Category: Transportation

By Mike Klein MIKE KLEINEditor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation America’s infrastructure is not entirely healthy – we knew that – and the federal government is not paying enough attention.  That was one underlying message articulated this week when Georgia sold out its sixth annual Logistics Summit in Atlanta.  As the state told its impressive logistics story, high profile speakers expressed levels of frustration with Washington. “On a national scale U.S. ports construction has fallen behind, no debate about it whatsoever,” said Curtis Foltz, executive director at the Georgia Ports Authority.  “I speak at different federal levels in Washington, DC, talk about it all the time.  There needs to be a better focus, there needs to be a better commitment to… View Article

Atlanta Streetcar Costs: Up, Up and Away

First it was to cost $72 million, $47.6 million of it from a federal government grant. In April 2013, the estimated cost of Atlanta’s 2.6-mile streetcar line to $99 million. (Watch for it to go even higher!) The official Streetcar site estimates that operating the streetcar will cost $1.7 million annually in 2013 dollars. (It also lists capital costs at $92.6 million.) Back in 2012, the federal government put the annual operations cost at $2.6 million. But WSB-TV in Atlanta reported this week that the price is now 70 percent higher than original estimate: Operations are now projected to cost $4.4 million. Read Benita Dodd’s recent op-ed in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the Streetcar: http://www.georgiapolicy.org/transit-relic-wont-help-transportation/#ff_s=n82x.… View Article

Atlanta’s Icy Logjam a Beacon of Hope for The Future

By Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD The metro Atlanta region came to a standstill this week, its interstates, highways and side streets glazed over with ice after a sudden snowfall, and thousands of commuters left stranded. Children spent the night at school, people bedded down in churches, restaurants, hotel lobbies and grocery stores. The rest of America chuckled good-humoredly at those silly Atlantans who can’t even drive in a dusting of snow. The fingerpointing and soul-searching began early. Whose fault? Why didn’t government learn from the last ice storm? What can policy-makers do better next time? What is wrong with motor-centric Atlanta that it won’t embrace mass transit? Why isn’t Georgia spending more on (fill in the blank)? None of… View Article

Replacing the Gas Tax: Lessons Learned from Oregon

Leonard Gilroy reports that, “Like in most states, Oregon transportation officials are grappling with a long-term decline in the purchasing power of the gas tax and the erosion of its utility as a mechanism to generate highway funding, given the rise in more fuel-efficient vehicles, as well as electric and other vehicles that minimize or eliminate gasoline use altogether. Having been the first state to adopt a gas tax to fund transportation infrastructure nearly a century ago, Oregon has in recent years taken the lead among states with regard to advancing the concept that may ultimately replace the beleaguered gas tax—mileage-based road user charges.” In “Pioneering Road User Charges in Oregon,” Gilroy, Director of Government Reform at the … View Article

Transit relic won’t help transportation

This op-ed appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on January 28, 2014. By Benita Dodd Watching the evolving justification for the Atlanta Streetcar project’s benefits is like watching a shell game. It’s anybody’s guess what reason will turn up next: mobility, congestion relief, economic development, environmental benefits or tourism. Only the naïve would place a bet. Back when it applied for a $47 million federal grant for the streetcar, the city predicted that “automobile trips will be diverted to the safer streetcar mode, which will thereby reduce accidents and increase pedestrian safety because more travelers will be using the streetcar instead of traveling by automobile.” (The application also admitted that more than 57 percent of the people within a quarter-mile of… View Article
Interesting conclusions from a recent Reason Foundation study: Statistical analysis of the 74 largest urbanized areas in the U.S. over a 26-year period suggests that increasing transit utilization does not lead to a reduction in traffic congestion; nor does decreasing transit utilization lead to an increase in traffic congestion. Policies designed to promote transit utilization can in certain instances increase traffic congestion—as appears to have been the case in Portland, Oregon. Vehicle-miles traveled per freeway lane-mile is strongly correlated with traffic congestion: the more people drive relative to available freeway capacity, the worse congestion gets. Data from New York and Los Angeles indicate that the most effective way to increase transit utilization is by reducing fares, as well as… View Article

Making a Brave Move on the Transportation Front

By Baruch Feigenbaum  BARUCH FEIGENBAUMTransportation AnalystReason Foundation The announcement that the Atlanta Braves are abandoning Turner Field in downtown Atlanta for a location in the suburbs was a shock to almost everybody. There are many questions that must be answered, most important among them being how much of the $302 million in “public” funding will come from Cobb County taxpayers.   Assuming the Braves do move to Cobb, the county and the Braves will have to tackle the traffic nightmare that is I-285 and I-75. The Braves were unhappy with Turner Field, in part, because of insufficient nearby parking and poor freeway access. Congested traffic was the No. 1 reason fans did not attend games. And while leaving the heart of… View Article
By Benita Dodd Benita DoddVice President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation That congestion and transportation challenges in Georgia have taken a back seat for a while can be attributed to the region’s economic woes: Unemployment keeps commuters off the road. As the economy improves, however, Georgia’s logjams and bottlenecks will return. The bottlenecks in transportation policy are not just in roads, transit or funding. It’s also in the image of the state Department of Transportation (DOT).  The upheaval in the DOT over the past several years is over, but the perception of inefficiencies and mismanagement linger. Transparency is key to overcoming public mistrust.  An easy start is to stream video of DOT meetings online so that citizens across the state can… View Article

New Network of Metro Atlanta Streets Could Connect Us

Reprinted from the September 17 Atlanta Journal-Constitution By Baruch Feigenbaum BARUCH FEIGENBAUMTransportation AnalystReason Foundation Atlanta’s mobility and congestion problems are well known.  It has the seventh-worth congestion in the country.  The area’s residents waste 51 hours a year sitting in traffic, and those delays cost the region $3.1 billion a year. Metro Atlanta agencies plan to spend $84 billion over the next 30 years on transportation.  Unfortunately, the transportation plans treat far too many prospects as stand-alone ventures intended to address single-problem spots. Atlanta needs a connected transportation network to fix today’s congestion and handle the demands of looming population growth.  Right now, Atlanta, with 7,500 lane miles, has one of the most underdeveloped surface street networks of any major… View Article

Practical Strategies Can Increase Mobility in Georgia

By Baruch Feigenbaum  BARUCH FEIGENBAUMTransportation AnalystReason Foundation Even the through travelers know it: Georgia’s transportation system is inadequate. Metro Atlanta has the seventh-worst congestion in the country, the freeway network lacks capacity for expected growth from the Port of Savannah deepening, and rural areas lack transportation options.    There is an opportunity to develop a quality transportation network – without raising taxes – if policy-makers embrace a new proposal by the Reason Foundation. Unlike existing plans, which make spot improvements, The Reason plan, unveiled in August at a Georgia Public Policy Foundation Policy Briefing Luncheon, is a $35 billion proposal that develops a freeway network, arterial network, and transit network across the entire state.   For metro Atlanta freeways, the plan modifies… View Article

The Foundation’s positions are well thought out and are often ahead of their time.

State Senator Jack Hill more quotes