Category: Transportation

By Benita M. Dodd They weren’t playing nice at the Capitol this year, and when legislators grabbed their toys and went home, neither chamber had won the transportation legislation tug-of war. Just because no agreement on funding was reached, however, doesn’t put the brakes on Georgia transportation policy.   First, despite the criticism over their disagreement, it’s just as well for Georgians that senators and representatives couldn’t find common ground over whether a statewide or regional one-cent sales tax plan could fund transportation. Why? Because carte blanche is passé. Georgians deserve better. They deserve a plan, to know what they’re voting for before they’re asked to pay higher taxes. And because just as Georgians must constrain their spending to their budget,… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd The standoff among the House, the Senate and the Governor’s office over competing transportation proposals continues under Georgia’s Gold Dome, but the Department of Transportation isn’t standing still. The DOT is moving right along with its plan to take Georgia commuters into the 21st century with a series of open houses through April focusing on the state’s first high-occupancy toll (HOT) lane project. The pilot project, expected to be operational in January 2011, would convert 14.3 miles of high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to HOT lanes on Interstate 85 between Chamblee-Tucker Road (south of I-285 in DeKalb County) and Old Peachtree Road in Gwinnett County. The Georgia DOT intends the segment as the first of “a future… View Article

Road to Congestion Relief Leads … Somewhere Else

By Benita M. Dodd “If you build it, they will come,” was the mantra for opponents of road-building in metro Atlanta, the economic engine of Georgia. So we didn’t build “it.” And still “they” came. Now “it” is almost too expensive. It still needs to be built – just somewhere else, so that those who don’t need to come won’t come. That, in a nutshell, is what the region needs to do to add the necessary capacity for traffic in metro Atlanta. McKinsey and Co., consultants to the Governor’s IT3 transportation plan (Investing in Tomorrow’s Transportation Today) pointed out the challenge recently: “Over the last 10-20 years, Georgia has undermanaged and underinvested in its assets. The lack of improvement to… View Article
By Chick Krautler A recent fact-finding mission to Texas, led by Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, was an excellent opportunity for Georgia’s state and regional transportation policy-makers to learn from folks who have made progress in attacking their congestion and mobility challenges through tolling, alternative funding and alternative project delivery.  Georgia’s Department of Transportation (DOT) is tackling a funding and project delivery crisis and the Governor is developing a statewide transportation strategy through the IT3 (Investing in Tomorrow’s Transportation Today) program.  Texas faces many of the problems that Georgia does. A fast growing state with significant congestion in its urban centers, it has an estimated transportation funding shortfall of $66 billion and limited opportunities for new taxes. Its aggressive approach to… View Article
By James H. Orr Jr. Will massive, endless subsidies become a way of life for Georgians? Apparently so, if our policy-makers listen to the proponents of commuter rail line and other heavy rail and/or light rail options.  In April, the Transit Planning Board (TPB) held public meetings throughout metro Atlanta to “educate” and get the blessings of the public on the TPB’s Concept 3 Proposed Transit Vision Plan Vision. In Gwinnett County, where the meeting was co-sponsored by the Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District in Lawrenceville, there were just eight members of the public present – hardly a representative sample for public input and opinion. TPB Staff Director Cheryl King, who presented the Concept 3 plan, reinforced several times that… View Article

Express Toll Network Can Drive Congestion Relief

By Benita M. Dodd  How and how much are far from concurrence, but Georgians agree that what transportation needs most is funding. Sifting through the myriad transportation proposals, however, reveals that policy-makers from the nation’s capital to the state Capitol agree on one more need: toll roads and, specifically, high-occupancy toll lanes.  Back in 2005, Georgia’s State Road and Tollway Authority studied the potential benefits of high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes, which would allow solo motorists access to formerly high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes for a fee. SRTA concluded that these lanes, often derided as “Lexus lanes,” would provide more than just time savings to the drivers cruising in them:  They would also provide a reliable, shorter trip for transit vehicles and… View Article
By Vance Smith (Excerpted from remarks by Georgia Rep. Vance Smith (R-Pine Mountain), chairman of the House Transportation Committee, at a Georgia Public Policy Foundation Policy Briefing Luncheon on transportation.) I know we’ve talked to a lot of you here this past summer when we had the transportation funding study committee. I appreciate you speaking up, letting us know how you feel, because that’s the only way we’re going to arrive at a solution to transportation. There’s no one person, as Senator Jeff Mullis said, no “silver bullet.” There’s no one solution out there. And there’s certainly room for everybody’s opinion; I think that’s very important. If we take our time, be very patient, we have the responsibility first of… View Article

Rail’s No Way In or To San Jose

By Benita M. Dodd For those who love to watch the passing parade – and have the time and inclination – few places are better than the sardine can that is a train. That’s why, once one neglects to make a timely reservation on any of the popular 30-minute, $40 road shuttle services between San Francisco and San Jose, the $7.50 Caltrain ticket becomes an enticing option. Once. For 90 minutes in a nearly empty doubledecker car, you have the unique opportunity to eavesdrop on loud cell phone conversations; watch the Webcam conversation on the laptop beneath you; follow in fascination as a wannabe chef creates and devours a strawberry shortcake before your very eyes, or gaze out a grimy… View Article

Priorities should drive transportation policy

By Ron Sifen The metropolitan planning organization for the 10-county metro Atlanta region, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), recently adopted a $67 billion package of transportation projects over the next 25 years. But there’s a problem: The ARC anticipates that the region will have only about $46.5 billion available over the next 25 years. The ARC is responsible for development of the Regional Transportation Plan for the city of Atlanta and 18 surrounding counties: Barrow, Bartow, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Newton, Paulding, Spalding, Rockdale and Walton. As those governments know, there is a big gap between $67 billion and $46 billion. Having approved the list of projects, the Atlanta Regional Commission has laid… View Article

The Monkey Trap in Transportation Policy

By Benita M. Dodd  A once-in-a-blue-moon event occurred recently at a committee meeting of Georgia’s State Transportation Board. During an update on projects in the state’s various congressional districts, the committee was informed that a local government had withdrawn its project from consideration for funding, opting to complete it instead with local money.   The “original” monkey trap is a hollow container chained to a stake and baited with food. The hole in the container is just big enough for the monkey to reach into but not large enough for it to withdraw both the food and its paw. The food is far too enticing to release, however, so the monkey willingly sits there, food in hand in jar, as its… View Article

…One of the best things about the Georgia Public Policy Foundation is that it has such a broad membership base.

Dr. Wendy L. Gramm, Former Chairwoman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission more quotes