USA: Congressman Voices Atlanta Transportation Concerns in Harbor Maintenance Tax

Though Rep. John Lewis was instrumental in positioning Atlanta to receive the $47.6 million TIGER grant from the federal government to initiate the Atlanta Streetcar Project, he is unable to attend the kick-off. Rep. Lewis worked closely with MARTA , Central Atlanta Progress, and the city to guide the strategic positioning and submission of the grant to the federal government.

Since FY 2008, Rep. Lewis has brought in nearly $5 million in federal funds to support transportation projects in the district.

“I welcome Secretary LaHood to the 5th District,” said Rep. Lewis, “to kick-off this important project and look forward to continuing our work to improve the quality of life for citizens and businesses in the district through innovative transportation projects.

“The Atlanta Streetcar can be one piece of a comprehensive approach to transportation throughout the region, which I have advocated for a long time. The streetcar connects the Auburn Historic District to MARTA and the rest of downtown Atlanta, spreading consumer dollars more evenly and increasing the attractiveness of downtown to consumers who want to shop and businesses who want to open storefronts in bustling commercial areas. Most importantly, it can encourage people to leave their cars in garages or even at home so we can open up congested areas and ease the flow of traffic in and through downtown.

Though he cannot be present at the kick-off, Rep. Lewis will still be working on transportation issues. During the time of the kick-off, he will be participating in a joint hearing of the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, of which he is a ranking member, and the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee to discuss the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, a federal fund used to sustain the nation’s ports.

As a senior member of the committee, Rep. Lewis had the ability to invite an expert from Georgia to testify at the hearing and allow other members of Congress to hear the water transportation successes and challenges affecting Atlanta and the state. Rep. Lewis ‘s guest is James McCurry, Director of Administration of the Georgia Ports Authority. Congressman Lewis will ask the director to discuss how the federal maintenance fund could be used to help dredge navigational channels in the Savannah Harbor and how federal funds could be utilized to boost job creation through the Georgia Ports Authority.

Georgia’s deepwater ports and inland barge terminals support more than 286,476 jobs throughout the state annually and contribute $14.9 billion in income and $55.8 billion in revenue for related businesses. In total, port activity yields $2.8 billion in state and local taxes to Georgia’s economy.

Dredging Today Staff, February 6, 2012;

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