Friday Facts: April 5, 2019

It’s Friday!

Events

April 10: “Education Choice: A Case Study in Policy and Politics,” a Foundation Happy Hour Policy Discussion in Athens at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10, in partnership with The Arch Conservative. Speakers are Kyle Wingfield, president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, and Jeffrey Dorfman, professor of Economics at the University of Georgia. Hilton Garden Inn Magnolia Ballroom. $10. Information and registration here.

April 17: “Second Chances 2019,” an 8 a.m. Leadership Breakfast with Georgia Congressman Doug Collins, sponsor of the FIRST STEP Act, to celebrate Second Chance Month, on Wednesday, April 17. Georgian Club. $30. Information and registration here.

May 23: “You Can Say That: How Courage Can Defeat Political Correctness,” a noon Policy Briefing Luncheon with David French of the National Review Institute, on Thursday, May 23. Georgian Club. $35. Information and registration here.

Quotes of note

“The worst idea of all is student loan forgiveness of up to $1 trillion. This would only shift the costs of expensive colleges onto the back of taxpayers – many of whom never even went to college.” – Stephen Moore

“It’s amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people yourself is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral, self-righteous, bullying laziness.” – Penn Jillette

“It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions.” – Thomas Jefferson (1808)

Transportation

Transit: Since MARTA launched Clayton County bus service in March 2015 with three bus routes, the county has added 10 routes. Ridership has declined more than 26 percent, however: The county averaged 233,000 riders a month in 2018, down from its peak of 317,000 a month in 2016. Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Truck-only lanes: A study by Georgia Tech and the National Center for Sustainable Transportation modeled the planned truck-only lanes between Macon and McDonough on Interstate 75. The study, “Energy and Air Quality Impacts of Truck-Only Lanes,” used a traffic simulation model to study changes in traffic flow and two widely-used models to assess energy and emissions. Traffic speed improved for vehicles in the general-purpose lanes as well as for trucks, while fuel consumption and emissions were reduced. Source: Surface Transportation Innovations

Choke-point: The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) reports that just 12 percent of the Interstate system accounts for 89 percent of the trucking industry’s congestion costs. In ATRI’s annual ranking of choke-points, No. 2 was Spaghetti Junction, the five-level interchange in Atlanta where I-85 and I-285 cross. (No. 1 was I-95 at SR 4 in New Jersey.) An ATRI study finds improving the interchange would improve speeds and reduce emissions. Source: CCJDigital.com

Opportunity

Source: American Enterprise Institute

Shrinking middle class: Americans are moving on up, as the song goes in “The Jeffersons.” Middle-income households are shrinking but so are lower-income households, while high-income households are increasing. (See infographic). Source: American Enterprise Institute

Second chances: Thirty-one states and more than 150 cities and counties have adopted a ban-the-box law, a Bloomberg News opinion column notes. Such laws, which remove the criminal-history questions from initial job applications, give former offenders an opportunity to make their case to potential employees. Eleven states and several localities have also mandated that private employers remove criminal-history questions from job applications. While this should not be a mandate, it should be encouraged to give those who have paid their debt to society a chance. 

Pell in prison: Federal Pell grants fund a college education for millions of low-income students every year. Since 2015, the U.S. Department of Education has experimented with a Second Chance Pell pilot for incarcerated students. With 59 schools participating, about $35 million in Pell grants went to 8,800 incarcerated students. A Government Accountability Office analysis urges the department to evaluate the pilot and measure performance against objectives. Unfortunately, no Georgia school participates in this pilot.

Health care

Alexa’s HIPAA-compliant! Amazon unveiled software for its voice assistant Alexa that allows health-care organizations to transmit and receive patients’ protected health information, according to a company blog post. Customers can use Alexa-enabled devices for tasks such as scheduling appointments, checking on the status of prescriptions and accessing hospital post-discharge instructions. Source: Becker’s Hospital Review

Media 

Foundation in the news: The Savannah Morning News featured Kyle Wingfield this week in its podcast about the wrap-up of the legislative session. Full Measure interviewed Benita Dodd in a news segment about streetcars. 

Social media: The Foundation’s Facebook page has 3,486 “likes” this week; our Twitter account has 1,887 followers! Join them! 

Friday Flashback 

This month in the archives: In March 20 years ago, the Foundation published, “Should Georgia Adopt Early Voting?” It noted, “In the same way that Motor Voter was not a solution to low turnout, early voting is also not a panacea for declining turnout and decreasing participation in the political process by the average citizen.” Georgia began implementing early voting in 2004.

Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “2019 Legislature a Promising Start to Georgia’s Biennial Session,” by Kyle Wingfield.

Have a great weekend!

Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd

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