Gov. Nathan Deal has appointed Riverdale Mayor Evelyn Wynn-Dixon to the Board of Directors of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority.
"I'm really excited," said Wynn-Dixon, "I'm honored to be able to represent Clayton County."
The appointment to a key transportation oversight group is the second, major transportation-related assignment for Wynn-Dixon, from Gov. Deal.
The governor first appointed her –– in an executive order in September –– to the state's Transit Governance Task Force, which also includes the following leaders: State Sens. Butch Miller (R-Gainesville) and Ron Ramsey (D-Decatur); State Reps. Ed Lindsey (R-Atlanta), Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain), and Mike Jacobs (R-DeKalb, who also is chairman of the MARTA Oversight Board); and the mayors of the City of Atlanta and the City of Johns Creek; and the county commission chairpersons of Gwinnett, Douglas and Rockdale counties.
The executive order said the Task Force will use the findings of the state's Transit Governance Study Commission to develop a legislative proposal to be introduced in the 2012 session of the General Assembly.
The executive order also said the Task Force will establish "clearly-articulated regional transit goals, vision, and mission, in order to define the purpose of the governance reform efforts, and to drive its implementation toward results for Georgia's taxpayers."
The task force is charged with creating "a decision-making structure that includes representatives from the state, and from local governments." It has the goal of designating "a state agency or authority with the responsibilities of oversight and coordination of transit services in the metro Atlanta region," and coordinating "with the Governor's Office in the development of legislation."
According to Wynn-Dixon, the dual roles will place her on bodies that oversee total budgets of more than a billion dollars, and work on strategic-planning efforts to improve the region's public transportation options.
"I didn't understand the true depth, [of my responsibility,] at first," she said, "but, I'm looking forward to seeing how to bring more jobs and business to the area, and help eliminate the gridlock on the interstates."
The governor's executive order states that more than 2 million jobs support the economy of metropolitan Atlanta, "which is a driving force in the prosperity of the state of Georgia, and an additional 2.8 million people are projected to live and work in the region during the next 30 years."
The order also says that currently, the metropolitan Atlanta region has multiple transit entities operating essentially independently, "which leads to an uncoordinated system that is confusing to transit users, falls short of achieving economies of scale and cost efficiencies ... and produces a disjointed message about the region's transit priorities."
The solution, the order says, lies in improving existing and future transit services by improving the effectiveness of commute alternatives, increasing cost efficiencies and enabling the region and the state to speak with a unified voice regarding the transit priorities in metropolitan Atlanta.
"We have one of the busiest airports in the country," said Mayor Wynn-Dixon, "We need to have seamless transportation from county to county."
She added that improvements in the transit system will decrease the numbers of cars on the interstates, and that will ultimately improve the environment, and health issues.
"This may not all be accomplished while I'm in office," Wynn-Dixon said, "but we must move forward for the future of our children."