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GO bg Transit now offering contactless ticket payment

GO bg Transit announced a partnership between the Intel company Moovit and Token Transit that will allow riders in Bowling Green to purchase and validate tickets from their phones seamlessly and safely.

The partnership between the three entities enables riders to plan, pay and navigate through the city while using the free Moovit app.

Formerly, people had to purchase their tickets from the transit center before showing their pass to get on board. Now, riders don’t even have to walk into the center as they just have to use the app to make their ticket purchase.

GO bg Transit Manager Robert Gill said the move also saves taxpayer money.

“Our main goal is to enhance public transportation here in Bowling Green,” Gill said. “We were trying to figure out ways to enhance the community’s experience on our transits, and this is safer, quicker and more efficient.”

Gill said the center will no longer have to pay for maintenance costs due to the system being electronic. Overall, the move will help reduce the strain on GO bg’s budget.

Gill said the use of the Moovit is free while GO bg Transit is paying a “minimal percentage” to the Token Transit service.

Once a user launches the Moovit app, inputs their destination and selects their transportation route, Moovit will display the total cost of the trip, enable in-app ticket purchasing and provide a unique QR code for ticket validation.

The app will display a digital ticket and QR code that can be visually inspected or scanned at validation machines.

Gill said Moovit and Token Transit were the “cheapest and most up-to-date” options to use locally.

“Bowling Green has grown with a mixed culture recently so we also wanted people to use technology that’s used in larger cities throughout the world,” Gill said. “The Moovit app has helped 950 million users conveniently get around 3,400 cities across 112 countries since its launch in 2012.”

Moovit can be downloaded for free on iOS and Android devices.

The app provides users real-time arrival information so riders know exactly when their bus is arriving, a live direction feature with get off alerts to provide guidance for the entire journey and service alerts to avoid disruptions.

“With seamless integration of mobile ticketing and payment providers, users no longer need to search pockets for change or stand in line to top up monthly transit passes,” Yovav Meydad, Moovit’s chief growth and marketing officer, said in a news release. “We are excited to partner with Token Transit and GO bg Transit to offer Bowling Green riders a convenient, efficient and safer way to pay for transit.”

– Follow reporter John Reecer on Twitter @JReecerBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.

Woodburn area grades best on I-65 interchange study

No asphalt or concrete is going to be laid for years, if at all, but it appears from a consultant’s research that a site at the Ky. 240 overpass near Woodburn could be the preferred choice for a new southern Warren County interchange on Interstate 65.

In an online presentation Tuesday, representatives of the Michael Baker International consulting firm said the two options for placing the interchange at the existing Ky. 240 overpass score the highest in MBI’s “decision matrix” that takes into account connectivity, safety, environmental impact and cost.

That overpass is one of three sites being studied by MBI, which was hired by the Bowling Green-Warren County Metropolitan Planning Organization, with the others being the Carter Sims Road area near Plano and Ky. 242, or Rich Pond Road.

In the second and final online public meeting held as part of the study, MBI staffers Patty Dunaway and Karen Mohammadi presented to more than 100 online participants findings that showed two options for an interchange at Ky. 240 scoring the highest on their matrix.

Ranking the highest, with a score of 72.1, is an interchange that would utilize and improve the existing overpass while extending to Ky. 622 (Plano Road) and including a new connection to U.S. 31-W (Nashville Road).

A second Ky. 240 option, which didn’t include the new connection to Nashville Road, earned the second-highest score at 70.5.

The highest-scoring of four options studied in the Ky. 242 overpass area, with a score of 65.6, would be located north or south of the existing overpass. It would extend to Ky. 622 and include a new connection to Nashville Road.

Scoring worst were two options for the Carter Sims Road area, both of which would place a new interchange south of the existing overpass and connect to Ky. 622 near Plano Elementary School. The highest of the two scored 56.3.

“An interchange at the existing (Carter Sims) overpass is not feasible,” Mohammadi said.

The results of the scoring matrix were similar to those of an online survey conducted during the meeting.

Responding to a question about which of the three possible locations would be preferred, 45% of those joining the online meeting picked Ky. 240 while 35% selected Ky. 242. Only 9% preferred Carter Sims Road, and 11% said they would prefer no new interchange be built.

Some online commenters expressed their preference for the “no-build” option.

“Why are you aiming to build so close to two existing exits?” posted Ingrid Cartwright, who lives in the Plano area. “This doesn’t seem to be in the interest or need of the community. Most of us really want our area preserved as semi-rural.”

Responding to questions about the need for a new interchange, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 3 Chief Engineer Joe Plunk pointed out that the 14-mile gap between exit 20 in Warren County and exit 6 in Simpson County is one of the largest between the Tennessee state line and Louisville.

Jeff Moore, a planner with MBI, said this second phase of the study will take the three options and narrow it down to one.

After that, the question will be how the project is funded.

There is no funding currently in the state’s Highway Plan for a new interchange, so Moore cautions that this is a long-term project.

“We’re just doing a feasibility study,” Moore said. “The state will have to find funding to do the preliminary engineering and design work and then construction.

“It could take eight to 12 years, depending on how high of a priority this will be.”

That would be similar to the time frame for the exit 30 interchange that opened in 2018 after more than a decade of planning and construction.

