Category: Commentaries

‘Plan T:’ For Georgia Traffic and So Much More

By Michael Dziak Despite the efforts of many to persuade voters to approve a penny regional transportation sales tax, the 10-year, $8 billion proposal is off the table for metro Atlanta, at least for now. But perhaps the “Plan B” for congestion relief that many are asking for should be “Plan T” for “Technology.” Atlanta has already established itself as a technological center, yet only a small percentage of organizations have maximized the potential of this technology. State and locally driven efforts could and should be aimed at helping business leaders understand, deploy and effectively utilize technology to accelerate economic recovery in a way that will lead to rapid, sustainable growth and prosperity: Create an engaged workforce Reduce commuter trips… View Article

Biofuels, Ethanol Give Food for Thought

By Harold Brown A lawsuit filed this week against the federal Environmental Protection Agency accuses the agency of penalizing refiners for failing to meet “unattainable and absurd” cellulosic biofuels quotas outlined in EPA’s renewable fuels standard. The EPA mandates the purchase of biofuels formulated in part from biological materials including switchgrass, wood chips and agricultural waste. But the oil and gas industry trade association, the American Petroleum Institute, argues that the quotas set an unrealistic goal because no such cellulosic biofuels are produced on a commercial scale in the nation. Refiners unable to meet the cellulosic biofuels mandate represent just the tip of the iceberg. Biofuels, mainly ethanol, are booming in the 21st century. They crept over from the 20th… View Article

License to Kill Business

By Benita M. Dodd Benita M. Dodd, Vice President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation From a historic building on the banks of the Etowah River in Rome, Ga., Ed Watters and his co-workers design elaborate gardens and manage a successful landscape company with a staff of more than 60. Behind the serene décor of the Outdoor Living Studio, however, lurk onerous regulatory hoops that the company must jump through to do business. One of those hurdles is licensing. The Institute for Justice reports that Georgia is one of just 10 states that require landscape workers – known as landscape architects – to have an occupational license to work in Georgia. According to the Secretary of State’s Web site, applicants must pass… View Article

Don’t Hide Energy Innovation Under a Bushel

By Benita Dodd Benita Dodd, Vice President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation It’s easy being green these days for environmental activists – green with envy. The darnedest thing has happened in the energy arena, something that this Foundation frequently cites in opposing heavyhanded government mandates and regulation. It’s the innovativeness of Americans. Not that it’s slowing activists’ efforts to rein in innovation. A long time ago, Americans faced predictions that oil was running low. “Peak oil” hasn’t happened, thanks to innovation. Vehicles became more fuel-efficient, going farther on less, and businesses and appliances got more energy efficient even as their numbers increased. Improving technology enabled oil producers to locate and extract more resources. So “global warming” became the reason to push… View Article
By Benita Dodd Benita Dodd, Vice President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation The “Untie Atlanta” commercials on radio and TV are nothing if not clever. Frustrated commuters can relate to the visual onslaught on TV of roads tangled in a giant knot and the radio announcement, accompanied by blaring horns, that says “Traffic in metro Atlanta is tied up in knots … Let’s untie the knot. Vote yes for the July 31 Regional Transportation Referendum.” Without a doubt, inadequate transportation spending has led to congestion and reduced mobility in this state. If voters in each of the 12 regions support the referendum, a penny transportation special local option sales tax (T-SPLOST) will fund its tailored list of projects. Some of them… View Article

EPA’s Coal Wars Could Sink America’s Economy

By James H. Rust While campaigning in San Francisco during the Democratic Party primaries in January 2008, presidential candidate Obama told The San Francisco Chronicle editorial board, “So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.” Once elected, President Obama tried to keep his promise through the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, also known as the Waxman-Markey Bill, which narrowly passed the House 219-212. Its cap-and-trade provision on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions would put a price on CO2 emissions and gradually reduce emissions allowed until they reach 17 percent of the … View Article

Realigning Georgia’s Fiscal Priorities

By Kelly McCutchen Fifteen years ago it was almost impossible to drive by a public school in Georgia without seeing at least one classroom trailer in the parking lot. Parents viewed those trailers as a threat to their children’s education, so in 1996 voters approved E-SPLOST – the special purpose local option sales tax for education that has funded hundreds of new schools and improvements to existing schools. Today, Georgia is in a much different landscape than in 1996. The migration of new residents to the state has slowed and, with few exceptions, school facilities are now more on par with needs. Today, the challenge is to get to the new and improved schools on time: We’re stuck in traffic.… 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

Tear Down This Wall

By Ronald E. Bachman Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue has announced a noble plan to reach 30,000 of the state’s uninsured; Lieutenant Governor Casey has a good plan to reach others. The challenge, however, is that more than 1.6 million Georgians lack private or government insurance.   The legislative wake up call should be about this unacceptable level of Georgians without Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, Tri-care or private health insurance. This is the problem that every American hears about; and is the major argument for a federal takeover of health care. With more than 18 percent of this state’s 9 million citizens uninsured at any point in time, Georgia has the fifth highest uninsured rate, behind Oklahoma, Florida, New Mexico and Texas.  Those… View Article

Transportation Solutions For a Transit-Challenged Region

By Stephen Fleming  (Part II of a two-part commentary. Read Part I, “In Transportation, as in Technology, Packets Beat Circuits,” at http://www.georgiapolicy.org/?p=5482.)  Atlanta grew up around cars. It’s fundamentally a packet-switched infrastructure. Ask any telecom engineer. You cannot replace a packet-switched infrastructure with circuit switching for any reasonable amount of money. Can’t be done.  “But they do it in New York City,” I hear you cry. Yes, and that’s because New York City grew up around mass transit. It’s physically different from Atlanta (or pretty much any other town in America outside the Northeast, except maybe Chicago). The circuits are dense enough to have connection points within walking distance.  Look at the cities with successful public transit… View Article

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

State Senator Jack Hill more quotes