A year later, there is still a long way to go. "We have the mess cleaned up, the debris is cleaned up," Coggin says. "We're really just now starting to rebuild. Businesses are starting to rebuild, people are starting to rebuild their homes."
Coggin shares a laundry list of challenges that the community faces. Many people are struggling with insurance claims and the new base fl ood elevations are forcing people to rebuild. He stresses, "It's going to take a long time to rebuild but everybody's working as hard as they can. Just like us."
Part of that rebuilding is with a governor's commission for recovery that Gov. Barbour initiated immediately after the storm. With CTA heavily involved in the plan, Coggin says, "We're working with each individual community on their plans and the FTA has come up with some recovery, planning assistance money to help us do a new transit development plan. " With the help of DMJM Harris and ECOM, Coggin is optimistic about the short-range plans and long-range plans for the future.
"We've got a really good future that's got the potential to really grow the system to be much larger than we are now." Coggin says, "That is one of the things that is so great about Coast Transit right now. It's the future that looks so great."
It may have been a lot for any agency to go through, but when I first started talking to Coggin he had said he loved the challenge of the public transit business. Though weathering Katrina was more than he could have imagined, he remains optimistic. "It was a good experience for me," he says with a laugh. "I like helping people and when you're successful at it, it's a good feeling."