The Hall County Family Connection Network is a collaboration of agencies and organizations that serve families and children in Hall County. In this capacity, we write to express our concern about the future of the public transportation system in Gainesville and Hall County.
This year, 64.4 percent of the children in Hall County were eligible to receive free or reduced lunches. As of 2011, there were 12,725 children living in poverty in Hall County and 31.2 percent of the households in Hall County were below 150 percent of the federal poverty level ($2,400 per month for a family of three.)
The recession has hit many families hard, leaving them without transportation of their own, sometimes displaced from their homes. They have no resources to pay for taxis or friends to transport them to job interviews or the Department of Labor to seek unemployment compensation or job services. Terminating the low-cost bus system will be disastrous for these families, and children will suffer as parents struggle to find a ride to the grocery store, doctor’s office or pharmacy.
A fast-growing city needs public transportation to attract industry and retail development. It has been shown that public transportation reduces traffic congestion and improves property values. Dismantling the Red Rabbit is a huge step backward for Gainesville, the hub of northeast Georgia.
We urge city and county leaders to ensure Gainesville continues to move forward by providing bus service for its residents.
Chairwoman, Hall County Family Connection Network, Gainesville