If I can. First, here, copied for you below, is an email announcement of future "webinars" for something called the American Public Works Association. APWA Well, I never heard of them. You probably haven't either. But they are putting on "webinars" for local Economic Development Committees / Commissions ( EDC) and local transportation planners (MPO, RPO, CTA, etc) . I love the "SME" one. Subject Matter Experts! Don't you wish you owned that title??
So read on and I will clue you in at the bottom of this.
FREE – “Every Day Counts - Exchange” for Local Government Transportation Managers
EDC-Exchange will be a regularly scheduled series of “dynamic webinars”. The in-person learning sessions will describe effective project development and delivery practices, tools and “market ready” technologies that local and tribal transportation agencies can readily implement into their programs. FHWA national subject matter experts (SME), in conjunction with FHWA and State DOT field office experts, will provide information and materials, and facilitate discussions designed specifically for the local/tribal transportation managers and their consultants. Five (5) video sessions are planned at this time:
The “Season Premiere” of EDC-EXCHANGE is scheduled for Thursday, December 15 2011, with subsequent events scheduled bimonthly on the 3rd Thursday of the month thru August 2012 as shown below. Each session will typically be presented from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm Eastern Standard Time. The schedule is as follows:
December 15, 2011: Welcome to the National Transportation Innovation Network and Discussion with Secretary LaHood (tentative) followed by a presentation on Construction Manager/General Contractor (CMGC)
Exchange #2 Topic: Geosynthetic Reinforced Soils (GRS) February 16, 2012
Exchange #3 Topic: Flexibility in ROW April 19, 2012
Exchange #4 Topic: In Lieu Fees / Mitigation Banking June 21, 2012
Exchange #5 Topic: Adaptive Signal Control Technologies (ASCT) August 16, 2012
What happens after each EDC-EXCHANGE presentation?
FHWA will host and manage an online “community of practice" forum, located on the EDC website at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/everydaycounts/, to field follow up questions and share additional information after the initial broadcast. After 30 days, all questions and corresponding answers will be moved to the EDC website on the specific topic/initiative’s page.
Locations and Registration
State Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) Centers will be arranging the locations and conducting registration for attendees. Persons interested in attending should contact their state LTAP Centers for location and registration information. Contact information for State LTAP Centers can be found at:
O.K. Got that? This is what is going on behind the scenes, under the radar, and making us all crazy. You have the Federal Transportation Agency director, or Fed DOT head, Ray Lahood, possibly participating in the indoctrination of local unelected boards on the subject of how to implement things you've never heard of, didn't vote for, and don't want.
Now some of this is pretty straight forward. For instance, geosynthetic soil reinforcements is not so crazy. Usually that means using recovered rubber and chopped up old pavement to reinforce the base soils of new roads....I think. Adaptive Signal Control Technologies is probably the latest thing in using optics to control traffic signals. So far I'm not upset. No idea what ROW is, so skipping that. But two things here need translation.
One of them is the topic titled "In lieu fees / Mitigation Banking. This is where the federal government is demanding bribes for building roads. If your community wants to widen a road or add a road, look out there Scout, you had better grab your wallet. Now I have no idea who figures out how much money or land banking you have to fork over to widen or add a road, but in some long ago, far away place known as America, this was not the practice. Not to be outdone, our State requires mitigation banking these days for road additions. Not sure if that is a Federal mandate, but from this "webinar" line-up, it looks like it may be. In case you don't know what that is, basically it involves setting aside land for conservation that will never be touched and remain pristine. You want to build a 5 mile road? Find the equivalent of 5 miles of land or precious resources such as water, creeks and the like. Then put it in on ice for perpetuity, never to be used by humans again for anything. Voilá! You just accomplished mitigation banking. Since the title of this "webinar" includes "In lieu fees," I assume that means if you can't come up with the land, you can buy your way out of this mandate, with taxpayer dollars of course. Cute, no?
Next up is the title, " National Transportation Innovation Network." Innovation sounds so cool, doesn't it? And who is NTIN? Another layer of bureaucracy we are paying for, no doubt. But the Federal DOT, from what I have been told, is using one third (1/3) of all transportation money on greenways and bike trails and paths / lanes. So how innovative is it to put mobility in terms of walking and biking? Hardly the fast track. I doubt this innovation involves cars that fly, though there is such a fabulous machine. (It's on my Christmas list, if anyone wants to buy me one!! Terrafugia) I think this innovation DOT speaks of is also involving electric car chargers. You know, now that we are subsidizing GM to make these little golf-carts for the highway, we have to make everyone pay for car charging stations everywhere.
Bottom line, here we have the FHWA bringing SME's to talk to EDC's and APWA's via state DOT's about NTIN. And if you can't figure that out, call your local LTAP! Got that? Good. Now we all know what we are doing. Right? Oops, I think I left out the CMGC. He's supposed to be on hand to keep you all straight. Whew.....how did we ever live without SME's and CMGC's......
You can carry on now! Just don't go too far on that Segway!