Horizon Awards

For immediate release - October 28, 2005

Lake, Marion and Sumter counties announce bus service initiative to serve Lady Lake-Villages urbanized area

LEESBURG — Officials from Lake, Marion and Sumter counties signed a tri-county transportation initiative Thursday with the intent to expand transit services to the rapidly growing Lady Lake-Villages urbanized area.

Lake-Sumter MPO Summit A contingency of representatives from Lake, Marion and Sumter counties sign a tri-county transportation initiative for the Lady Lake-Villages area. From left to right are Sumter County Transportation Coordinator Pam Taylor, Lake County Public Transportation Manager Ken Harley, Sumter County Director of Community Services Jim Sparks, Lake-Sumter MPO Board member and Sumter County Commissioner Jim Roberts, Ocala/Marion County TPO Director Greg Slay, Lake-Sumter MPO Chairman and Lake County Commissioner Debbie Stivender, and Lake-Sumter MPO Executive Director T.J. Fish.

With a population that has spiked by more than 50 percent since the 2000 U.S. Census, the three counties are recognizing the need for regional cooperation and collaboration to serve the public transportation needs of Lady Lake and The Villages.

The announcement was made at the Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) first “Regional Transportation Summit” hosted at Lake-Sumter Community College in Leesburg. The summit featured a full day of guest speakers from various agencies that are involved with planning the transportation network in Lake and Sumter counties, including the Expressway Authority, Turnpike Enterprise and Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).

The announcement of the tri-county transportation initiative is the first step in allowing Sumter County Transit the ability to serve residents in the entire Lady Lake-Villages area. Sumter County Transit currently provides bus service to a portion of The Villages.

The increased bus service in the Lady Lake-Villages urbanized area is expected to come to fruition in about a year as the Lake-Sumter MPO and the Ocala/Marion County Transportation Planning Organization will begin working on funding details and proposed routes for the planned service.

“I’m pleased the three counties are recognizing the Lady Lake and Villages area has matured to the extent that mass transit services are a community need,” said Lake-Sumter MPO Chairman and Lake County Commissioner Debbie Stivender. “This is truly a worthy public goal.”

For more information about the summit or the announcement of the tri-county transportation initiative, call the Lake–Sumter MPO office at (352) 315-0170 or log on to www.lakesumtermpo.com.

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Media Contact:
Christopher Patton
Public Information Coordinator
Office: (352) 343-9609; Cell: (352) 455-0445
cpatton@co.lake.fl.us