Rhode Island Avenue NE and North Capitol Street were designated “Great Streets” a number of years ago. So what does that mean? The Great Streets Program is a long-term effort to “transform nine under-invested corridors into thriving and inviting neighborhood centers”. The central idea is to use public actions and tools to spur private investment. For example, H St. NE is one of these Great Streets, as well as parts of Columbia Heights. So, great news then, right? Not really – there was never any funding set aside for RIA and North Capitol St. Enter our new Councilmember McDuffie and CM Brown. They have introduced the Retail Incentive Amendment Act of 2012. The purpose of the bill is to insure funding for Great Streets projects within Ward 5. We need this legislation to pass if we are ever to get our fair share of funding for things like infrastructure improvements. The hearing for this bill will take place on Thursday, Nov 8, starting at 11am. So, how about taking a stand and testifying on behalf of RIA and North Capitol Street? “But Shani”- you say – “I’ve never testified. I have no idea what to say!” No worries. Sign up to testify via the good folks at the Friends of Rhode Island Avenue (FoRIA) and they will follow up with all the information you need on how to sign up to testify, what to expect at the hearing and what talking points to mention during your testimony. You can do this. “But Shani”- you say – “I have a job/kids/etc.! I can’t make it to the hearing!” Ok then, how about submitting written testimony? FoRIA will help you out with that too. When it comes to how government dollars are invested, things don’t happen by accident – the squeaky wheel gets the grease.