Information is power–Power up, people!

Information is power–Power up, people!

By James Powers

Information is power—

Power up, folks!

Opportunities sometimes present themselves wherein we must seize them for our future good. Two opportunities are presently on Rockford’s radar screen, one requiring more immediate action than the other: (1) passenger service at Greater Rockford Airport, and (2) rail service for the Rockford region.

Both are like an unfolding high-stakes sports drama, wherein certain information is essential:

What’s “the game”?

Who’s “the coach”?

Who’s on “the team”?

What’s “the plan”?

While answers to those questions may be unclear, it is completely clear that if we do not enter the contest, we will not win the game. The opportunity will vanish!

Interested volunteer citizens who possess a shared desire to insure that our community is at least informed of transportation opportunities that are on the horizon recently formed the Greater Rockford Transportation Coalition (GRTC), a not-for-profit. To carry out our information-broker role, we have established a web site, and in the near future, we will be sponsoring guest speakers on contemporary transportation issues.

Our web site is at Since the airport “game” is already in progress, we have spent an immense number of man-hours to insure our web site is the best one-stop-shop information resource on this issue in our region. It contains past and current media coverage of the issue (not only local coverage, but from nationwide sources), past and upcoming relevant events, various positions on the issue, and links to elected officials and related web sites. Less than 24 hours after Mayor Scott signed the Rockford-Gary resolution on June 5th, a copy of the resolution was posted at our web site. It’s an information gold mine! We intend to keep it that way!

But now we need help from the population at large. We have a page at the web site where elected officials and citizens can post letters on this issue. We want those letters! What’s more, the community needs them! Shared dialogue will insure that we, as a community, learn from the opinions of others, understand the issue, and form a shared consensus. Dialogue, through such letters, is intended to be an ongoing “town meeting” on this important issue and opportunity.

While we strive to be objective, GRTC is biased in one regard: we believe in this community, and we want to insure that our regional decisions on transportation are based on awareness of the opportunities available and made with the best information available. If you share that bias, please join us as a member (you can leave a note at our web site), or, at a minimum, use the resources we provide, and participate in the dialogue. With you, we can win “the game”!

James H. Powers, a retired US Army colonel, had several assignments in strategic transportation planning. He is a board member of the Greater Rockford Transportation Coalition.

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