March 18: “Federalism, The Rule of Law and Regulatory Excess,” is the topic of the Foundation’s Leadership Breakfast with Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens. $30. Find out more here. Register online by Monday, March 16, here.
Quotes of Note
“[I]t is of the greatest consequence that the debt should . . . be remoulded into such a shape as will bring the expenditure of the nation to a level with its income. Till this shall be accomplished, the finances of the United States will never wear proper countenance. Arrears of interest, continually accruing, will be as continual a monument, either of inability, or of ill faith and will not cease to have an evil influence on public credit.” – Alexander Hamilton
“Despite the doubling of transit service, total transit ridership declined from 17.3 billion trips in 1926 to 10.4 billion in 2013. It didn’t decline because transit service was bad. Indeed, not only has service doubled, it is faster, safer and reaches more destinations than ever before. … Instead, transit ridership declined because cars are so much better: faster, cheaper (especially when carrying more than one person), and capable of reaching far more destinations with door-to-door service.” – Randal O’Toole
“[I]t turns out there is more to running a health insurance plan than altruism.” – Merrill Matthews
‘Transportation Funding Matters,’ was the subject of Wednesday’s Foundation Leadership Breakfast, focusing on transportation funding for Georgia. Click on the links to view or review remarks by Kelly McCutchen and Baruch Feigenbaum as well as the questions and answers. Baruch’s PowerPoint presentation can be accessed here.
Safety first: Transportation fatalities decreased by 3 percent in 2013 over 2012, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Highway fatalities, which made up 94 percent of the 34,678 deaths, declined 3.1 percent, and a whopping 25 percent since 2004. Deaths in marine, aviation, bicycle, pedestrian and pipeline transportation all declined but there was an increase in bus- and rail-related deaths (23 percent and 6 percent, respectively). View details here. Source: Schoolbusfleet.com
Streetcar named higher: Just two weeks after plans were announced to expand the over-deadline, over-budget Atlanta Streetcar, a new report reveals the project’s ridership is 18 percent below estimates – even though the first three months are fare-free – and operating costs are up 52 percent. Watch for the total project cost to increase, too: AT&T is the first utility to sue the city for $5.7 million to recover the cost of moving its equipment; 15 utilities were affected. We warned this would happen. Source: AJC.com
Tweeting for transit: Real-time schedules matter to transit users. And now, social media is helping passengers hold transit agencies accountable, according to Governing magazine.
Family matters in education achievement, according to a study in Education Next, which found that children from single-parent homes consistently complete less schooling than children with two-parent families.
Moving South I: Mercedes-Benz’s move to Georgia is the latest in an epic and under-reported migration South, according to National Review Online. More, the past 30 years have seen growing numbers of black people seek a future in the South and desert declining cities of the Midwest and Northeast.
Moving South II: The South is by far the best region in the United States for blacks to own businesses, according to NerdWallet. It ranks Georgia as the best state in the country, with Columbus ranking No. 1 on the list, Atlanta No. 3 and Savannah No. 9. Source: Bacon’s Rebellion
ObamaCare: The White House reports that 11.4 million Americans selected insurance plans by the February 15 deadline, which is well below the projections of 13 million by 2015. According to Forbes magazine, “If previous trends hold, ObamaCare exchanges have enrolled roughly 5 million previously uninsured individuals: a far cry from 11.4 million.” Now, extensions are being offered and sought.
Criminal Justice Reform
Civil forfeiture reform: An Athens gun shop owner testified before Congress recently about his ordeal in reclaiming money seized by law enforcement from his bank account. Georgia legislators are once again considering reforming the forfeiture law; just eight states ban civil forfeiture. This week, the Council of the District of Columbia voted unanimously to overhaul the city’s civil forfeiture laws, which let police seize property from people never charged with a crime.
This month in the archives: In February 2004, the Foundation shared its, “Presentation on Land Use Prepared for the GRTA Land Development Committee.” It noted, “The problem is that restrictive local ordinances designed originally to protect a community often hinder the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that promotes variety in choices.”
Have a great weekend!
Kelly McCutchen and Benita Dodd
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Thank you for the great work that the Public Policy Foundation is doing across our state setting a wonderful example. I first ran for the Senate in 1994, and the Foundation was that resource I called upon to be a great help to me as we were articulating positions and formulating public policy initiatives. We appreciate very much your leadership and all that you stand for.