Regional meeting addresses transport

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Selma Times-Journal

If Selma and Dallas County are to grow, improvements must be made in roads, waterways, rails and airports in the Alabama Black Belt.

About 50 people gathered at the Selma Performing Arts Center to discuss those needs Wednesday with representatives from the Delta Regional Authority.

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“This is certainly one of the true regional efforts – to improve transportation,” said Mayor James Perkins Jr. “As goes economic development, so goes Selma.”

Congress established the authority in 2000 as a federal-state partnership to remedy the chronic economic problems across 240 counties in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi Missouri and Tennessee.

Transportation is a priority issue, said William Triplett, senior advisor for the authority, which is based in Clarksdale, Miss.

Triplett said the authority is focused on transportation options to increase economic development that will provide businesses and manufacturers with shipping options.

The authority will take the information, make recommendations and send them to Congress in July.

Then, the authority will develop a 20-year plan, looking to the federal government for funding that will pass through the authority and into its member region.

The final report should be finished in a year.

But, said Triplett, implementation of the recommendations may take many years.