News, updates, commentary and more from BikeAthens. BikeAthens is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Athens, GA. BikeAthens promotes transportation and land-use policies that improve alternative modes of transportation, including pedestrian, cycling, and public transit options. The mission of our organization is to make alternative transportation a practical, convenient, and safe option for all citizens of Athens-Clarke County.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

An open letter to our state legislators

I just sent the following to two of Athens' legislators. I encourage you all to contact them as well. You can find your specific legislators' information here.
Dear Senator Cowsert & Representative Heard,

According to a recent AJC article, Governor Perdue said that "if the federal government sends stimulus money, the state will have projects ready to go." Simultaneously, "Georgia Transportation Commissioner Gena Evans said that the state could have $1 billion worth of projects ready to go in 180 days."

As a state employee, I am keenly aware of the budget woes we face. I am excited about the potential for postive, forward-thinking investment and job creation that this federal assistance could provide.

Our roads and bridges certainly need to be upgraded for public safety, but I am hopeful that a significant portion of this $1 billion will address our state's lagging and inadequate public transit, bicycle, and pedestrian infrastructure.

Governor Perdue has affirmed his commitment to improving Georgia's public transit, as have both of you. I hope the "ready to go" projects list incorporates mass transit projects, which can include design and construction for commuter trains and train stations, as well as the purchase and maintenance of trolleys and buses. Many citizens have already worked tirelessly to implement the long-overdue "Brain Train" from Athens to Atlanta. Federal funds could make convenient rail travel in Georgia a reality.

Likewise, our state needs to reevaluate its commitment to car-based development and car-centric road design. Family-friendly, sustainable communities include safe, networked, and accessible bicycle and pedestrian options. Increased walking and cycling opportunities will reduce traffic, improve air quality, and increase general physical activity, which, in the long run, will reduce the burden on our state's health care providers.
Cities and towns that are walkable and bikeable are widely considered to possess a high quality of life, making those communities desirable destinations for tourists and high tech industries alike.

In short, investing in public transit and other transportation choices will benefit our state in a number of important areas. Please make every effort to direct the General Assembly, the Governor and GDOT to invest in this infrastructure.
If you do decide to write, be sure to include your full name and address so they know you're a bona fide constituent.

No comments: