Speech 42 – ATM Professional Speaker Module;
Project – Keynote Address; Date 1/22/03
Audience: We have fast-forwarded a little over three
years into the future. It is Monday,
March 27th, 2006. A special
event is being held at the beautiful new Art Clarkson
Convention Center located
at the southwest corner of the intersection of Interstates 565 and 65 between
Decatur and Madison. Today is the
kickoff meeting for the newly formed Mid-Tennessee Valley Planning Commission
(MTVPC). These organizations was formed by a consortium of visionaries from
Madison, Limestone and Morgan Counties in North Alabama, and were tasked with
planning and promoting transportation and economic development while
maintaining and improving environmental concerns such as air and water quality.
Their broad mission is to improve quality of life in the region while
preserving much of the area’s history, heritage and natural beauty. The audience includes the public but also
includes a number of dignitaries form the tri-county region – mayors, city
commissions, county executives, school boards, CEOs and members of the TV,
radio and newspaper media.
following web-sites are examples of similar organizations to the one being
discussed in my speech:
http://www.atlreg.com/ Atlanta Regional
Commission (Atlanta, GA area)
http://www.brpc-al.org/ Regional Planning Commission of Greater
Birmingham (Birmingham, AL)
http://www.tmagroup.org/aboutTMA.htm TMA Group (Franklin, TN)
http://www.cmcog.state.sc.us/trans.html Central Midlands Council of Governments (Columbia SC
http://www.pagnet.org/ Pima Assoc of
Governments (Tuscon, AZ area)
http://www.alarc.org Alabama Council of
Regional Governments – similar but does not group Huntsville
and focuses more on the needy and elderly.
is an article that talks about the future Art Clarkson Arena
Speaker: (to be read by the Toastmaster, referred to
as the Master of Ceremonies)
The Keynote speaker for the kick-off meeting for the MTVPC is Mr. Joe Gillis,
the organization’s charter president. He
has been a resident of Huntsville since 1989 and
is a member of the Institute
of Transportation Engineers
serving on the Intelligent Transportation Systems Committee. Mr. Gillis has a Masters Degree in Civil
Engineering from Auburn
University and has been
employed in the public safety and transportation sectors for 17 years.
you for this opportunity to address you this morning. Mrs. Johnson, (look at him/her) thank you for
your nice introduction. I don’t know how I’m going to live up to your fine
around at specific people while talking), Governor Riley, Congressman Cramer,
mayors and other honorable government officials from the region, members of the
media, and citizens of the Mid-Tennessee Valley – I welcome you (hold arms out
in front with hands palm up) to the kickoff meeting of the Mid-Tennessee Valley
Planning Commission – also known as the MTVPC.
hope everyone had an easy time getting here and finding our meeting. There’s so much being built around this
beautiful new Art Clarkson Arena and Convention Center (look around with arms
up and apart). There’s so many people here, that I want to make sure some of you
weren’t looking for the Racking Horse convention at the new Hilton Hotel next
door and here by mistake. Thank you so
much for coming.
March 27th, 2006,
we’re here to talk about progress, a spirit of cooperation and commitment
to a better way of life the great counties of Madison, Morgan and Limestone. (point in different directions and look
around) From New
Hope to Salem, from Danville
to New Market and especially in the (make a finger triangle) Huntsville,
triangle, the Mid-Tennessee Valley Planning Commission is ready to go to work
for you. (point)
have already been a lot of things accomplished in this great region of the
state of Alabama,
but there’s still a long ways to go.
That is what we are going to talk about today.
first, for your encouragement, let’s look back at the first half of the
first decade of the 21st century.
route for the Memphis
to Atlanta Interstate has been selected through the heart of the region. The Southern Bypass segment of this road is
nearing completion from the intersection of Research Park Boulevard and I-565 to Memorial Parkway,
just north of the recently upgraded Whitesburg
Park is growing and a new
commercial and retail establishment at the southwest side is doing very
well. Downtown Huntsville
and downtown Decatur
have continued their renaissance that began in the 1990’s.
like Intergraph, AdTran, Boeing and Toyota
continue to prosper and generate jobs and opportunities. Historic areas and green space are being
preserved and bike trails are being built. There are quite a few other
accomplishments I could mention if I had the time. This is a credit to you, the
great people of the Mid-Tennessee
Mid-Tennessee Valley region is poised (hold out a hand
like I am balancing something) for greatness.
