Fort Worth Chamber Chairman Allyson Baumeister addressed City Council on September 26, offering the Chamber’s resources to facilitate community-wide discussions about funding the expansion of mass transit in Fort Worth.
“As we continue to grow exponentially on the western side of the DFW region, we must be able to move commuters to their workplaces, and visitors to our world-class attractions with a world-class system that includes ample roadways without congestion, numerous bus routes and convenient rail service.
The Chamber recognizes and appreciates the year of research and hard work that has gone into the Fort Worth Transportation Authority’s Master Plan, and its inclusion of not only expanded bus routes, but premium services such as commuter rail, rapid bus and core area shuttles.
Now as we consider how to fund and execute that plan to its fullest potential, the Fort Worth Chamber stands ready to provide leadership, consultation and facilitation of county-wide discussions with key stakeholders in the private and public sectors to build consensus around the FWTA’s Master Plan, determine crucial priorities and explore funding solutions.”
Transportation Committee Chair Stan Lynch and Chamber VP of Government Affairs Matt Geske are planning a series of meetings over the next few months with public and private sector stakeholders throughout Tarrant County to review and discuss the Fort Worth Transportation Authority’s Master Plan, hold roundtables with the North Central Texas Council of Governments and neighboring communities’ urban planners, and perhaps host a Transportation Summit to discuss specific needs and funding opportunities such as a potential federal block grant from the Trump Administration.
In a robust response to last week’s Chamber flash poll regarding transit funding and a stricter smoking ordinance, 615 respondents overwhelmingly support both.
The poll was emailed to VisionFW YPs, then to 6,248 individual Chamber members via the weekly Chamber Update e-newsletter. Links to articles providing background on the two issues were provided for context.
City looking at one-cent for transit
Non-smoking ordinance may extend to indoors
Here are the questions and responses.
- Fort Worth has to address mass transit and clean air issues if it is to complete for business with other American cities.
- I would like to see more rail mass transit like the TRE. If there could be stations in strategic places throughout the city to move into the CBD from outer areas with stops along the way, I would support public funding.
- No. Use sales tax for transit service, as done now.
- Fort Worth funding has been below that in Dallas for some time. As Ft Worth grows, the need for more transit options grows. Uber not the answer for everything.
- All of the data reflects that Fort Worth is dangerously behind in the efficiency and quality of its public transit system. I think the T does a great job with the available resources, and by making a small investment the city will be making some much needed and basic improvemens to the system.
- In spite of my personal views, I don’t think the government should force private businesses to become smoke-free.
- After moving here from a large metropolitan area, I was surprised by Fort Worth’s backwards thinking when it came to smoking. How can you be a Blue Zones city and let people smoke inside?
For the non-smoking ordinance, “there would in fact be a carve-out for hookah lounges and cigar bars whose customers are there for the sole purpose of smoking,” said Brinton Payne, co-chair of the Chamber’s Government Affairs committee.
Joel Ballew, chairman of the Chamber’s Health Care Committee, presented a recommendation that the Chamber support the proposed stricter non-smoking ordinance, which was unanimously supported by the Executive Committee.
Contact Matt Geske for further questions at 817-338-3350.