Transportation List Clears Roundtable Executive Committee
Will Voters Pay Billions for More Roads to Get Moving on Transit?
Last Monday, the Executive Committee of the Regional Roundtable managed to whittle down the list of projects that the TIA will fund so that it falls within the amount of funding the tax is expected to generate. Voters will approve or disapprove a one-cent sales tax on the ballot in 2012. Although business leaders are planning to mount an aggressive campaign to get voters to support the TIA, the project list is far from inspiring.
The list is about half transit and half roads. The road projects range from the run-of-the-mill widening that Georgia DOT does regularly to the highly objectionable segment of the Northern Arc dubbed as the "Sugarloaf Parkway Extension." In addition to the fact that it's hard to get excited about $1.3 billion of road widenings, Georgia DOT has lots of other ways to fund these projects -- the gas tax for one. As anyone who has been around Metro Atlanta since the late 1990s will remember, the Northern Arc is a dragon that never gets slayed. About a fifth of the Northern Arc Dragon would be funded by the TIA, if approved, running from GA-316 to Buford Drive with a price tag of nearly $300 million.
Three transit projects will get the bulk of the transit funding, including a light rail segment that will run from Arts Center to Cumberland Mall area, with the idea that eventually it will connect all the way to Acworth. The Clifton Corridor will get some sort of rail connection from the Lindbergh Station to Emory. Finally, the Beltline will get about one-third of what was requested. MARTA will get $600 million in "state of good repair" funding.
Gwinnett gets enough for planning for a transit corridor on I-85. South DeKalb gets less than one-third of what it needs to extend the East line down I-285 to Wesley Chapel Road and gets nothing for a proposed light rail line out I-20 connecting Downtown to Stonecrest Mall. Disappointingly, no commuter rail made the list. Not even the South line to Griffin (and eventually Macon) that has left $87 million in federal money on the table for the last six years.
Roundtable Representatives are ready to hear from you that voters want more transit on this list if they are going to approve it! Watch for more info from us over the next couple of weeks, but click here to see the schedule of public hearings.
Two Factory Farming News Bits
In case you missed the AJC article last Sunday about the US Inspector General report that was very critical of Georgia's enforcement of large-scale chicken farms, about three-fourths of which do not have adequate monitoring and reporting requirements, click here.
Also last week, CNN reported that the US Government is now bailing out the chicken industry, which has suffered from lower consumer demand and higher production costs.
Sierra Club Meetings
Atlanta Inner City Outings (ICO), Tuesday, August 23rd, 7:30 p.m., Allison Williams, email@example.com
Fundraising Committee, Wednesday, August 24th, 7:00 p.m., Erin Wetty - Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
Smart Energy Team Meeting, Monday, September 12th, 6:30 p.m. refreshments, 7:00 p.m. start, Mike Walls - Chair, email@example.com
Beyond Factory Farming, Tuesday, September 13th, 7:30 p.m., Leah Garces - Chair, Leah.Garces@ciwf.org.uk
Wildlands and Wildlife Committee Meeting, Tuesday, September 20th, 7:00 p.m., Mike Murdock - Chair, firstname.lastname@example.orgRAIL Committee Meeting, Monday, September 26th, 7:00 p.m., David Emory - Chair, email@example.com
Georgia Chapter Retreat - September 30th-October 2nd
Sierra Club Executive Director Mike Brune is coming to Georgia! The Georgia Chapter Retreat will be September 30th-October 2nd on Jekyll Island and will include dolphin watching, riding bikes, fishing, kayaking, and learning more about how you can help the Georgia Chapter enjoy, explore, and protect the planet. Click here for more information and registration.
We are looking for items for our Silent Auction! Anything handmade, a weekend at your cabin, a home energy audit, Falcons tickets, etc., would be most appreciated! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to donate.
Sierra Club 101 - September 10th
You're on our mailing list because you care about the environment and want help -- now what? Sierra Club 101! Come learn about the Sierra Club and how to get involved in our local efforts. Open to members and non-members alike -- bring a friend! Breakfast and coffee provided. September 10th, 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Register online by clicking here.
City of Atlanta Transportation Investment Act Public Hearing - September 15th
Atlantans will have an opportunity to make their voice heard on the project list adopted by the Executive Committee of the Regional Roundtable at City Hall in the Council Chambers from 6:00-9:00 p.m. See article above for more details. For the rest of the public input meeting schedule, please click here.
Cobb EMC Member Meeting - September 17th
After three years of litigation and no board elections, the dates have been set! Cobb EMC members will gather at Piedmont Church in Northeast Cobb at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday, September 17th to decide whether mail-in ballots will be allowed for the elections that will be held on November 12th, February 18th, and May 12th. To get involved, contact Sierra Club Cobb EMC leader Don Dressel.
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