Category: Transportation

Global Trade Recovery Holds Promise for Georgia

  By Mike Klein   Global trade has begun a steady recovery from worldwide recession that could last for several years, far outpacing anticipated U.S. annual GDP growth and providing an opportunity for Georgia to capitalize on the import-export economy.   Leading the global trade recovery are autos, metals, chemicals and commodities, Paul Bingham, director of IHS-Global Insight, told more than 800 guests at the 2010 Georgia Logistics Summit today (April 29) at the Cobb Galleria.   IHS-Global Insight, a global analytics firm that tracks worldwide economic trends, predicts the U.S. economy will see 3.0 percent real GDP growth this year and through 2012. Global trade is predicted to rebound 11.9 percent this year, and more than 7 percent each of the next… View Article
  By Mike Klein   Think about this image. You are traveling down one of Georgia’s splendid highways and suddenly a train carrying coal hurtles past in a near blur. High speed rail discussion is usually about moving people. But how about moving coal and other cargo at high speeds?   “Definitely we could and we should,” says Page Siplon, executive director at the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, which describes itself as “Georgia’s leading resource for accelerating logistics growth and competitiveness in the state.”   Most folks don’t associate coal with Georgia, but they should. Rail cars haul more than 40 million tons of black gold across the state every year. That is 800 percent more tonnage than grain, the next… View Article

Transportation Planning: A Long Road Ahead

By Benita M. Dodd The Georgia Department of Transportation’s Draft Statewide Strategic Plan released this month reflects the state’s transportation approach for the next 20 years and, it’s promising that this time it’s two steps forward and just one step back. Amid ongoing discord about transportation solutions and funding options, observers must demand Georgia not shoot itself in the foot while hobbling ahead. The plan outlines a transportation strategy for Georgia to create 425,000 jobs and $480 billion in economic benefits through additional investment, regional and local partnerships “and a new paradigm of results-based investments in public infrastructure.” The DOT deserves credit for making some tough admissions in the draft plan, which notes that after two decades of under-investment, the… View Article

Five Ways Technology can Transform Transportation

By Steve Dickerson   The information technology wave is engulfing nearly all productive activities, based on the ever cheaper and capable power of computing and communications. Transportation modes, too, can benefit from the efficiencies of the technologies of cellular communications with global positioning systems (GPS) and Bluetooth.   Generally, the only hardware required would be a smart phone such as a BlackBerry or iPhone equipped with GPS and radio frequency (RF) communications, cellular and Bluetooth-type technology. For some applications GPS is not needed; any modern cell phone will do. The other basic assumptions are that shared rides include carpools, vanpools, buses, and rail transit; and shared cars such as ZipCar will be available. Commuters would subscribe to a cellular-based transportation support system… View Article

Ten Principles to Drive Transportation Policy

By Benita M. Dodd Sometimes, you can judge a book by its cover. The 2009 Transportation MAP – Metropolitan Atlanta Performance – Report released in October is available at It offers a “snapshot” of performance relative to mobility, transit accessibility, air quality and safety. Yet it’s the cover picture that paints a thousand words. The photograph shows the crowded regular lanes of the Downtown Connector, the spot in the center of Atlanta where Interstates 75 and 85 merge. The high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes are practically empty; a lone bus travels down one HOV lane; the HOV entrance ramp is barely occupied and the regular entrance ramp is clogged. The report cites improvement overall, but the cover epitomizes metro… View Article

Georgia Deserves Fair Share of Highway Funds

By Jeff Flake and Ronald Utt Georgia clearly could use an extra $206 million a year to fix its roads and bridges. And it could get that much – without increasing taxes, without cutting other government programs and without borrowing. Georgia and about two dozen other states pay far more fuel taxes into the federal highway trust fund than they ever get back. If Georgia and the other so-called “donor” states were to join forces, the state can start getting its fair share. The combined effort is essential. It will take a concerted push to get Congress to remedy the situation. Many lawmakers fear offending their colleagues from states that get more than their fair share from the trust fund.… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd They weren’t playing nice at the Capitol this year, and when legislators grabbed their toys and went home, neither chamber had won the transportation legislation tug-of war. Just because no agreement on funding was reached, however, doesn’t put the brakes on Georgia transportation policy.   First, despite the criticism over their disagreement, it’s just as well for Georgians that senators and representatives couldn’t find common ground over whether a statewide or regional one-cent sales tax plan could fund transportation. Why? Because carte blanche is passé. Georgians deserve better. They deserve a plan, to know what they’re voting for before they’re asked to pay higher taxes. And because just as Georgians must constrain their spending to their budget,… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd The standoff among the House, the Senate and the Governor’s office over competing transportation proposals continues under Georgia’s Gold Dome, but the Department of Transportation isn’t standing still. The DOT is moving right along with its plan to take Georgia commuters into the 21st century with a series of open houses through April focusing on the state’s first high-occupancy toll (HOT) lane project. The pilot project, expected to be operational in January 2011, would convert 14.3 miles of high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to HOT lanes on Interstate 85 between Chamblee-Tucker Road (south of I-285 in DeKalb County) and Old Peachtree Road in Gwinnett County. The Georgia DOT intends the segment as the first of “a future… View Article

Road to Congestion Relief Leads … Somewhere Else

By Benita M. Dodd “If you build it, they will come,” was the mantra for opponents of road-building in metro Atlanta, the economic engine of Georgia. So we didn’t build “it.” And still “they” came. Now “it” is almost too expensive. It still needs to be built – just somewhere else, so that those who don’t need to come won’t come. That, in a nutshell, is what the region needs to do to add the necessary capacity for traffic in metro Atlanta. McKinsey and Co., consultants to the Governor’s IT3 transportation plan (Investing in Tomorrow’s Transportation Today) pointed out the challenge recently: “Over the last 10-20 years, Georgia has undermanaged and underinvested in its assets. The lack of improvement to… View Article
By Chick Krautler A recent fact-finding mission to Texas, led by Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, was an excellent opportunity for Georgia’s state and regional transportation policy-makers to learn from folks who have made progress in attacking their congestion and mobility challenges through tolling, alternative funding and alternative project delivery.  Georgia’s Department of Transportation (DOT) is tackling a funding and project delivery crisis and the Governor is developing a statewide transportation strategy through the IT3 (Investing in Tomorrow’s Transportation Today) program.  Texas faces many of the problems that Georgia does. A fast growing state with significant congestion in its urban centers, it has an estimated transportation funding shortfall of $66 billion and limited opportunities for new taxes. Its aggressive approach to… View Article

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