Thursday, June 2, 2011

Conservative activist to make case for transit on Friday. No, that's not a typo.

Posted By on Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Intowners who have always wanted to convince conservatives that transit isn't a money-gobbling, socialist-designed pipeline for TV-stealin' criminals shouldn't miss this Friday morning's Sustainable Atlanta Roundtable sponsored by Southface.

The guest of honor is William Lind, a nationally known conservative activist who co-authored "Moving Minds," an often-cited book that urges free-market Republicans should give rails and buses a chance. Green Building Chronicle's Ken Edelstein explains why Lind's message should resonate in metro Atlanta:

Whether conservatives can see their way to supporting transit is likely to be one the defining questions in the debate over a transportation sales tax that metro voters will either approve or turn down in July 2012. This summer, in preparation for that vote, a panel of elected leaders from 10 core metro counties will debate and horse-trade to come up with a list of somewhere around $8 billion worth of transportation projects that the sales tax would fund.

But — at least by reputation — many voters in DeKalb and Fulton want a healthy portion of the money to go to transit, while a lot of suburban voters want almost all the money to go to roads. That’s where a conservative argument for transit comes in. If to the extent that people like Lind — and the transit-advocating Fair Share for Transit, which is hosting Lind in Atlanta — are able to convince voters that transit isn’t a money drain dreamed up by liberals, but that it actually makes sense for everyone, a stronger case can be made to include more transit projects on the list.

Lind, whose views aren't without controversy, should make an interesting speaker. Ray Christman, executive director of the Livable Communities Coalition, will moderate the event, which starts at 7:30 a.m. at All Saints Episcopal Church in Midtown. Walk-ins are welcome, Edelstein says, but RSVPs are recommended. Ticket prices and directions to the venue are available here.

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