BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Plans to expand SporTran bus service into South Bossier are on hold after Mayor Tommy Chandler released a statement late Tuesday expressing surprise about the move, saying the city was not looped in.

SporTran announced Tuesday morning in a Facebook post that new public transportation routes would begin on January 3 in South Bossier.

“Yesterday’s announcement by SporTran of the approval of a new bus route in South Bossier came as a surprise to myself and my administration,” Chandler said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. “We were not provided with any proposal for the approval of the route. Neither my administration nor the city council has approved any such new route. It is also my understanding that Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development was not consulted before SporTran placed signs along the alleged new route which includes at least one state highway.”

Chandler said under a written agreement with SporTran, Bossier City must approve new routes and expressed concern about the potential cost to taxpayers.

“While SporTran announced that bus rides will be free to riders for the next two years under a federal grant, it is unknown what this new proposed route will cost the taxpayers of Bossier City. Based on prior agreements, SportTran is already paid more than one million dollars per year by Bossier City for bus service. We have not been provided with any information regarding the cost to the city in 2022 or any future cost after the federal money expires.”

Chandler said that he is not against SportTran routes in Bossier City, noting previous collaborations to provide public transportation to citizens who live and work in the city.

“I am, however, concerned that frequent stops by buses could further congest our already busy roads.”

Mayor Chandler said SporTran was also notified that the city council, including newly elected District 1 councilman Brian Hammons, needed to be included in planning and the expansion announcement was made before Hammons was even sworn in.

SporTran responded to the mayor in a release Wednesday and committed to making the route happen.

“We were ready to move forward with a Jan. 3 launch of the new route. However, we have learned that the Bossier City Council would like to be a part of the discussion,” SporTran CEO Dinero Washington said in the release. “We are committed to working with Mayor Chandler and the City Council to make this route a reality for Bossier City residents.”

SporTran says a new release date will be announced once a plan is agreed upon by city officials.

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