Quotes of note
“Voters might love transit, but that doesn’t mean they plan to ride it. And transit agencies that appeal to voters with pledges to solve traffic woes might be digging themselves into a hole.” – Laura Bliss
“The capacity for education choice to be life-changing for families is at the heart of its incredible growth in the states. In 2000, for example, just four school choice programs were in operation in the United States. Today, there are 63 programs supporting private school choice in 29 states and the District of Columbia.” – Kay Cole James
“At the local level, land use regulations, such as zoning laws and environmental review delays, have a serious and negative impact on the cost of housing. The additional cost they create for low-income Americans can be even more pronounced than any federal and state regulations.” – Veronique de Rugy
February 7: Register for “Romance of the Rails,” a noon Policy Briefing Luncheon and Book Forum with Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute on Thursday, February 7, at The Metropolitan Club in Alpharetta. $35. Information and registration here.
March 21: “Shining a Light on Government,” a Leadership Breakfast with Richard Belcher of WSB-TV in celebration of Sunshine Week on Thursday, March 21, at the Georgian Club in Cobb County. $30. Information and Registration here.
May 23: Mark your calendar for a Policy Briefing Luncheon with David French of National Review on Thursday, May 23, at the Georgian Club in Cobb County. Details to follow.
Most improved: Just in time for National School Choice Week 2019, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools released its newest rankings. It found Georgia has the most improved charter school law in the country. Thanks to the passage of HB 787, Georgia now has the nation’s 16th-best charter school law, up from No. 27 last year.
Need to know? The Georgia Charter Schools Association and GeorgiaCan are hosting the Atlanta Charter School Expo Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Ivy Preparatory Academy, 1807 Memorial Dr. SE, in Atlanta. Families can gather information about and visit with representatives from more than 25 schools to learn more about local public charter school options.
‘Free’ ride: Gwinnett County’s Microtransit pilot program, which transports citizens at no charge around Snellville on small buses, has been extended beyond its initial six-month run until April 30. The 17-square-mile service is popular: Nearly 20,000 passengers have ridden a Microtransit bus, which can be summoned via an app, since the program debuted. Source: WhatsnextAtl
Reluctant riders: A survey of riders at trains and bus stops in Los Angeles “found a lot of unhappy captives: 70 percent of riders did not own a vehicle to make their trip; 40 percent would have chosen to drive if they could have.” The research was conducted by Michael Manville, urban planning professor at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. Source: CityLab
Ride-share: The introduction of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft has had a drastic impact on public transit ridership, according to a study by University of Kentucky researchers. If found that for each year after the services enter a market, heavy rail ridership can be expected to decrease by 1.3 percent and bus ridership can be expected to decrease by 1.7 percent. Source: Metro Magazine
Off-track spending: The Hawaii state auditor’s office issued a scathing report that describes the Honolulu transit authority’s performance on the $9.2 billion Honolulu Rail Transit Project as “over promising, under delivering.” The price tag for the 20-mile commuter light rail started out at $5.1 billion in 2012; construction is six years behind schedule. Source: Construction Dive
Uninsured: The percentage of Americans without health insurance has reached its highest point since 2014. The uninsured rate was 13.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018, well above the record-low rate of 10.9 percent seen in 2016, the last year of President Obama’s second term, according to a new Gallup survey. That represents about 7 million people losing or dropping insurance between 2016 and 2018. Those younger than 35 reported an uninsured rate of over 21 percent, a 4.8-point increase from two years earlier.
Uninformed: A survey of employees from U.S. companies found that 35 percent of respondents somewhat understand, don’t understand or know nothing about their employer-sponsored health insurance. Thirty-three percent don’t understand their medical bills, and more than half (54 percent) aren’t familiar with self-funded health care. Source: Maestro Health
Foundation in the news: WABE-FM interviewed Kyle Wingfield for a segment on Georgia’s minimum wage. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published an op-ed by Benita Dodd about the $100 billion “moonshot” proposed by MARTA’s CEO.
YouTube: Did you know past Foundation events are available for viewing on our YouTube channel? Click here to view the Foundation’s National School Choice Week event Tuesday, “National School Choice Week: A Capitol Choice.” It’s one of more than 650 Foundation event videos available on the channel.
This month in the archives: In January 10 years ago, the Foundation published, “Property Tax Relief for Whom?” It noted, “Assessment caps artificially suppress the taxable value of property that does not change ownership. As a result, owners of similar properties often pay tremendously disparate property taxes. This is a boon for the person with a suppressed value, but everyone else must pay more and often have to make up the difference.”
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Medicare for All is Popular Until You Know How it Works,” by Peter Suderman.
Have a great weekend!
Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd
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I wanted to publicly say how much I appreciate Georgia Public Policy Foundation. For those of you that will be entering the Legislature or are relatively new you may not quite yet appreciate how much we rely on Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s research and work. As you know we’re a citizen’s legislature. We have very little staff. They have been an invaluable, invaluable resource to us. To put this [Forum] on and the regular programs that they do throughout the year make us better at what we do. (At the 2012 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum.)