Even before they start operations, the buses continue to run late.
For the second time, a planned bus service for the city of Columbus has been stalled before it was to begin. On Tuesday city officials learned that some of the bus stops Lawrence Transit wants to have in its routes require Historic Preservation Commission approval.
City Attorney Jeff Turnage said the bus service did not approach the city seeking approval to place stops in the downtown historic distric, but the city also failed to inform Lawrence Transit officials that it needed to do so.
The HPC must vote to allow the stops before passing their recommendation to the city council for approval.
The commission meets the first Monday of each month on the condition it has an agenda item, but the first Monday in September is Labor Day, which city building official Kenny Wiegel said means the meeting would have to be rescheduled. That has yet to take place, Wiegel said, and officials from Lawrence Transit have not contacted him about getting on the agenda for the next meeting.
The city extended its initial Aug. 9 deadline after Lawrence Transit director of Columbus operations Dorothy Dowdell said the company had to install bus stop shelters before it could begin the service to be in compliance with Mississippi Department of Transportation standards. Dowdell said the original intention was to begin installing the stops after operations began but could not do so. The deadline was pushed to Aug. 26 before Turnage confirmed the HPC hurdle Tuesday.
City officials have not announced a new deadline for the service to begin operations.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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