Doris Powell Speaks to November LWVGB Meeting
Doris Powell made her first speaking appearance as
Chair of the Birmingham-Jefferson
Transit Authority at our November 17
membership meeting. She updated us on her first two months on
the job and outlined a few of her priorities for the next year.
During her first weeks as Chair, Ms. Powell asked members of the board
to ride public transit. She wants to be certain everyone
understands that public transit is about people, not buses.
She told LWVGB members that HOV lanes, light rail, park & ride
lots and bus routes are parts of the master plan to improve
transportation in the Greater Birmingham area. Without an
overall transit plan, neighborhoods are threatened with destruction to
make way for highway construction.
In her new role, Ms. Powell’s key responsibility is the
fiscal health of the Transit Authority. Since there is no
dedicated funding source, she must lobby each of nine participating
municipalities for their support. During her first two months
on the job the Authority’s financial records were reconciled
and opened to the public. Ms. Powell told us that all bills
would be paid beginning with fiscal year 2007.
Ms. Powell faces an ongoing challenge reviewing and updating the
Transit Authority bylaws written in 1971 and the subsequent
amendments. She must research every amendment, verify that
the municipalities approved it and that each was filed
properly. Bringing counties and municipalities together will
remain at the top of her priorities. The Authority lost $3
million in matching funds in September 2005 due to the lack of regional