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Flint MTA Assists Community in Water Distribution

As the city of Flint, MI, faces a crisis caused by a contaminated water supply, the Flint Mass Transportation Authority has stepped up its efforts to assist the community with transporting volunteers to neighborhoods and distributing water, filters and other supplies to the city’s affected residents.

The MTA is working closely with city officials and Genesee County Emergency Management staff, American Red Cross, United Way of Genesee County and other groups.

“The Flint community has been extremely supportive to the MTA,” said Edgar Benning, MTA general manager and chief executive officer. “This is our opportunity to help residents of Flint. We are very proud of the efforts by our employees during this time and the compassion they have shown to others.”

Specifically, the Flint MTA has provided several vehicles daily to help move 350 volunteers from the county administration officers and American Red Cross buildings into neighborhoods, and the agency has added five water distribution sites as stops along its fixed routes. In addition, the agency has stationed buses in some neighborhoods to serve as warming stations for volunteers who are delivering water to individual homes.

In addition, the MTA has developed bus stops at Flint fire stations to facilitate access for individuals traveling to and from the stations to get water supplies. Individuals using the bus service for this purpose are not being charged fares.

In late January, agency officials turned the MTA Transportation Center in downtown Flint into a distribution site to accept delivery of pallets of water so residents can pick up cases. The Your Ride paratransit service, coordinated by the MTA, is also conducting house deliveries of water and supplies to older individuals, people with disabilities and dialysis patients.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) personnel commented to agency officials that in 40 years of providing disaster and emergency relief, they had never witnessed a better coordinated public transit system.

“The residents of Flint have suffered greatly during this water emergency and we appreciate the acknowledgements for our role, but it is really about the people,” Benning said.

Flint MTA stockpiles pallets of water in its Transportation Center to distribute to residents who need clean drinking water.

Photo courtesy of Flint MTA

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