On Monday, Representative Rob Woodall (R-GA7) delivered the keynote address at the Council For Quality Growth’s 6th Annual CID Recognition Event in Atlanta. Rep. Woodall’s remarks focused on his work on the House Committee for Transportation and Infrastructure, emphasizing how the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act will benefit Georgia, and will – hopefully – give local governments greater control over their transportation priorities.
Georgia journalist Walter Jones noted that the Act will have a positive impact throughout Georgia, highlighting Woodall’s remark regarding Georgia’s major freight corridors:
“What have we done to get I-16 ready for Panamax [and New Panamax] ships? That’s a lonely stretch of road. It doesn’t have a big voice in terms of federal transportation policy, but critically important, not just to people who live along it, but also to the entire Southeastern region. … I’m optimistic that you’re going to see a greater investment in some of these projects that might not be as glamorous as a big new bridge inside the (Atlanta) Perimeter,”
In the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Dave Williams presented Rep. Woodall’s emphasis on local control of local priorities through the Act’s block grant program:
“Maybe Washington doesn’t have all of the solutions. … Maybe we can trust folks on the local level to make more of their own decisions. … The new block grant program is going to allow you to do that.”
Other highlights from Woodall’s remarks include:
- Georgia needed a representative on the transportation committee.
- Short term extensions were hallmarks of previous legislation; there were 35 such extensions within 72 months.
- Woodall emphasized that it required an “Un-partisan” approach to achieve the first six year, long term bill in more than a decade.
- Make less work more: the new block grant program trusts local people at local levels. The block grant program gives local governments the flexibility to use funds for bike paths, improved sidewalks – any project that furthers their Agenda 21 ambitions local governments are best equipped to determine and design, as well as major projects that require more funding than a state, county, or municipality can allocate on their own.
- This trust in local governments and entities came in large part through Community Improvement Districts (CIDs).
- Woodall represents one of the most conservative district in Georgia – but that district doesn’t dismiss the need for transportation funding, as they passed their own transportation bonding initiative – and this confidence gives Woodall more credibility on the Transportation Committee since he can demonstrate how Georgians can prioritize their transportation needs for themselves.
- All United States roads are not created equally. Two of top 25 most congested interstate highways in nation are here: I-75N at I-285, and I-85 N at I-285. The current bill includes $4.5 billion over six years to reduce bottlenecks.
- This is the first transportation bill in our lifetime that includes references to self-driving cars.
- This bipartisan bill combines common sense and environmental sensitivity.
- Woodall wants to consolidate NEPA regulations into one document, which will mitigate waste through duplicative environmental reviews. He supports a pilot program of several states, hopefully including Georgia, that will see what happens when states defer to their own environmental standards rather than federal standards with the goal of turning saved time into saved money, as the current federal review process can take up to 84 months.
- The things that Congressmen like himself do to make America great won’t be on front page of the paper. But, “We will do them together, and hopefully restore trust along the way.”
- Woodall emphasized that he wants Georgia stakeholders to call him, and that his office is accessible and responsive. Call the district or reach him in Washington at 770-232-3005, or 202-225-4272.
Here’s a link to Monday’s presentation: Woodall Presentation PDF