Friday, June 13, 2008

Governor Perdue Announces IT3 Transportation Plan

Today Governor Sonny Perdue announced a new statewide transportation partnership called Investing in Tomorrow’s Transportation Today or IT3. IT3 is designed to bring the Department of Transportation, Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, the General Assembly, local partners and the executive branch together to formulate strategies that will improve transportation infrastructure throughout the state.

“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,” said Governor Sonny Perdue.

Throughout the summer and fall, the state’s transportation agencies will be working in collaboration with the General Assembly’s transportation committees and stakeholders throughout Georgia to develop a business case for transportation investment. Included will be the definition of strategic goals and policies, benchmarking with other states’ transportation successes and examination of ways to financially support outcomes.

During the press conference, Governor Perdue announced that the state will fund 28 new GRTA buses using a combination of state and federal dollars. The Xpress service has proven a successful way to provide reliable commute alternatives for residents of metropolitan Atlanta who have work destinations in the Downtown and Midtown areas of the city of Atlanta. These additions to the Xpress fleet are based on consumer demand on routes originating in Conyers, Stockbridge, Newnan, Buford, Douglasville, Canton and Snellville. These buses will serve new routes and supply more bus departure times on existing routes.

“I think with standing room only on buses and gas at four dollars a gallon, we need more transportation options, and that’s what I am committed to do by funding additional GRTA buses,” said Governor Perdue. “One bus can take up to 57 cars off the road and we understand with the addition of these new buses increased ridership will ease congestion.”

Governor Perdue also voiced his strong support for a commuter rail pilot project from Atlanta to Griffin, previously known as the Lovejoy line. The extension of the line from Lovejoy to Griffin is anticipated to improve ridership by 40 percent while only requiring a marginal increase in operating costs. GDOT will work in partnership with GRTA in executing the next steps in bringing the line to fruition.

Such steps will include obtaining commitments from local governments to partner with state in supporting operations on the Griffin line. Among the criteria for success will include providing reliable service that saves commuters time and money.

“I am fully prepared to support GDOT’s efforts on commuter rail and making the pilot a reality,” said Governor Perdue. “After looking at the operational costs that I’ve seen it makes sense to go all the way to Griffin using this pilot program.”

Governor Perdue was joined at the press conference by DOT Commissioner Gena Abraham and members of the DOT and GRTA boards.

“After nearly two decades in state government at various levels, I believe that this is the best state transportation board I have had the privilege to work with,” Governor Perdue said. “I am eager to continue working closely with them and the General Assembly in this critical effort.”

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