City of Vicksburg plans to buy its own trolley
Published 10:54 am Wednesday, June 8, 2022
When NRoute’s trolley was introduced in December 2015, NRoute and city officials were excited about its potential to help the city’s tourism industry and enhance the downtown area.
But in the almost eight years since its introduction, the trolley has failed to meet the aspirations city officials had for it and Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said Monday he’s interested in joining forces with the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau to buy a trolley.
“The city and the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureaus are in the process of buying its own trolley,” he said at the start of Monday’s meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
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NRoute bought the trolley in December 2014 using federal and city funds, with 80 percent of its $192,979 cost paid by a federal transportation grant and the city paying the 20 percent match totaling $38,595.
The trolley began a route through the downtown area but the cost of maintenance and low ridership eventually forced it off the streets and it has spent most of its time parked at the city’s parking garage at South and Walnut streets.
And the regulations tied to the federal grant used to buy the trolley restrict how the vehicle can be used.
Flaggs said city officials tried to develop a plan for the joint use of the trolley but it did not work out, saying the proposal was too complicated “and it’s not worth it.”
“I’ve been as frustrated as you are about the trolley not moving,” he said. “We’re looking into it and we have discontinued all the talking with NRoute about the trolley.
“We’re going to hopefully go in with the Convention and Visitors Bureau and use ARPA (American Recovery Plan Act) money to buy outright a trolley for the city of Vicksburg, the (Vicksburg) convention center, Main Street and the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.”
Flaggs said city officials decided against buying the present trolley, citing its present $77,000 price tag and high maintenance. “I wasn’t going to do it,” he said.
“If the city’s tourism agencies need a trolley, we ought to buy it just like our own coach.