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Cornelius News

Mayor revives citizen-driven Transportation Advisory Board

​Dec. 7. ​By Dave Vieser​. ​In one of his first official acts, Cornelius Mayor Woody Washam has revived the town’s Transportation Advisory Board (TAB), which has been dormant since February, 2013. The Board is one of 17 standing advisory committees​whose members are directly appoint​ed by the mayor.

The TAB was originally formed in 2008 but was put on an “as needed” basis during the Rinker administration and never met under Mayor Travis. Washam made the announcement at his first Town Board meeting​this week.

KURT NAAS

WOODY WASHAM

“If I was to ask anyone in this room what our top priority in Cornelius would be, you’re going to tell me transportation​,​” Washam said. “I think we need a board that will hone in on that issue, study it and give us feedback.”

In some respects, the original TAB was ahead of its time. For example, in 2008, the committee recommended that the speed limit for the entire length of Jetton Road be set at 35 mph. “As it is now, the higher speed limit is on the east end where the park and firehouse are and that makes no sense at all​,​” said several members.

The town board did eventually establish a 35 mph speed limit​ out of safety concerns.

However, the​ big​ issue which may​ have detoured the committee into​ a state of​ limbo was the I-77 toll lanes. Sentiments in Town Hall at that time favored the plan for tolls and toll-fighter Kurt Naas, who is now a commissioner, was a member of the TAB.​ Naas enraged at least one elected official back in 2013 when he criticized the 50-year agreement for toll lanes between Charlotte and Lake Norman.

Washam said the commissioners will be discussing the revivitalized board’s structure at their Jan​uary planning
retreat​, typically held at Reynolda House in Winston-Salem every year.​ “We’re going to need to do some work on the TAB in terms of clearly establishing its goals. However I served on the committee in the past and it’s a good committee if they know their mission,” the new mayor said.

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