Ground continues to swallow MATA headquarters

Ground continues to swallow MATA headquarters
Published: Jul. 30, 2015 at 9:40 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 30, 2015 at 10:29 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) is sinking. The headquarters were built atop an old landfill in 1980, which could now be considered a "money pit."

The ground has slowly been swallowing up MATA's main administrative and operations facility for decades.

"You know, over a period of time, the land keeps sinking," said Ron Garrison, MATA's general manager and president.

One doesn't have to look too closely to find damage from the years of settling, including huge crevices underneath buildings that created a host of secondary issues.

"We lose our water. We have problems with sewage. Our phones go out," Garrison added.

Plumbing repairs are already underway and steps are being added to one building because of a sunken entryway.

"I'm not saying it's not safe, but there are increasing issues we have to work through," said Garrison, who came aboard in the midst of MATA's trolley realignment following a series of fires.

He says temporary fixes, including structural support for the sinking main campus, costs up to $1 million per year. A permanent solution through relocation could add up to at least $60 million.

"If we did a phased approach, it would cost more," Garrison explained. "Probably close to $85 million."

MATA officials believe it will be years before funding from federal and local governments come through.

Meanwhile, they hope temporary measures continue to perform.

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