Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts about ways to improve Georgia's transportation system. I welcome your input in this process.
As you well know, we have much to do as a state to meet our growth-related challenges of air quality and traffic congestion. Higher gas prices have changed the economics of commuting in favor of new alternatives. As we did in education, we will transform the way we look at transportation from counting how much money we spend to an outcomes-based investment strategy to ensure we create a 21st century transportation network throughout the state.
For this reason, I'm proud to announce Investing in Tomorrow's Transportation Today (IT3). IT3 is designed to bring the Department of Transportation (DOT), Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA), the General Assembly, local partners and the executive branch together to formulate strategies that will improve transportation infrastructure throughout the state.
Among these strategies is a plan to extend the commuter rail from Lovejoy to Griffin. After looking at the operational costs that I've seen, it makes sense to go all the way to Griffin using this pilot program. We are currently working diligently with local governments and environmental agencies to secure permits and their participation. The success of the GRTA Xpress Bus has been an indicator that suburban-to-metro transit is plausible. I believe with standing room only on buses and gas at four dollars a gallon, we need more transportation options. This proposed commuter rail, as well as the addition of more Xpress buses, would alleviate some of the traffic problems that have been problematic for years.
GRTA and DOT are the state agencies spearheading our efforts to develop transportation alternatives forGeorgia. Therefore, I encourage you to voice your concerns with Richard Anderson, GRTA's Executive Director, and Dr. Gena Evans, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation. You may also contact their offices directly:
Georgia Regional Transportation Authority
245 Peachtree Center Avenue, NE, Suite 900
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
Georgia Department of Transportation
600 West Peachtree Street, Suite 2210
Atlanta, Georgia 30306
Additionally, you may also wish to contact your state elected officials. The members of the General Assembly in your district can actually sponsor or vote on legislation on your behalf. Should you need their contact information, it is available from your county board of voter registration.