for IT equipment and about $36,000 to complete renovations at 1320 Duncan Avenue in the Home Investment Partnership Plan.

Commissioners also voted to honor the late golf pro Jim Hickman by dedicating a portion of Millerfield Road in his honor.

Here is a summary of Tuesday night’s actions and comments through tweets sent during the meeting.

Civic Journalism Senior Fellow Liz Fabian covers Macon-Bibb County government entities and can be reached at [email protected] or 478-301-2976.