Category: The Forum

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 Mac Gibson and Josh Belinfante A rural Georgia hospital was forced to forego renovations and an expansion of its emergency room.[1] Family practitioners in central Georgia can no longer afford the medical malpractice insurance premiums that accompany delivering children or performing Caesarian sections.[2] Many radiologists are no longer reading mammograms because it can make their premiums unaffordable.[3] Malpractice lawsuits and insurance premiums are skyrocketing, and the litigation juggernaut affects the lives of Georgians every day. Georgia is representative of several states across the nation. The American Medical Association currently lists 19 states, including Georgia, as having a “medical malpractice crisis.”[4] A major cause of the crisis is the dramatic increases in the number of medical… View Article
By Grace-Marie Turner The health sector is poised to enter a dramatic new era of consumer-driven health care. People are demanding more control over decisions involving their health care and medical coverage. And the Internet allows consumers easy access to a wealth of medical information that was available only to professionals as recently as a few years ago. But public policy is lagging behind. It is suited to an Industrial Age, not our Information Age. Private and public sector bureaucracies, not consumers, still are in charge because they control the finances and therefore the decisions. The United States has been struggling for decades to find a way to provide its citizens with access to health insurance. We have expanded existing… 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
By Kelly McCutchen From an economic perspective, it’s not surprising that health care costs keep rising. Although we may not believe it so, most of us are insulated from the majority of health care costs by a tax code that favors employer-purchased health insurance. We pre-pay the majority of our health care expenses through health insurance. But because employers bear most of the cost of insurance for the average employee, most people have no idea how much their insurance really costs. Employees who complain, for example, when their co-payments for an office visit increase from $10 to $25, often are  oblivious that their annual insurance premium – paid for by their employer – may have increased by $1,000.  Co-payments and… View Article
By Steve Pociask Bankruptcies and layoffs have become commonplace in the information technology sector, particularly for telecommunications service providers and equipment manufacturers.  The apparent downturn comes despite the promise of deregulation and increased competition that were to bring significant consumer benefits.   At one time it appeared that competition might slowly replace regulation.  Starting with the divestiture of AT&T, competition emerged with the entry of long distance, wireless and cable TV providers, which invested in network infrastructure and vended their services to the public.  Regulators adopted simple price adjustment formulae for local telephone services as a means to automate rate changes, thereby eliminating costly and time-consuming regulatory proceedings, as well as allowing incentives for efficient investment.  The Internet was commercialized with… 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

Tolls Could Bail Metro Area Out of Congestion

By Benita M. Dodd  Transportation expert Robert Poole found an unusually receptive audience for his congestion-relief proposals at a recent Georgia Public Policy Foundation Leadership Breakfast. The founder of the Reason Foundation, whose 1988 policy paper inspired a California private tollway law that became a national prototype, was discussing his newest proposal for relieving congestion in eight metropolitan areas, including Atlanta. Instead of adding high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to highways, Poole says, metro Atlanta should construct a network of high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes. Buses and van pools would travel free and unimpeded on dedicated lanes funded in part by motorists willing to pay a variable price by electronic toll to escape the congestion. It’s not pie-in-the-sky:HOT lanes already are operating… View Article

Name one other organization in the state that does what the Foundation does. You can’t.

Independent survey of Georgia business leaders on the Foundation. more quotes