Points To Consider …
“Does the Public Have Any Say About the Location and Building of Roads, Bridges, Transit Systems and Airports? (The American Road and Transportation Builders Association FAQ website)
“The review and approval process for all transportation projects includes multiple opportunities for the public to submit comments to a variety of federal and state transportation and environmental agencies. These public agencies must then respond to these comments before proceeding with the project.”
The quotation above is pretty perfunctory. That about describes the “public input” meetings, as well.
The Douglas Adams’ book Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy comes to mind when pondering what “citizen input” is allowed: “As you will no doubt be aware, the plans for development of the outlying regions of the Galaxy require the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system, and regrettably your planet is one of those scheduled for demolition…There’s no point in acting all surprised about it. All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display in your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for fifty of your Earth years, so you’ve had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and it’s far too late to start making a fuss about it now.” (p. 31)
Having been to public meetings about transit, they seem to me to be generally choreographed by the highway/construction/public officials. There is a presentation and sometimes a question and answer period. Also snacks. But what actually becomes of the citizen input? In my experience, it is ignored. A determination of the project has already been made by the officials and meetings (in this case one scheduled meeting with the particular neighborhood) are pro forma.
Will these citizens be listened to when they say they are satisfied with their bus service? Will their property be respected if a train is built 22 feet away? Will they have a say in their quality of life? I think we should look at the track (unintended pun) record. For example, remember what happened to properties around the Minnehaha Park area.
This is a significant issue: whether the public has a genuine voice in transportation decisions or whether the democratic mechanism of public meetings is a sham.
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