We can look forward to a #Better22. We have a couple of missions to undertake that will help defined us. We will start meeting in public, maybe once a quarter or once a month – COVID willing. Seriously the latest outbreak may be the last. I know famous last words.
We will look at asking for membership dues, monthly or annually, to help us campaign for dedicated funding for Ozark Regional Transit Authority. And merchandise sales too. By the way, if anyone wants to help with setting up merchandise let me know in the comments section below. We will want coffee mugs, tee shirts, hats, and hoodies.
As stated above, we will start to work on passing a local sales tax, 1/4 cent, to give ORTA dedicated funding. As I have stated before, this funding will serve as a platform for the grants, low interest loans, and other forms of income. I hope to advance our agenda of getting some battery electric buses in service soon too.
We still need to ask our US Senators to vote for Build Back Better. Calling their offices or sending an email will put pressure on John Boozman and Tom Cotton. I know this from seasoned political operatives. They need to hear from our community. Since you are talking to their staff keep it simple and just say you want them to vote for #BBB. Senator Boozman especially feels the heat now. His approval ratings are so low he can’t reasonably expect to win. I hope he is looking a way out.
We also need to get our Governor to contact the Federal Railroad Administration with a “Big Picture” rail plan. To accomplish this we are using the Chain of Command, we are going through our mayors to the Governor.
Here is a sample message to our mayors. “Arkansas is losing population in 71 out of 75 counties. This is an economic disaster. Think about what happened to Detroit Michigan, now spread over a whole state. In the USA we have inflation due lack of infrastructure development. Our railroads move the majority of our goods from only a few sea ports on the West Coast at an average speed of 14 MPH. Arkansas can benefit from passenger rail service. To prepare for passenger rail and aid our country to efficiently move goods across the country, Arkansas needs a big picture rail plan. Higher speed rail up to 90 or 110 MPH will make passenger rail service and freight service more profitable, reduce carbon pollution, and create thousands of high paying jobs in Arkansas. The construction needed to create higher speed rail will demand skilled workers making from $60K to over $100K a year spread across the state. The construction alone will rebuild Arkansas crumbling economy. Add more business opportunities and Arkansas will have an economic renaissance. Please contact the Governor and ask that he deliver a Big Picture Rail Plan to the US Department of Transportation to get this started.” Thank your mayor and close the communication.
So as you can see we have many opportunities to move the ball down the field in 2022. Enjoy the New Year celebration and then let’s get ready to do some serious work this next year.