Thinking Aloud: County residents should decide on roads

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 9, 2007

&8220;I always voted at my party’s call, and I never thought of thinking for myself at all.&8221;

&045;&045;Sir William Schwenck Gilbert

A bill in the Alabama legislature, introduced by State Sen. &8220;Jabo&8221; Waggoner would provide Shelby County voters the chance to vote yes or no on how to pay for road improvements in the county.

The bill, supported by members of The Partnership, a private and public consortium organized by the Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce, would give local folks the chance to say how or if they would like to address problems like crowded roads, dangerous intersections and the like.

Anyone vaguely familiar with the legislative process knows working a bill from introduction to passage and ultimately helping it find its way to the governor&8217;s desk for his endorsement is in no way a small accomplishment; some might even call it a minor miracle each time such occurs.

The first hurdle a bill must clear is to garner 100 percent support from local legislators; the bill in question appears to have support of all but one such elected official.

That lone senator, Hank Erwin, is now requiring that a petition be signed in order for him to allow the bill to move forward.

The petition can be found by contacting the Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce at 205.663.4542. The only requirements to signing the petition are that the signer be 18 years of age or older and a resident of Shelby County.

Make no mistake, I have no doubt thousands of individuals will sign the petition asking for the opportunity to have their voice heard on the critical issue of how to address our community&8217;s ever growing traffic conundrum.

But I do take issue with the need for such an exercise; a democracy or more aptly said, the voice of the people, should not be dictated by one lone elected official in any representative body. But, I plan to sign the petition just the same and hope that you will also.

People in Shelby County should be allowed the opportunity to decide for themselves if fixing transportation in our county is something worth supporting; by signing the petition one lets it be known that we demand the chance to do so.

People who cast votes don&8217;t really decide elections; those that don&8217;t do. And the same holds true with this petition