Residents voice rural transportation needs

Published 3:00 am Friday, August 31, 2018

Amy Minor, head nurse at Troy Regional Medical Center, has concerns about transportation to the hospital for patients without a vehicle or someone to drive them.

“We see a significant need for access to transportation whether people are trying to get to doctor’s visits or just healthcare in general,” Minor said. “Many people can’t afford to go to doctor’s visits or go get things done. If they come to the emergency room on an ambulance, how are they going to get home? Some don’t have involved families and are stuck with no ride. Our goal is to somehow find public transportation that would be more on demand.”

Minor was one of several Pike County residents to come share their concerns about transportation needs in Pike County from pot-holes to areas where 18-wheelers should be rerouted to transit issues like the concern Minor brought forward.

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The forum was hosted by the South Central Alabama Development Commission (SCADC). The comments are detailed in an annual report to the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) to notify the state agency of what residents are concerned about in their rural communities.

While SCADC does not have money allocated to directly address the residents’ concerns, representative Evan Crews said the comments can add points on scoring for competitive grants – public comment on the issues can push an application over the threshold to get funded, he said.

“We’re documenting the need for if something does come available,” Crews said.

“The more documentation the better,” added McKinley Lee, another SCADC representative taking the public comment. It helps to show there are people backing these needs up.”

As for Minor’s concern, Crews said there are grants out there that may provide a bus for the hospital as a nonprofit organization that could be used to shuttle people for health needs, and he said SCADC could help guide the hospital in the process.

Other concerns mentioned by residents included the presence of 18-wheelers on County Road 3316 between Spring Hill and Brundidge, which one resident said was too curvy and hilly for the big trucks to drive on, doing damage to the road and presenting potential dangers. She suggested the trucks be routed on Alabama Highway 125 instead.

Crews said the comments submitted at the meeting as well as others sent in will be documented in an annual report to ALDOT next month.