Category: Transportation

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published an op-ed on May 19, 2015, about the Atlanta Streetcar by Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd, “A streetcar named denial.” Read it on the newspaper’s Web site here (subscription required); the full text is below. A streetcar named denial By Benita Dodd After almost five months of official Atlanta Streetcar operation, city officials are exploring route expansion to the Beltline. But storefronts boarded up and covered by newsprint along the route are their own news story on the economic-development promise. It may be that the promises are simply slow to be fulfilled. Nevertheless, looking ahead to Streetcar promises should require looking back on past promises. Deadlines: The streetcar was originally scheduled to begin operating in… View Article

The Concrete Road Less Traveled

By Benita M. Dodd What if you were told that 95 percent of Georgians are using a product that may not always be the best value for money? What if you were told that 95 percent of Georgia’s roads are asphalt, even though that may not always be the best value for money? “The whole point of competition in the market is to create economic efficiency which, by its very nature, means eliminating the less efficient producers,” economist and syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell wrote recently. Georgia’s concrete paving companies aren’t inefficient, but they have been overlooked. Working to overcome decades in second place is like turning a tanker. The state has the nation’s 10th-largest transportation system, 121,000 miles of road… View Article

UPDATED: Transportation Funding Update

How did we get here? The portion of Georgia’s motor fuel tax that is dedicated to transportation funding is among the lowest in the nation. Over the last decade, state leaders have diverted funds for maintenance into sorely needed new projects. Today, not only do we have a backup of needed maintenance (not unlike the years of neglected maintenance of the Atlanta sewer system) and additional debt to service, but we also need added investment to relieve some of the nation’s worst traffic congestion in Metro Atlanta and other bottlenecks throughout the state. What is the need? In our lengthy study, we determined Georgia needs $1 billion a year of new revenue to meet ongoing maintenance needs as well… View Article

Thoughts on the gas tax

The Tax Foundation has released a new report to help federal lawmakers figure out how to address transportation challenges. Some of the advice could also prove helpful to Georgia as we struggle with similar problems. From the Tax Foundation’s press release: If lawmakers decide to look for revenue instead of cutting trust fund spending, their source of revenue should be long-term and should connect drivers as closely to the cost of funding the roads as possible, according to the latest report from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. One option is to increase the gas tax, adjust it to inflation, and offset that increase by reducing another tax by the same amount of revenue. Besides being revenue neutral, there are good policy… View Article

Clearing Up Confusion over Transportation Funding

By Kelly McCutchen  The Georgia House of Representatives has presented legislation to help transportation funding. Its road to legislative success is already potholed with protests – from local government and education officials to those worried about higher taxes and more. As with the debate over the 2012 transportation sales tax referendum, the Georgia Public Foundation agrees the state requires greater funding – for needs, not “nice-to-haves.” We have provided detailed evidence of statewide needs that will cost a minimum of $1 billion a year. From a fiscally conservative viewpoint, it’s always better to prioritize existing spending rather than raise taxes. As the Foundation has pointed out several times, a good starting point is the more than 40 percent of transportation… View Article

Climate Change Rules Could Be the Death of You

This op-ed by Heartland Institute Research Fellow H. Sterling Burnett appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution at http://www.ajc.com/news/news/opinion/choose-the-vehicle-you-want/nj3TR/ Climate or Crash Risk in Your Vehicle Choice By H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D.  Environmentalists are coming after your car — again. And what they don’t want you to know is their crusade, if successful, would result in a multitude of unnecessary deaths.  With the false promise of reduced dependence on foreign oil, environmental radicals convinced Congress to establish Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards beginning in 1975. CAFE standards required cars to meet federally mandated fuel economy targets or pay a hefty tax, a tax on gas guzzling sedans. The results? Many people switched to smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. Others, however, started driving… View Article

Transportation Funding Matters: February 18

EVENT INVITATION January 27, 2015 Contact Benita Dodd at 404-256-4050 or benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org Foundation Tackles Transportation Funding at Feb. 18 Event Atlanta – The hot-button discussion has gone on for months: How will Georgia relieve traffic congestion and improve mobility, and what does the state need to do it? Is it more roads, more transit, more taxes or more options? Find out at, “Transportation Money Matters,” the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s 8 a.m. Leadership Breakfast on Wednesday, February 18, at Cobb County’s Georgian Club. The participants in this panel discussion are Georgia Public Policy Foundation President Kelly McCutchen and Baruch Feigenbaum, transportation analyst with the Reason Foundation. This Leadership Breakfast, which is open to the public, is $30 to… View Article
By Kelly McCutchen In politics, you must take advantage of windows of opportunity. Sometimes good ideas are sidetracked by unfortunate events, a bad economy or even personality conflicts among political leaders. Given the risk of delaying decisions, Georgia needs to address its transportation shortfall quickly and practically. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation rarely promotes more government spending. But transportation funding is due for an adjustment. The Georgia Department of Transportation consistently wins awards for getting projects done on time and on budget, but it can’t complete projects that aren’t funded. Georgia’s motor fuel excise tax hasn’t changed in 44 years, while fuel efficiency and inflation have steadily eroded the tax base and its purchasing power. The sales tax on motor… View Article

Transit findings’ not-so-silver linings

This op-ed by Benita Dodd, vice president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, was published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on January 6, 2015. By Benita Dodd An Onion report that 98 percent of Americans surveyed favor public transportation – for other commuters – is one that, since its publication in 2000, remains probably the satirical newsletter’s most reality-based article. Just this past November, an Atlanta Regional Commission survey found 70 percent of people in metro Atlanta – and 79 percent in Clayton County – consider public transportation “very important” to the region. Why is this relevant? The Census Bureau reports that just 3 percent of metro Atlanta residents use public transportation. The ARC omitted asking respondents whether they feel the… View Article

Transit Should Stay off Tracks and on the Road

By Baruch Feigenbaum This legislative session, the Georgia General Assembly is expected to tackle transportation reform, with many hoping lawmakers address both roadways and transit. It appears they will: At a recent transportation industry gathering, state leaders including Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle detailed the importance of transit. Unfortunately, Metro Atlanta has one of the most deficient transit systems of any major metro area in the country. A recent Brookings Institution study ranked Atlanta 10th worst in the country for combined access to transit and employment. Transit serves only 38 percent of metro Atlanta residents. Only 22 percent of jobs are accessible by transit. Only 3.4 percent of jobs are a 45-minute, one-way commute via transit. Only 21.7 percent of jobs… View Article

The Foundation should take a lot of pride in your influence on Georgia governmental policy over the past several years. If you look back on several things that you were crying in the wilderness about several years ago, you will find that Governor Miller adopted them…your influence and your pressure on that process has been a major factor in governmental policy in Georgia. You should be congratulated.

Governor Sonny Perdue more quotes