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.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Georgia Intermodal Leadership Summit

On October 22, BikeAthens Board members Anna Gore, Tracie Sanchez, and Amy Johnson attended the Georgia Intermodal Leadership Summit in Macon on a Friday. This Summit was coordinated by the Georgians for Passenger Rail, a statewide group focused on implementing and further developing existing passenger rail plans for our entire state. Topics of special note were:

  • US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood emphasized in his speech to a room full of state legislators "Georgia better get its act together" (feds won't give funding without local matched commitments)
  • HB277 (T-SPLOST) will likely generate $714 Million its first year
  • T-SPLOST is necessary to fulfill funding losses from people driving less and paying less in gas tax, and it's multi-modal!!
  • Focus is on alternate funding ideas and HB277 is a certainly a start; Dubose Porter insisted the 4th penny sales tax is the way to take existing money and reallocate it to transportation funding and to show the feds we have a plan!
  • Richard Mendoza, Atlanta Public Works Commissioner (like our David Clark) said priorities should be on fixing existing infrastructure and diversifying mode investment (yeah to bike/ped!!) He referenced bikes and the recent Streets Alive event in Atlanta that attracted over 5,000 folks for cicolovia afternoon festival.
  • Athens Multi-Modal Transportation Center (future passenger rail terminal) got a shout out from Dubose Porter for being ready to go!
  • GA road systems are excellent, but we've passed up huge federal funding for passenger rail and other modalities
  • If we get passenger rail, the Macon - Atlanta line will likely be first recipient and is a perfect first project because the Ford plant closure has left the line much freer from former heavy freight use so its a perfect time to put passengers on the line.
  • NC passenger rail story is a huge success and the result of decades of vision
  • Major economic development benefits from passenger rail investment referenced
  • Kudos to existing infrastructure which positions us best when applying for federal funding (including Athens Multi-Modal Center)
  • The intermodal family of Georgia also includes sea & air and referenced the support for the plan to deepen Savannah's port 47 feet to accommodate freight once the Panama Canal opens and is deemed as a huge coup for the state if Georgia is ready; also of note is 90% of Georgians are now 2 hours from an airport according to Carol Comer, DOT Aviation Program Mgr
  • Regional commissions will need to collaborate with other regions along rail corridors
  • Strategies for making it happen: POLITICAL WILL, LEADERSHIP, and COLLABORATION

Let us know your thoughts on the Discussion listserv (, and we'll pass that on to these state leaders. We will be meeting with the Board of Georgians for Passenger Rail again soon.

1 comment:

Nina K said...

Just added a link (to the right) to LaHood's (& U.S. DOT's) blog, Fast Lane; it's updated at least once a day usually, and chock full of info!