November 15: The agenda is online for the 2019 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum, which features nearly two dozen policy experts and leaders on issues affecting Georgia: education, healthcare, opportunity, regulation and transportation. Registration is $100 for the daylong event on Friday, November 15, at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly. The theme: “Wisdom, Justice, Mobility.” Read about it here; register here.
Quotes of note
“Retirement affords reflection. … I have had time to explore much of Georgia that the demands of a work life wouldn’t allow. I have seen its diverse landscape and beauty and had the chance to reflect on its many places and people in my new season. The enduring truth that has emerged is how small acts by individuals and organizations enrich our state – and can compound over time with unimaginable effect.” – Don Cope, retired CEO, Dalton Utilities
“Prioritizing non-automobile travel may make limited sense in New York City or on certain streets, but the automobile is still the dominant transportation mode in most American cities. For example, in the city of Atlanta auto mode share of is 75%, transit 10%, walking 4%, cycling less than 1% and work at home 7.5%. And the city of Atlanta makes up less than 10% of the Atlanta region’s population. Many residents work in Atlanta and live in a neighboring city and vice versa. Artificially slowing commutes limits economic growth and productivity. The value of a large metro area is the number of jobs that can be reached in a given time (also called the circle of opportunity). Slowing travel speeds shrinks that circle.” – Baruch Feigenbaum
“Public employee pension funds are not a tool that politicians can use to signal their virtue. … It is a pity public employee plans are not required to invest the assets solely in the interests of the beneficiaries, as private-sector plans are required to do under ERISA.” – Pensions & Investments
P3s: The Georgia Department of Transportation announced last week it will leverage public-private partnerships (P3s) to advance major transportation projects. Georgia and the United States lag far behind other nations, as Baruch Feigenbaum of the Reason Foundations points out. Between January 2018 and August 2019, P3 projects in 52 different countries reached financial close. Just four were in the United States (pop. 327 million). There were three in Canada (pop. 37 million) and five in Australia, which has a population of 25 million. Feigenbaum blames inadequate state laws and federal policies.
Fowl play: Georgia continued to rank first in the nation in poultry production, as well as peanuts and pecans, according to the newly released 2017 Census of Agriculture by the federal Department of Agriculture. Damage from Hurricane Michael, which ravaged southwest Georgia last fall, will likely dent the state’s pecan ranking when the 2018 figures come out. Despite Georgia’s nickname as the “Peach State,” both California and South Carolina planted more acres of peaches in 2017.
Mental help: The University System of Georgia announced a 14-member task force to identify improvements in services for students dealing with mental illness, stress and anxiety. Suicide prevention is a key aim of the group, which is expected to make recommendations early next year. Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Grid unlocked: The demands of the 21st century, including greater use of renewable energy and more resiliency after storms, are putting Georgia’s electrical grid under strain, Brydon Ross writes for Insider Advantage. “This is like asking a Ford Model T to move as fast as a 2019 Chevy Corvette, or to download an entire movie on Netscape or AOL in minutes – those of us over the age of 30 remember a time when that took days because the infrastructure was, well, old.”
This month in the archives: In October 15 years ago, the Foundation published, “Take off Rose-Colored Glasses and See Suburbia.” It noted, “Nowadays, it’s a trip to the confessional when one admits to choosing a suburban lifestyle. Poor health, air pollution, traffic congestion, obesity and massacred trees are piled in the cul-de-sacs of conscience-stricken suburbanites.”
YouTube: Did you miss a Foundation event? Visit our YouTube Channel to view past events, including “License to Work,” the September 18 event in Savannah on occupational licensing, and “The Student-Loan Debt Dilemma,” the September 26 Higher Ed Happy Hour policy event.
Foundation in the news:
Visit www.georgiapolicy.org to read the Foundation’s latest commentary, “Leaving Cities: Millennials Aren’t Too Cool for School,” by Bartley Danielsen and Laura Elmer.
Have a great weekend!
Kyle Wingfield and Benita Dodd
FRIDAY FACTS is made possible by the generosity of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s donors. If you enjoy the FRIDAY FACTS, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help advance our important mission by clicking here. Visit our website at www.georgiapolicy.org.