A plan is needed to get city’s trolley in use

Published 8:49 am Tuesday, March 3, 2020

We know it is never as simple as it seems when it comes to governmental operations, whether they be at the local, state or federal levels.

Regardless of the size of the particular government, there are checks and balances, bureaucracies and red tape.

But when it comes to the operations of NRoute’s trolley that sits quietly in a city parking garage, the level of bureaucratic nonsense may actually have hit a new level.

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Since the trolley became part of NRoute’s fleet of vehicles in December 2015, it has rarely seen the light of day, spending most of its time practically hidden in the lower level of the north parking garage on Mulberry Street.

In September 2015, NRoute officials said the trolley would be used for special events and available for weddings and transportation programs for groups that other vehicles in NRoute’s fleet are prohibited from transporting under regulations from the Mississippi Department of Transportation. 

If those plans and regulations were ever true, then what happened?

Vicksburg has had more than a few special events since December 2015 and yet the trolley with rare exceptions has remained out of sight.

Regardless of the original intention or regulations, four years has past and an investment of nearly $200,000 of taxpayer dollars has gone practically wasted.

While there would be a temptation to cast blame for what has been a wasted asset, that would accomplish very little.

What is needed is action. What is needed is a new plan, a new approach.

NRoute serves a valuable service to the many individuals who ride each day, but the trolley was designed to serve a different purpose, a different audience.

It was designed to be a traveling billboard for Vicksburg, a reflection of a city and downtown that is open for business, welcoming to visitors and set apart from other destinations along the Mississippi River.

If parking the trolley is an effort to save money, then the nearly $200,000 spent in 2015 should have been invested in something different. If parking the trolley is due to lack of a good plan, then a new plan must be put together.

As we have often heard and been told by our parents growing up, money does not grow on trees. As taxpayers we expect results for the tax dollars we are obligated to pay and in this case, we have received nothing in return.

It’s time for the trolley to leave the garage and start providing the return on the investment we expected four years ago.