A big year ahead
By Scott Leach
A new year has arrived, and the urge to make resolutions and set goals has me looking ahead to what our organization should set our sights on achieving in 2007.
Luckily, I didn’t have to look far. This past year, Maine Better Transportation Association’s Strategic Planning Committee gave us an excellent blueprint for the New Year (and the next few years to come). I have taken the liberty of using the goals and strategies established in the plan to create a few New Year’s resolutions for the MBTA as we work to increase investment in Maine’s highways and bridges.
1. We will make new friends.
One of the key strategies of the MBTA’s strategic plan is to identify partner groups and organizations that share common goals and reach out to them to form strategic alliances. Already, the MBTA has begun this process and we have more than 40 local and regional groups that have pledged their support. This is a diverse group of friends. Some are interested in safety. Others in economic growth and preserving the excellent quality of life we enjoy here in Maine. We all recognize that strength of numbers will help us achieve our transportation investment goals.
2. We will do our homework.
Our Strategic Plan calls for more research to increase our base of funding knowledge. It makes sense because, as the old adage goes, “knowledge is power.” Unfortunately all of the research in the world won’t do any good if none of us do our homework and become familiar with the facts, so we can begin to use this information every day to make the case for increasing transportation infrastructure funding in Maine. So this year, please watch for and read as much of the MBTA mail that comes across your desk as possible — legislative e-mail and fax alerts, Maine Trails and other MBTA publications that will keep you up-to-date on the issues.
3. We will be more active.
Yes, it would be great if you went to the gym more often in 2007. But I also am hoping you will become more active in the MBTA and join other members at events in your community and throughout the state. This past fall, the board of directors began co-sponsoring a series of legislative briefings. We have invited community, business and government leaders to share in a dialogue about the importance of increasing Maine’s investment in our transportation infrastructure. The briefings we have held in Caribou and Bangor have been successful, and we plan on holding more events like them. I hope you will take the time to let your legislators know our transportation funding priorities. It is a great chance to meet new people (see Resolution 1) and get up to speed on the MBTA’s efforts to make transportation infrastructure funding a public priority in the years to come (see Resolution 2). I hope to see you at many other MBTA events this year – including our golf tournament, convention and quarterly meetings. To find out what events are coming up, you can visit www.mbtaonline.org.
Finally, I would like to extend my gratitude to all the individual and corporate members who have done so much to support the MBTA in 2006. We faced many challenges, and we made progress in many areas critical to our mission of promoting safe, reliable and efficient transportation infrastructure in Maine. The Educational Foundation’s Super Raffle raised $17,000. Our auctions and July golf tournament added $60,000 to the Infrastructure Fund. The annual MBTA Convention in Bar Harbor was a success. The Membership Committee worked hard in 2006 and is working even harder to reach their goal this year. Our legislative committee helped shape our agenda and the strategic planning process has given us a strong five-year plan, as has our communications committee. I look forward to seeing and working with you all in 2007.
Last of all, I would like to thank Joe Rollins for all of his contributions to the MBTA over the years, especially for his tireless work on our annual golf tournaments that with his leadership and with the convention fundraising have helped raise over $300,000 for the Infrastructure Fund. Joe has retired from The Lane Construction Corporation, but we all hope to see him on the golf course and at other MBTA gatherings in the future.