Category: Transportation

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
At today’s Georgia Public Policy Foundation Policy Briefing Luncheon in Atlanta, Reason Foundation Transportation Policy Analyst and Foundation Senior Fellow Baruch Feigenbaum unveiled his new study, “Practical Strategies for Increasing Mobility in Georgia.” The PowerPoint presentation used at the event can be downloaded here: http://www.georgiapolicy.org/ftp_files/Increasing%20Mobility%20in%20Atlanta.pdf The full Reason Foundation study is available here: http://reason.org/files/atlanta_transportation_plan.pdf YouTube Video from the Foundation leadership luncheon:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFDjWf3SW3o&feature=c4-verview&list=UU4uOlfbFbDHf2h6wCgOEDxQ YouTube Video: Feigenbaum discusses bus rapid transit:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhzGbcEhfJI&feature=c4-overview&list=UU4uOlfbFbDHf2h6wCgOEDxQ View Article
By Mike Klein MIKE KLEINEditor, Georgia Public Policy Foundation It is somewhat understandable that the Atlanta highway system was built like a wheel with the city at the center and interstates fanning out from the core.  Think about our regional rail lines as they existed before and after the Civil War:  a few rail lines primarily destined for Terminus as it was known before the city’s name became Atlanta.  The folly was to design 20th Century highways on a 19th Century rail model.  Flush everything and everyone directly into the core and you get gridlock.  Know it, feel it, own it. Well-meaning politicians and planners have spent decades chasing whatever the current view was of the best balance between interstates,… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Benita DoddVice President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Money talks, especially at the Georgia General Assembly, where the state’s ongoing funding challenges and growing needs inspired separate Senate committee hearings this week, one investigating public-private partnerships (PPPs) for Georgia infrastructure and the other working on integrating metro Atlanta’s public transportation services. Several challenges are encouraging governments to think outside the box. There continues to be talk about “federal” funds – otherwise referred to as taxpayer dollars – coming to the states, but the partisan divide in federal budget negotiations has left states pessimistic. In addition, it’s increasingly evident that states’ needs outstrip federal largesse, that federal largesse is shrinking and that local governments have to do more… View Article
By Alex Roman Alternative project delivery, including public-private partnerships (PPPs); design-build; and design-build-operate-maintain, are viewed as attractive options for transit agencies, as they transfer risk and accelerate the project process.  However, while these forms of project delivery continue to take hold in Europe, Asia and Africa, there have been a limited amount of projects in the U.S. that have utilized these innovative solutions. METRO Magazine spoke to representatives from several companies to discuss why forms of alternative project delivery have been slow to take off in the U.S., as well as the possible benefits and what transit agencies should look for before selecting a partner.      How does alternative project delivery benefit a public transportation agency? Mel Placilla (Director, professional services, View Article
By Baruch Feigenbaum Baruch FeigenbaumSenior FellowGeorgia Public Policy Foundation Discussions are resuming in the Southeast about a high-speed rail corridor. Unfortunately, the  evidence suggests that high-speed rail’s limited success in Europe and Asia is not transferrable to the United States. From a financial standpoint, things don’t look good. The majority of high-speed rail lines require large government subsidies from both general taxpayers and drivers. Even with generous subsidies, traveling by high-speed rail is still more expensive than flying for 12 of the 23 most popular high-speed rail routes in the world. The evidence suggests that high-speed rail can only be competitive on routes that are 200-to 500 miles in length. High-speed rail is also very expensive to build. Most new… View Article
By Kenneth Orski  President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget request includes $77 billion for the Department of Transportation and an additional $50 billion “for immediate transportation investments.” His next transportation bill calls for a 25 percent increase in funding over current levels and assumes a transfer of $214 billion to the Highway Trust Fund over six years, “to maintain trust fund solvency and pay for increased outlays.” To offset this spending, the Administration proposes using the “savings” or “peace dividend” from winding down the war in Afghanistan. House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) wasn’t impressed. “The President’s budget,” he said, “repeats his call to increase spending without identifying a viable means to pay for it. … You can’t just… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd Pointing fingers, moving the target and playing the blame game: That’s about all the action on transportation seen at the State Capitol this past session, despite the rancorous discussion immediately after the regional transportation sales tax vote that failed in nine of 12 regions across the state. The lack of movement was as unsurprising as congestion in metro Atlanta on a weekday afternoon. Legislators seemed in a hurry to leave, dragging their feet on acting on taxes, transportation or tort reform, all of which seriously need an overhaul. That was understandable, too. They faced the unpopular options of prioritizing a tight state budget or raising taxes. Fortunately, beyond the Gold Dome, transportation policy has been chugging… View Article

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