It is the goal of our organization, the MTVPC, to continue to draw on this region’s
strengths and expand on them for the good for all our great people. In the past, our efforts to accomplish good
has been a tedious task as each city and county government operated somewhat
independently and missed opportunities to work together. Now, for long range planning purposes, we have come together in unity and have
created a synergy of effort where the end result is greater than just the sum
of the individual parts.
may be asking how? How are we going to
accomplish our goals? Our mission is threefold:
1. Efficient Transportation
2. Coordinated Public Safety
3. Smart Environmental Policy
Efficient Transportation Service is very important to our
region’s growth and ability to attract quality, well-paying jobs and keep our
region’s young people from having to leave the state. Our Commission will be responsible for
creating and maintaining a long-range Transportation Plan. We will work with private investors and the
governments of the Mid-Tennessee
Valley region to see that
monies are allocated and a commitment is made to reach our goals.
plan will include items such as the completion of the Memphis-to-Atlanta
Interstate, the four-laning of ALA Highway 53 from Huntsville
to Ardmore, and
the expansion of Research Blvd
past the Toyota Plant on Pulaski Pike.
We also want to do a feasibility study for implementing light-rail
service for Huntsville
along the Holmes Ave,
Meridian Street and Pulaski Pike
corridors. This would connect key
employment centers such as downtown, UAH, Cummings
Huntsville Hospital and the Toyota Motor Plant with
neighborhoods whose residents might be likely to use public transportation.
other item to investigate, that would improve our region’s transportation
service is the addition of a low-fare airline into Huntsville International
Airport. This would
foster competition, therefore keeping costs down and increase the number of
direct flight destinations.
Coordinated Public Safety response is crucial. Intergraph’s
Computer-Aided-Dispatch and Records Management Systems will be expanded to
manage all of the regions police, sheriff, and fire departments as well as the
region’s ambulance and emergency rescue service. This capability is currently installed in Madison County, but we plan to expand the
current capabilities to all of Morgan and Limestone counties and the municipalities
within each. As our region continues to
grow, our neighborhoods and communities are not so easily divided by city
limits and county lines. There is no
reason for the resident who lives on one side of the street to have to call a
different emergency number that his or her neighbor who lives on the other side
of the street - a situation that exists
today and continues to cause confusion.
All residents of the Mid-Tennessee
Valley should have a
first-rate emergency dispatching system.
similar fashion, our region has grown to the extent to where the implementation
of a region-wide Intelligent Transportation System (also known as ITS) has
become a necessity. We are currently
looking for ways to fund and implement such an endeavor. An ITS would include traffic cameras
positioned along major thoroughfares and at major intersections to identify
areas of traffic congestion. The use of
cameras would also help identify traffic accidents and other incidents that require
the dispatch of emergency vehicles. An
ITS could also offer high-tech traffic signal management in Huntsville and
Decatur and include Overhead Message Boards along I-65, I-565 and Memorial
Parkway. ITS might also include
low-power traveler information AM radio and/or a Traveler Information 5-1-1
number that passengers could call to get information about potential traffic
delays, learn of any road closures and possible detours and get up-to-date
travel information and in times of inclimate weather. Speaking of weather, we will maintain a
close relationship with the Huntsville
office of the National Weather Service and the local television meteorologists
to make sure those in vehicles are informed of emergency weather conditions.
the next few years, we will be looking to create a complete and integrated
Public Safety and Transportation Management Center
for the Mid-Tennessee
Valley. We will probably locate this new facility
near the booming I-65 – I-565 intersection where we are gathered today. This intersection is the heart and lifeblood
of the region and it seems appropriate to locate such a center here.
Environmental Policy is a must for any region, but for a large growing region,
we must make better and more efficient use of our land. We want to preserve green space and other
historical areas within our region while not hindering growth and progress of
our communities. Our organization will
be tasked with protecting and promoting our historical areas like Mooresville,
Chase and Normal, also key downtown areas of Huntsville, Decatur,
Hartselle and Athens. We want to work with Monte
Park and the Huntsville
Land trust to add reserve
areas of green space for generations to come.
One very exciting trend that we will continue to promote are the
installation of bike/hike trails along the region’s waterways like Aldridge
Creek and the Huntsville Spring/Pinhook Creek waterway through the center of
Huntsville, Indian Creek in western Madison County, Mill Creek in Madison, Swan
Creek in Athens and Dry Branch in Decatur.
also want to work with Federal and State agencies to monitor air and water
quality and make recommendations for keeping these excellent and to meet or
exceed EPA standards. This effort is being done for benefit of you, your
children and your children’s children.
conclusion, I want to again thank you for coming out today and sharing our
vision for a better and most excellent Mid-Tennessee Valley. I encourage each of you to come together and
seek to help us achieve our common goals of Efficient Transportation Service,
Coordinated Public Safety Response, and Smart Environmental Policy as we make
decisions that affect the half a million residents of this great region.