I was told the other day that legislators are, in fact, working right now on transportation issues. Digging around a little more, I talked to a State Representative today who said he expects a comprehensive transportation plan to make it through the legislature “faster than a trip up the connector at 5pm on Friday.”
The approach will be regional and local — devolving transportation planning outside the DOT and out of central planning in Atlanta. In short, it’s going to be a very federalist plan letting elected people closest to the voters make decisions with voters having final say.
It all sounds intriguing, but it is also very, very early with much subject to change. The goal, however, is to come up with a comprehensive plan, have key lawmakers briefed by mid-December, get buy in from key players, and then rush it through the legislature in the first few days. Why rush?
I’m told it’s not that the House and Senate leadership are afraid of reaction to the plan. They intend to get out there aggressively to talk about it at some point. But, they are already seeing that budget and fiscal issues are going to explode and the bulk of the session is going to be spent dealing with a shaky financial picture. The necessities of transportation need to be dealt with, so they are trying to get it all done as soon as possible.
That’s probably the best approach all around.