Tag Archives: Rome

Georgia’s Lack of Rail Act

Jay Bookman blogs in the AJC about how Rail will come ‘when Georgia gets its act together’, talking about Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation:
In his comments, LaHood tried hard not to criticize Georgia policy makers directly. “I’m not going to pretend to tell Georgia what to do,” he said repeatedly.

But rather than criticize the lack of planning and support for high-speed rail in Georgia, he offered examples of regions elsewhere that “get it.” “The Northeast (high-speed rail) corridor has its act together,” LaHood said. “The Midwest corridor has its act together. The governors there have set aside their own egos and their own ambitions” to work together on bringing high-speed rail to those regions.

LaHood made no mention of the stark contrast to the Southeast, where our governors are too busy posturing to discuss resolution of the ongoing water wars, let alone high-speed rail.

Ain’t that the truth.

The best part is in a comment:

You see the state legislature wants to control the tax revenues from metro Atlanta so they can spend them in Hahira, Rome, Valdosta, etc., etc. Antwhere but metro Atlanta.
Ah, Atlanta! Just more important than anywhere else!

You know, if Atlanta cooperated in creating a rail plan for the entire state, such as for example the long-established rail corridor from Chattanooga through Atlanta, Macon, Tifton, Hahira, and Valdosta to Jacksonville and Orlando, we might actually get rail in Georgia. It doesn’t have to all be high speed. If I could take a regular passenger train to Atlanta, I sure would, instead of having to drive or squeeze into an ASA toothpaste tube.

By the way, Ray LaHood has a blog.

Valdosta Aeterna

vldseal.jpg A new year brings Mayor Fretti’s State of the City address for Valdosta. It was quite interesting as an exercise in transparency: he walked through what seemed like every city department, one by one, in addition to talking about overarching cost-saving measures and emphasizing that Valdosta has no debt, not even bond debt. This was all good.

I noticed that, unlike last year, there were no military personnel pointed out or even present. I guess the mayor noted that saber-rattling is not in fashion this year. He did mention some details of recent economic improvements at Moody AFB; everyone knows the importance of Moody to the local economy.

I did think it was a little over the top when the mayor included in his welcome of new and old county officials that “all roads lead to Valdosta, the county seat.” Valdosta Aeterna! Well, Valdosta, unlike Rome, may not be eternal, but bickering between the city and the county apparently is.

Also, as I mentioned to the mayor afterwards, I had hoped he would say a few words about the proposed bus system. He indicated that he had simply forgotten to do so. That’s understandable, considering all he did talk about. Next year.

If you live in Valdosta, I understand you can view the mayor’s speech on local cable for some time to come. I recommend it. The full text is on the Valdosta city web site (yay!), even though it’s in a hidden link (which I’ve dug out and linked in here) and in Microsoft Word (boo!) instead of as plain HTML.

In the regular agenda, the elephant not in the room became even more obvious by its absence. At the citizens wishing to be heard section, nobody came forward. For that matter, there were almost no citizens present other than elected officials, city employees, contractors, and press. This is a problem. The city of Valdosta is going to some lengths to be transparent and to accept citizen input. Where are the citizens?

Also, this being Valdosta, the one item on the agenda that got the most discussion time was the tennis court improvements at McKey Park. Sports rule in TitleTown!

Perhaps the new county commission chair will think about giving a State of the County talk.