The Transit Governance Task Force met on October 27th to continue panel discussions on the development of a transit governance entity in the state of Georgia. Three panel discussions were held with the first panel consisting of mayors from the metro Atlanta region including City of Roswell Mayor Jere Wood, City of Chamblee Mayor Eric Clarkson, and City of Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews. They discussed the importance of including local governments in the transit governance entity as they will be the primary stakeholders. The second panel consisted of members of the economic development community including Dave Williams, Vice President of Transportation at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce; Kay Pippin, President of the Henry County Chamber of Commerce; Nick Masino, Vice President or Economic Development at the Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce; and lobbyist Louie Hunter. Their discussion focused on the importance of transit as it relates to the business community. Each member of the panel used examples from their counties to describe the impact congestion has on not only bringing new businesses to the region, but also in keeping businesses that are already in the region here. They stressed the importance of creating predictability in commute times. The third panel consisted of county commission chairmen from around the metro Atlanta region including Fayette County Commission Chairman Herb Frady, CEO of DeKalb County Burrell Ellis, and Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee. The chairmen further echoed the advice given by the mayors insisting the importance of involving local elected officials in a decision-making capacity when the transit governance entity is created. CEO Ellis stressed the importance of creating an equitable structure that is proportionate to the population of each county and city involved in the process. Chairman Lee also discussed looking at transit governance as if it is 30 years from now in order to prepare the region for future challenges.
The co-chairs of the Transit Governance Task Force are Senator Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga) and Representative Donna Sheldon (R-Dacula). The remaining members of the Task Force include Senator Butch Miller (R-Gainesville), Senator Ron Ramsey (D-Decatur), Representative Ed Lindsey (R-Atlanta), Representative Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain), MARTA Oversight Committee Chair Representative Mike Jacobs (R-DeKalb), Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Riverdale Mayor Evelyn-Wynn Dixon, and Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker, Gwinnett County Chair Charoltte Nash, Douglas County Chairman Tom Worthan and Rockdale County Chairman Richard Oden.