Public transit could roll back into McKinney

TAPS bus stops, like this one seen here in McKinney, have remained unserviced since November 2015r.

TAPS bus stops, like this one seen here in McKinney, have remained unserviced since November 2015r.

The McKinney City Council voted May 17 to seek limited public transportation options for the elderly and disabled requiring transit within McKinney city limits.

“We have always said if we could figure out a way to provide some level of sustainable service based on what we can realistically afford to do, then that is what we are going to do,” McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller said. “It has just taken time to figure that out. But, ultimately, we are going to try to provide some kind of limited service.”

Loughmiller said the city’s plan is to first apply to become an urban transit district, which would open the door to up to $324,000 in state transit grant money.

The current McKinney UZA, or census-designated urban area with 50,000 residents or more, includes the cities of McKinney, Princeton, Prosper, Celina, Melissa and Lowry Crossing. Any decision made now by the city of McKinney to provide transit would include transit within these cities as well. By requesting to become an urban transit district, the city would only provide public transit specifically within McKinney city limits.

In addition to seeking the urban district status and the following application in state funding, City Council also voted to request the North Central Texas Council of Governments act as McKinney’s direct recipient of state and federal funding. The city’s direct recipient status is still undecided, despite NCTCOGs request to become the city’s direct recipient this spring.

Loughmiller said having NCTCOG act as the direct recipient would prevent McKinney from incurring costs to hire and train additional staff members to handle administration related to providing public transit.

Regardless of whether the city obtains the urban transit district status, state grant money, or whether NCTCOG acts as the city’s direct recipient, Loughmiller said the city will provide some type of limited, on-demand service to elderly and disabled residents of McKinney.

Loughmiller said this service will be capped with a city contribution of $100,000 a year.

The road to transit


The decision comes after months of discussion in executive session to find an appropriate solution to the city’s public transit debacle, which began last summer when their former transit provider began to unravel, Loughmiller said.

Council Member Randy Pogue said discussions revolved around how to address the transit needs of the disabled, disadvantaged, and elderly citizens within the city as well as the budget constraints faced by the city.

“While I believe public transit is not a core function of government, I do believe that it is a quality of life issue,” Pogue said. “As a council, we have discussed how to effectively achieve the balance between need, ability to provide service, administrative costs associated with providing that service, and the actual cost of transit.”

Elderly and disabled residents in McKinney have had to find other means of public transportation since November, leaving some with a singular option of local taxi services.

Pogue said during that time, city staff was researching possible solutions and transit options. Council, he said, is facing the challenge of McKinney’s fast-growing, changing environment, which affect the rules for transit, including the funding model and the Federal Transit Authority’s funding match program. These change as the city’s population grows, he said, adding that once the city reaches 200,000 residents, the UZA is also modified.

“We can make decisions today that will cause future councils to be strapped with a transit system that is non-sustainable due to the funding requirements and lack of federal monies to match,” he said. “Therefore, any decision that we make today has to account for the longer term and unintended consequences that may come along with those decisions.”

Pogue called the public transit situation "very complex," and said the council is taking the issue seriously.

"The quality of life for the citizens of McKinney is significant to us, and we are attempting to make the decisions that we are faced with accordingly," he said.
By Marthe Rennels
Marthe has reported on education, business, city and county news since 2010. She wrote for the McKinney Courier Gazette and later joined Community Impact Newspapers as McKinney Editor. Marthe covers transportation, development, city, county and education news in McKinney including McKinney ISD and Collin College.


MOST RECENT

A Layne's Chicken Fingers restaurant will open in Roanoke in 2021 at the site of the former Dairy Queen on US 377. (Courtesy Layne's Chicken Fingers)
Layne's Chicken Fingers to open in Roanoke; meat, seafood market set for Frisco and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.




Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-McKinney is in the midst of renovations. (Courtesy Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-McKinney)
McKinney hospitals aim to expand campuses, services

Find out what local hospitals plan to offer in 2021.

The new 945 area code will be deployed Jan. 15 for the region that presently uses area codes 214, 469 and 972. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Frisco gets new area code; Popeyes to open in McKinney and more top DFW news

Read the top news from the past week from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

See how COVID-19 is impacting Collin County. (Community Impact staff)
Tracking COVID-19: McKinney adds more than 800 cases in a week

As of Jan. 14, 540 people in Collin County were hospitalized with COVID-19.

Burnt BBQ & Tacos' menu offers several different barbecue and taco options. (Courtesy Burnt BBQ & Tacos)
Burnt BBQ & Tacos opens in Plano and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Hard Rock Smoke & Vapor opened Dec. 15 at 5160 Collin McKinney Parkway, McKinney. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Hard Rock Smoke & Vapor expands into Texas with McKinney shop

Hard Rock Smoke & Vapor has two additional locations in Illinois in Chicago and Hanover Park.

Filing for McKinney city elections, as of Jan. 13, is now open. The last day to file for a place on the ballot is Feb. 12 by 5 p.m. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Filing period now open for 4 McKinney City Council races

Races for four seats on McKinney City Council have officially begun.

The urgent care facility offers treatment for injury/illness that do not require an ER visit. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
CommunityMed McKinney opens as company's 11th location

CommunityMed McKinney offers an array of COVID-19 test options.

A proposed development would create tracts for a hotel, retail/commercial and a residential community. (Illustrative site plan courtesy city of McKinney)
Rezoning would allow for residences, hotel, restaurant near Medical City McKinney

The proposed development calls for low-density, detached housing, similar to a “more urban single family residential development comprised of a variety of housing sizes and styles,” according to meeting documents.

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Glenn Hegar shared a new revenue estimate for the 2022-23 biennium Jan. 11. (Courtesy Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts)
Comptroller projects drop in state revenue, potential for economic uptick for next biennium

Despite the slight reduction in expected revenue for the state's 2022-23 budget, recovery could be on the horizon.

County commissioners sent a joint letter Jan. 12 to Commissioner John Hellerstedt of the Texas Department of State Health Services to request additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. State health officials have since committed to send 6,975 doses of the Moderna vaccine to the county next week. (Courtesy Baylor College of Medicine)
Collin County to receive nearly 7,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine

State health officials have committed to send 6,975 doses of the Moderna vaccine to the county next week.

The Olive Branch, the soon-to-be headquarters of McKinney Little Free Pantry, will open in January at 2000 N. McDonald St., McKinney. (Matt Payne/ Community Impact Newspaper)
The Olive Branch will serve as McKinney Little Free Pantry headquarters

The new facility will serve as the pantry’s storehouse and major donation/distribution center.