Category: Transportation

Confusion Takes Its Toll on Transportation Solutions

By Benita M. Dodd Are toll roads HOT, and when is HOT not cool? That’s not a trick question or a riddle. It’s a serious policy consideration, and whether the lack of distinction between toll roads and High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes is deliberate or unintended, the consequences could be dire. Confusion about whether, when, where and how the state should allow toll roads or HOT lanes threatens to undermine this state’s ability to utilize an increasingly popular and vital transportation tool. Why is the ability to charge tolls vital? The Georgia Department of Transportation’s statewide transportation plan through 2025 anticipates $36 billion in federal and state revenues, but it estimates “needed” transportation projects will cost the state $51 billion. Georgia… View Article

HOT Lanes Moving Right Along For Georgia

By Benita M. Dodd Help is finally on the way for frustrated travelers once resigned to the absence of wide-open roads in metro Atlanta as policy-makers conquer the anti-automobile agenda and focus on reality-based transportation solutions. Two promising signs came just this week. One was the Atlanta Regional Commission’s official adoption of its $53 billion Mobility 2030 transportation plan for the region. The ARC allocates more than half of the $53 billion to routine maintenance and operations. About $8.2 billion will add roadway capacity; $5 billion will increase transit capacity; $4.6 billion will add high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes; about $3 billion will focus on transportation technology and $1.1 billion will be spent on bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Unfortunately, the ARC… View Article
By Steve Stancil (Excerpts from the transcript of the Sept. 14 speech by Steve Stancil, executive director of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation Policy Briefing Luncheon.) This region has a traffic problem, and we don’t have enough money to fix it. With the $50 billion that will be available over the next 25 years for transportation improvements, we’re barely going to hold the line on congestion. That’s not totally bad – because we sure aren’t holding the line on population. Our population is going to increase by 2.3 million over the next 25 years – about half from births and half moving in – and none of them are bringing transportation infrastructure with them.… View Article

Agenda 2005: A Guide To The Issues

Transportation Agenda Traffic congestion, while inconvenient, is a sign of a thriving economy. Focus transportation planning on increasing mobility. Facilitate private enterprise involvement in transportation improvements. Rethink how we price roads. Plan for increased capacity in growing urban areas. Relieve congestion by expediting truck traffic. Encourage types of transit that are competitive with automobiles. Deregulate the urban transit market to improve service and choice. Utilize competitive contracting to reduce costs. Reduce the role of the federal government in the transportation funding equation. Use objective criteria in choosing commuter and intercity passenger rail routes. Facts The Federal Highway Administration expects vehicle miles of travel to increase by another 42 percent between 2003 and 2020, with the growth rate for heavy trucks… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd My trip downtown never was the mythical five miles barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways. It did, however, once use up a good part of the day. That B.C. (before cars) memory came flooding back recently as I read a couple of reports trumpeting the benefits of public transportation. An Oakland (Calif.) Tribune story headlined, “Trains, boats beat cars in transit race to airport,” reported that a team of transit riders beat a team of drivers in a morning commute competition. And in a Sierra Club report, “Missing the Train: How the Bush Administration’s Transportation Proposal Threatens Jobs, Commutes, and Public Transit Ridership,” the environmental group declared federal funding for public transportation inadequate, noting that… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd There’s a belief that the only reason proponents of airport privatization want the city of Atlanta to hand over airport operations to the private sector is so that it would operate more efficiently, therefore cost-efficiently. The airport is already operating efficiently, some say, and that negates the need for privatization. The bottom line is this: The city of Atlanta says it needs $3.2 billion to upgrade its sewer system or it faces court-ordered economic decline brought on by sewer moratoriums. Its options are to obtain the money from ratepayers, continuing to ratchet up sewer rates to the extent that industry and wealthier residents relocate while the 25 percent of households that are low-income must be subsidized.… View Article
By Wendell Cox and Ronald D. Utt As much as 20 percent of federal transportation funding goes to transit, which serves less than 2 percent of travelers. Of the many rationales offered in defense of disproportionately high transit spending, the most novel put forth this year is the bizarre claim by the Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP) that auto ownership by the working poor leads to a more limited standard of living and diminished home ownership opportunities. Members of lower-income households who cannot afford cars account for a majority (approximately two-thirds) of today’s transit riders, and the emergence of prosperity among this group threatens transit with the loss of its captive constituency and further shrinkage of its miniscule market share.… View Article

State Needs to Come Around to Roundabouts

By Dan Winn Even a transportation novice observing the graceful traffic flow around Ellijay’s bustling town square in Northeast Georgia would come away mystified that there are so few circular intersections, or “roundabouts,” in the state and the nation. Like Ellijay’s 2-year-old roundabout surrounding a memorial to slain warriors, these traffic devices have a whole lot more than grace going for them. As a more efficient method of moving traffic through most intersections, they have the potential to save this nation millions of gallons of gasoline and millions of hours in commute time, all while reducing traffic deaths and injuries. A roundabout, in its simplest form, is a circle of road that surrounds a raised island in the middle of… View Article
By Ronald Utt Recent projections by the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office reveal that the highway trust fund will run out of money during FY 2009. Unless the fund is replenished soon, federal spending on highways could decline significantly as the fund reverts to a spend-as-you-earn basis until a permanent remedy is enacted. Until then, one solution is to re-concentrate the fund’s focus on highway investment and safety by abandoning the many low priority and non-transportation diversions that now encumber the federal program. The soon-to-be-empty trust fund is a direct consequence of recent congressional overspending in excess of the fuel tax revenues that replenish the fund as well as decades of congressional mandates allowing non-highway… View Article

Metro Motorists Pay When State Doesn’t

By Benita M. Dodd Driving on metro Atlanta’s roads is reminiscent of that fifties fad in which college students staged elaborate contests to squeeze the most people into a phone booth. Only, for motorists in the nation’s ninth-largest metro area, the congestion is no passing fad; it has become a way of life. Who’s to blame depends on who’s pointing the finger, and the named culprits include: the feds, for freezing new highway spending; “sprawl” – that lifestyle choice in which families opt to live the American dream in subdivisions far from the madding crowd; “anti-automobile extremism,” which leads to unrealistic transportation alternatives that put a hurt on the cul-de-sac crowd, and the metro area’s magnetism, which is drawing more… View Article

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Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers more quotes