The strange saga of Shreveport’s SporTran bus service extension into south Bossier City continues with an apparent effort to endorse it and a mysteriously on-and-off again agenda.
On May 12, at 2:38 PM the City Council clerk’s office sent notice the agenda for its May 17 meeting was disseminated. Three minutes later, it sent another message about posting a modified agenda. An item that appeared on the second version, visible at least into May 13, would have granted Council approval to adding the route.
But into the afternoon of May 15, the site for agendas had no listing of the meeting and its modified agenda (originally here), with no explanation for its removal. Legally, an agenda must be posted at least 24 hours prior to the meeting, giving the city until 3 PM May 16 to post one or to postpone the meeting.
The missing agenda’s item appeared to mirror largely the original SporTran proposal of 12 stops along Barksdale Blvd. (Highway 71) starting at the intersection with McDonald St. and south to Parkway High School at the edge of the city limits. It differed in that it appeared to make more of an effort to send the line closer to the Brookshire Grocery Arena by going through Medical Drive, as previously counseled.
That was from the description in the resolution noted on the missing agenda, which would authorize a six-month trial run starting at the end of May and lasting until the end of November. The document suggested the city would evaluate the effort then and, as long as the service continued free for riders and without city expenses as SporTran had pledged through 2023, could opt to continue it.
Perhaps one reason why the agenda went missing was SporTran’s route map, as of mid-afternoon May 15, showed a different route. It implied that one of the southern-most legs would travel on the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway and stop at the Red River Wildlife Refuge Headquarters, and also directly pass by the Arena. This seemed to differ from the text of the missing proposed resolution.
Assuming something like the item reappears on an agenda finally made public, this shows at least some on the Council and/or Republican Mayor Tommy Chandler have put aside overblown concerns about this freebie. There seemed to be meritless worrying that the line could allow an unlikely criminal invasion to the largely-residential south Bossier City area, apparently blind to the opportunity that residents could have facilitated their travel to shopping, church-going, and the like, and the employers that did exist in the area could have access to an expanded labor pool.
Especially now apparently with an improved route, according to the vanished agenda text, it’s an even better deal for the city. It shouldn’t have taken this long – four months plus – to work the details out and to start enjoying the benefits of the gift horse.