Bell appointed to national transportation committee

Clayton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Eldrin Bell has taken a position with a national group that will put him in a position to help shape federal transportation policies that affect local governments, the county commission announced earlier this week. National Association of Counties (NACo) President Lenny Eliason appointed Bell last month to one of five vice-chairperson positions on the group’s Transportation Steering Committee.

Benton County, Wash., Commissioner Leo Bowman was appointed to serve as the committee’s chairman.

The 114-member Transportation Steering Committee deals with comprehensive transportation planning, rights of way, highway finance and safety, public transit development and finance, airport development, railroads, waterways, and research and development of new modes of transportation, according to a Clayton County Board of Commissioners news release.

“I consider it a high honor to be appointed as vice chairman of the Transportation Steering Committee,” Bell said, in a written statement. “It is very important to the recovery of our economy and to the quality of life in our communities’ nation-wide that we speak as one voice before our Congressional representatives and our President. I feel that NACo is the best platform in which to launch our unified message.”

Bell, who has been Clayton’s commission chairman since Jan. 1, 2005, is a long-time proponent of mass transit on the Southside, particularly advocating for local bus service in Clayton County, and a proposed Atlanta-to-Macon commuter rail line that has been in the planning stages for several years.

He is currently sitting on an Atlanta Regional Commission roundtable tasked with approving a project list for next year’s regional transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) vote. He has been one of the leaders fighting to get an Atlanta-to-Griffin commuter rail line, seen as a first step towards the longer Atlanta-to-Macon line, added to that project list.

“As vice-chairman of the steering committee, [I] trust that we [the committee] will take every opportunity to partner with other organizations on both a local, and national level to help further communicate our transportation issues,” Bell said, in his written statement.