Lawton’s Census Week: The impact on transportation

Lawton’s Census Week: The impact on transportation
Lawton's Area Transit System, or LATS, averages about 13,000 trips a year and they rely heavily on federal funding. In fact, 75% of their budget comes from it. As the deadline to complete the 2020 Census approaches, its up to you to help public transportation continue. (Source: KSWO)

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - You may not use it, but someone you know might. Lawton’s Area Transit System, or LATS, averages about 13,000 trips a year and they rely heavily on federal funding. In fact, 75% of their budget comes from it. As the deadline to complete the 2020 Census approaches, its up to you to help public transportation continue.

“If we were to lose the classification as small/urban, our system would be drastically cut unless the city would put up those funds,” said Ryan Landers, the General Manager for LATS.

LATS receives about 1.5 million federal dollars a year to cover their basic operations. If they lose that funding, either the City of Lawton would have to come up with that money, or the program could end all together.

“Right now, if we didn’t have public transit, you’d have a lot of low income people that wouldn’t be able to get to their jobs, their medical appointments,” Landers said.

In addition to the fate of public transit, the Census could have a big impact on the future of roads across Lawton.

“Where the Census comes in, that gives us another avenue of revenue through federal and state grant funding through the Federal Highway Administration or ODOT.”

That federal funding was recently put to work on several major projects including 67th Street, 38th Street, and even Flowermound Road.

“Infrastructure replacement and repair, being so expensive, we rely on that federal and state grant funding to complete those projects,” said Larry Wolcott, the Public Works Director for the City of Lawton. “We just cannot do it with locally funded revenue only.”

That’s where you come in. A quick five minutes to complete the Census can help restore Lawton’s infrastructure for years to come.

“When you’re out on your morning commute and you think, this road needs to be repaired or this bridge needs to be replaced, one easy way for you to help us accomplish that is by filling out your Census,” said Wolcott.

To fill out the Census, visit 2020census.gov.

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