Bannister gets transit study role

Gwinnett's commission chairman could have quite a say in the future of metro Atlanta transportation.

Charles Bannister was named last month as chairman of the planning and funding committee of the Transit Planning Board, a consortium of the six counties now operating bus systems in the region.

Bannister said he was glad at the honor and interested in discovering a solution to the metrowide mobility issue, but he added that he didn't have a favorite of the proposals to fund transit.

Decisions from DeKalb, Fulton and Atlanta to extend penny sales taxes to fund the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority made the problem less pressing, he said.

"We're still studying the opportunities," Bannister said.

In a letter to Bannister, Transit Planning Board Chairman Eldrin Bell, chairman of the Clayton county commission, said the work of the planning and funding committee is "at the heart" of the board's mission.

"As an operator of county transit services, you are painfully aware, as am I, of the challenges that we currently face," Bell wrote. "You know that we need to have a solid plan for future action and a dedicated funding source to pay for not only transit equipment and facilities but to also pay for the expansion and operation and maintenance of services. ... I am delighted that you have agreed to bring your experience and influence to facilitate the successful achievement of our goal."

Johnson votes

to override veto

While Sen. Johnny Isakson praised President Bush last week for his veto of an Iraq war spending bill that included a timeline for the withdrawal of troops, U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson wasn't thrilled with the decision.

Johnson, whose 4th District includes areas of Lilburn and Norcross, voted to override the veto, although the override did not pass.

"The president, apparently, has no regard for the will of the American people or our troops, as exemplified by his veto," Johnson said in a statement. "If he did, he would bring our troops home as most Americans have demanded, and support the legislation that Congress sent to the White House."

Johnson, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, urged the president to withdraw his veto.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.