A Publication of The League of Women Voters of Greater Birmingham

Published January 2006

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 cooperation. 

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