By Field Searcy
Ever since 1776, being independent has been a part of our national DNA. Obviously, the founders couldn’t have imagined the interconnected world in which we live in today. However, they did understand human nature and they didn’t trust it — much less did they trust centralized government authority. The greatest legacy of the founders when creating the Constitution was the decentralization of power. They believed local control would best allow citizens to be engaged in the affairs that affected them most. Distributing power provides a check and balance with the people having the final check. George Washington said, “The power under the Constitution will always be in the people.”
Indeed, technology and mobility have caused our region, our nation, and even our world to become more interconnected and interdependent. Because of these societal trends, the expected level of productivity has caused many citizens to be less engaged in the process of self-government. By being disengaged, central planners are increasingly creating the bulwarks of regional governance that is unelected and unaccountable to the people. This diminishes local autonomy and citizen control.
One way to solve broad regional public policy issues that transcend city and county borders is to have a more efficient state government. The Georgia Government Accountability Act of 2012 would have authorized a Legislative Sunset Advisory Committee to evaluate each state agency and recommend elimination or consolidation to ensure that valuable resources are best utilized and that state agencies are held accountable. This legislation was overwhelmingly passed by the Georgia House and Senate, yet it was vetoed by Governor Deal.
Included in the review would have been the multiple state agencies that oversee transportation. A revamping and consolidation of these agencies would go a long way toward increasing the efficiency of our state transportation system. Speaking of accountability, what happened to the $1 Billion of unallocated DOT funds discovered in the state audit?
Another way to solve regional transportation problems would be through House Bill 195 introduced in 2013 that would have allowed counties to create their own special district, set their own list of projects and have their own referendum.
The colonies that declared their independence had to be interdependent on each other in their battle to beat the powerful British Empire. We citizens should learn from history. We need to work together and be engaged in the process of self-government so that a few elite are not allowed to consolidate power and usurp the consent of the governed.
As we celebrate our nation’s birth, let’s resolve to protect our individual liberty and independence for another 237 years, while still working cooperatively and interdependently to solve problems of regional importance.
Field Searcy, a Cobb citizen, represents RepealRegionalism.com an education campaign by the Transportation Leadership Coalition, LLC which led the grassroots effort against the Regional Transportation Tax (TSPLOST) in 2012.
About Transportation Leadership Coalition, LLC
Transportation Leadership Coalition, LLC, is a grassroots, all-volunteer organization, created in the belief that the State of Georgia can do a much better job of transportation planning. Transportation Leadership Coalition, LLC encourages the citizens of Georgia to become involved in their local governments to avoid the trappings of appointed regional government agencies. We know that if Georgians understand the facts about mandated regionalism, they will overwhelmingly reject it.