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MU officials might hire firm to assess transit needs

Saturday, January 21, 2012 | 5:54 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — MU officials are working to finalize a contract with a consulting firm that will assess transportation needs for students living both on and off campus.

The contract comes mere months after the inaugural meeting of the Transit System Task Force, a team of city officials and students charged with evaluating transit needs and structure not only for MU but for the entire city.

Jim Joy, MU representative for the Public Transportation Advisory Commission, said he anticipates some degree of collaboration between the bodies. 

Commission member Alyce Turner, however, called the contract "a hand in the face of the city." By commissioning a consulting firm rather than relying on the task force, she said, the university might be trying to retain control.

The consulting firm hired by MU will consider students its top priority in creating a long-term strategy for rectifying transit issues. Joy said the members plan to consult student organizations and conduct site visits to off-campus housing in an effort to gather as much feedback as possible.

Potential solutions, though, remain ambiguous. "There's nothing that's not on the table," Joy said.

Although a timeline has not yet been solidified, Joy estimated the assessment will begin the second week of February and will continue through the end of March.


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