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Transit board solicits support for plan

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

The Transportation Planning Board will present a 30-year vision of public transportation on Thursday night at Southern Regional Medical Center.

The open house and public-input session is the last of nine, as the TPB has touted its "big vision" and "bold action plan" around the metro area, and pleads for business, civic and official participation.

"We need everybody to learn as much about the plan as possible and become advocates for action on this concept for regional transit," said Eldrin Bell, TPB Board chairman and chairman of the Clayton County Board of Commissioners.

The plan, called "Concept Plan 3," calls for a region-wide network of alternative transportation.

In Clayton County, the plan would involve the development of a commuter rail line from north to south, as well as north-south arterial rapid bus lines and an expressway bus line. The plan also calls for four regional suburban bus lines, running east-to-west.

Elsewhere, in the metro area, the plan calls for a heavy rail line and streetcars.

Cheryl King, TPB executive director, said the plan focuses on alternate forms of transportation, and should be understood as the responses to a crisis of congestion and gridlock.

"A lot of times," she said, "people just don't know what can be done to solve our problems. They say, 'I wish somebody would do something about that.' We're saying, 'Come and be a part of it.'"

The TPB has been working on the plan since 2006 and will offer it up to the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, and the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority by the end of this year.

According to Michael Halicki, a consultant for TPB, now is the time to get involved in the final stages of developing the 30-year plan.

"If people want to have an impact and shape this plan," Halicki said, "attending this meeting certainly makes a lot of sense."

The meeting will be held in the Southern Regional Medical Center's Educational Room, 11 Upper Riverdale Road, in Riverdale. The open house will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the presentation starting at 6:30 p.m.

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One the web:

www.tpb.ga.gov