Chamber calls on legislators to solve issues
Members want solutions to water, education, transportation problems

DULUTH - As part of its push to better the business climate in Gwinnett, the local Chamber of Commerce called on legislators Thursday to solve water, education and transportation problems.

For the first time, the Chamber's board of directors issued a legislative action agenda for the 2008 session, which begins Monday.

"I want these big issues like water and transportation to be dealt with," Rep. Clay Cox, R-Lilburn, said of the call to action. "I hope our delegation can stick together for the county and get these issues dealt with and really improve life in the county. It's time to step up. ... Gwinnett

desperately needs for traffic to be dealt with, for education to be adequately funded and a water system that works."

The agenda contains about a dozen specific tenets directed to improve infrastructure, education, economic development and quality of life. Representatives of the county government, school system, college, hospital and other groups presented the agenda in an attempt to present a "united front" for the effort, said Chamber Vice President Demming Bass.

The list was created after two years of research and community input in Partnership Gwinnett, the coalition intent on improving the county, Chamber Board Chairman Bill McCargo said.

"As they go into the session, they have a very concise list of what we want to keep them focused on," McCargo said. "All these are very critical to our future."

The agenda includes expediting permits for water reservoirs, using new funding mechanisms to build roads and create transit options, supporting Gwinnett Medical Center's application to open an open heart surgery program and allowing a vote to create revitalization districts in the county.

"This is what the community has told us and we want to tell it to the people who can do things about this legislatively," McCargo said.

Only a few legislators attended the presentation because of a communication lapse, but more were lobbied during a reception afterward.

"I think it's a great comprehensive strategy to keep Gwinnett a world-class place to work and live," Rep. Mike Coan, R-Lawrenceville, said.