In March of this year the SC legislature ended debate on a gas-tax hike meant to add $1.2 billion a year to the budget supposedly needed to fix SC roads and ease congestion and instead went with an alternative plan by the GOP to provide $400 million in additional funds with the reform of the state Transportation Department.
Why then is Greenville-Pickens, South Carolina, the Federal Government and ultimately the UN surging ahead with surveys and studies and plans to restructure our transportation system?
Horizon 2040, Greenville-Pickens new Long Range Transportation Plan under the auspices of GPATS (the Greenville-Pickens Area Transportation Study) is planning for the provision of regional transportation for a 777-square-mile area that’s home to more than 500,000 residents. It covers most of Greenville and Pickens counties and smaller portions of Anderson, Laurens and Spartanburg counties.
When completed, Horizon 2040 will identify improvements to be funded through the year 2040. The plan considers all travel modes, including automobiles, bicycles, pedestrians, transit and freight. It insists that it is interested in the residents concerns and offers a prepared list of categories to which residents can respond.
What is interesting is that in presentation, Horizon 2040 looks like a plan out of necessity. Yet in reality, Horizon 2040 is a federally funded program with national implications with plans for counties all across the country. South Carolina has a ten region Horizon 2040 plan for the state prepared by CDMSmith and Stantec for the SCDOT (www.scdot.org/multimodal/pdf/sc_mtp_transit_plan.pdf). Studies are funded by grants from the Federal Highway Administration, (and Federal Transit Administration) and U.S. Department of Transportation. The federal government provided a Horizon 2040 Implementation Toolkit to help states plan according to seven guiding principals as defined by Horizon 2040. Spokane, El Paso, and Yakima counties all have their Horizon 2040 plans readily available on the web.
Horizon 2040 is an outgrowth of Agenda21, and ICLEI. It is sustainable development overhauled and sold to us through Hegelian Dialectic techniques. When the plan is revealed, we will be told it is what we said we wanted. El Paso’s plan is going to cost them in the BILLIONS, and when one analyzes the requirements, if becomes obvious the plan is to drive people to city areas and once again get us on foot, bicycles and mass transit... with patches of green spread around...
The GPATS has three dedicated sources of funding for transportation projects: 1 - SCDOT Guideshare funds: directed primarily toward street and highway improvements, but also may fund intersection upgrades, sidewalks and bike lanes, and safety improvements. 2 - Transportation Enhancement funds: can ONLY be spent on twelve project categories - bicycle and pedestrian projects, transportation related historic preservation, landscaping and scenic beautification projects and environmental mitigation projects. 3 - FTA Section 5307 funds: to be used for capital projects such as the purchase of new buses, construction of passenger facilities and major maintenance projects.
Two of the sources have provisions for bicycles and sidewalks which means when you are complaining about pot-holes and rough road surfaces, you have to wait for your road problems to become a priority for it to be scheduled for repair and funding... while monies are available for bicycles.
Take the time to peruse the financial pages for GPATS: www.gpats.org/_uploads/2011/2012/GPATS-Chapter-9.pdf where the transportation entities explain why they desperately wanted the gas-tax hike. Understand the hike was not to fix your pot-hole but to further Horizon 2040’s plans to enforce their sustainable development plans on Greenville-Pickens county and all of South Carolina and the country.
Horizon 2040 has been holding city-hall style meetings throughout our area. Please consult the schedule included in this edition of The Times and plan to attend at least one or more of the remaining meetings.