Transportation Funding Update
Thanks to everyone who submitted comments on the draft criteria for projects that would be funded by the additional penny sales tax Georgians will vote on in August 2012 (Footnotes Issue 26)!
In recent weeks, the state released a revised version of the criteria in response to feedback received from both local officials and interested citizens around the state. There was some improvement; the proposed transit criteria are now more flexible, and it appears that key proposals such as the Beltline, the Lovejoy commuter rail line, and light rail connecting the MARTA system to Cobb or Gwinnett Counties will all be eligible. The state is holding firm, however, on its recommendation that roads be favored over transit in its suggested distribution of sales tax revenues.
The good news is that local officials, not the state, have the final say over the funding criteria and, ultimately, the list of projects that will be submitted to voters in 2012. These panels of officials, called "roundtables," are preparing to hold their official kickoff meetings this month, at which they will formally adopt the funding criteria, making changes to the state's proposal as they see fit. At an informal meeting of the Atlanta roundtable in November, officials discussed the possiblity of downplaying or even completely discarding the suggested allocation ranges, a potentially promising sign that local representatives do not intend to be bound by the state's road-heavy recommendations.
Advocates for a sustainable transportation future must remain vigilant, however, as the project selection process kicks into high gear. Project lists must be finalized by October 2011, so the coming months will be critical. Supporters are encouraged to follow the progress in their region and lobby their officials for a pro-transit outcome.
The roundtable meetings are open to the public; the first meeting of the Atlanta panel will be December 17th at 9:30am at the Atlanta Regional Commission offices, and meeting information and agendas for all 12 regions can be found here.
Happy 40th birthday, EPA! Click on the cake to see 40 things that EPA has done for us over the years.
Sierra Club Meetings
Wildlands & Wildlife Committee Meeting, Tuesday, December 21st, 7:00p.m., Phil Zinsmeister - Chair, email@example.com
Fundraising Committee, Thursday December 16th, 7:00p.m., Erin Wetty - Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
Plant Washington Hearing on Water Permits -- December 7th
Georgia EPD will be holding a public hearing on the water permits for Plant Washington after a judge sent the original permits back for EPD to fix. Plant Washington is proposing to use up to 16 million gallons a day from the Oconee River, which will be piped 30 miles to the plant, which is a large interbasin transfer. Click here to send your comments or contact email@example.com for information about attending.
Atlanta Streetcar Public Hearings
Mayor Kasim Reed secured $47 million in federal funding for a streetcar that will connect the MLK historic site with Centennial Olympic Park. Learn more about the project and share your opinions and ideas. The North/South Alignment hearing is Thursday, December 9th at Redeemer Lutheran Church, the East/West Alignment hearing is Monday, December 13th at Auburn Avenue Research Library. Both are from 5-7pm.
Help the Georgia Chapter Sponsor Recycle Runway at Hartsfield Jackson!
Recycle Runway Collection will be on display at Terminal E of the Atlanta Airport in 2011! Nancy Judd designs high end clothing made from recycled aluminum cans, glass, junk mail and even newspapers! The display will be seen by over 13.5 million people and will provide great visibility for the Georgia Chapter.
Will you help us become a $500 sponsor by donating today?
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