Plunk noted exit 30 was funded largely from federal dollars, with a state match.

The MBI representatives also presented some cost projections Tuesday. They show the most expensive option being a Ky. 242 interchange with a new overpass and bypass road, coming with a price tag of $49.8 million.

Least expensive, at $28.5 million, is one of the Carter Sims Road options.

The preferred Ky. 240 interchange comes with an estimated cost of $44.7 million.

Although Tuesday’s was the final public meeting on the interchange options, Moore said MBI will be taking public input through the interstate65-baker.hub. arcgis.com website until April 1.

– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.

Gunshot victim faces assault charge

A Warren County man who was shot multiple times during an incident outside his home that resulted in his father’s death faces criminal charges.

Bradley Heard, 37, of Rockfield, was served with an arrest warrant Tuesday charging him with first-degree assault.

He appeared Wednesday from the Warren County Regional Jail for arraignment before Warren District Judge John Brown, where he entered a not guilty plea, according to court records.

Heard is accused of stabbing Daniel Moore, 35, of Greensburg, with a knife Feb. 14 when Moore came to Heard’s property on Galloways Mill Road.

Kentucky State Police Detective Courtney Milam said in an arrest warrant that a witness told police Moore went to Heard’s residence and yelled for him to come outside and return a gun.

Heard came out and stabbed Moore in the left arm, and Moore then reportedly shot Heard three times, the warrant said.

During the incident, Heard’s father, Russell Heard, 74, suffered a gunshot wound to the chest and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Moore was located by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office later Feb. 14 in a Ford Ranger with his sister on Russellville Road near Interstate 165 and was taken to The Medical Center for treatment of a knife wound.

Moore was later arrested on a charge of first-degree manslaughter in Russell Heard’s death, and the case has been forwarded to a grand jury.

At a preliminary hearing held for Moore last month in Warren District Court, Milam testified that a witness told police that he saw Moore pull out a gun and hold it in front of his waist while walking toward Russell Heard’s house.

Russell Heard reportedly attempted to get his son out of the house to resolve the issue, but at some point a verbal argument ensued between Moore and Russell Heard.

Bradley Heard then emerged from the residence.

Moore told KSP in a later interview that Bradley Heard was armed with two knives.

“Bradley came out of the residence charging at (Moore) with a knife in each hand,” Milam said at last month’s preliminary hearing. “(Moore) said he fired a warning shot toward the ground to deter him, but Bradley kept advancing with those knives so he shot Bradley three times.”

Bradley Heard was hospitalized in critical condition for several days.

Moore claimed in a police interview that Russell Heard was alive when he left the property, but witnesses reported that Moore had intentionally shot him, Milam testified.

Bradley Heard remains in Warren County Regional Jail under a $100,000 cash bond. Moore is jailed under a $50,000 cash bond.

– Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.

WKU names new provost

Filling a vacancy to replace Western Kentucky University’s acting provost, who is retiring, the university named Robert “Bud” Fischer Jr. as its next provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Fischer, the current dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, will replace Cheryl Stevens, who has served as WKU’s top academic officer since April 2019. Stevens will step down as acting provost June 30 and retire at the end of the fall semester.

“Dr. Fischer has a record of success in elevating the universities where he has held leadership positions,” WKU President Timothy Caboni said in a news release announcing the hire. “His experience with applied learning, improvements in retention and graduation rates and familiarity with growing sponsored research all are relevant to continuing WKU’s climb to greater heights as we implement our strategic plan.”

Before joining MTSU in 2012, Fischer chaired the Department of Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and was associate chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Eastern Illinois University as a tenured professor.

Fischer holds a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of South Carolina, a master’s degree in environmental biology from State University College at Buffalo and a bachelor’s degree in ecology from State University College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, N.Y.

In his role at WKU, he will also be a fully tenured professor, according to a WKU news release.

Julie Shadoan, a professor in WKU’s Political Science Department, chairs the university’s Faculty Senate and served on the search committee to find Stevens’ replacement.

“I am excited to welcome Dr. Fischer to WKU,” Shadoan wrote in an email to the Daily News. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in academic leadership to WKU. More importantly, he brings a commitment to the academic mission of the institution and to the support of faculty and staff who further that mission. Dr. Fisher articulated a unique understanding and respect for the shared governance process, and I believe he will be a strong partner for faculty in moving WKU forward – out of pandemic mode and beyond.”

Fischer said in a statement that he views WKU as a good professional fit because it embodies student success, a long-held value he’s sought to promote in his career.

“This is a special place that provides tremendous opportunities to change the lives of students and entire communities through education, research, innovation and service,” he said. “During my interviews and visit, I learned about WKU’s strong commitment to its students and to student success. These are the same values that I have focused on throughout my career and I look forward to working with my new colleagues to build on that foundation and engage in the innovative thinking and strategic development that will help define the future of this amazing institution.

“My career speaks volumes about the transformational impact of higher education,” he said. “I’ve been privileged to mature from a first-generation college student to a professor of biology and a university administrator, and I look forward to working with the WKU community to continue providing similar, life-transforming opportunities to WKU students.”

– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @NewsByAaron or visit bgdailynews.com.