Atlanta’s traffic is creating gridlock in terms of the area’s economic growth, according to the Metro Atlanta Chamber, MAC.
While Georgia is the third-fastest growing state in the nation, transportation funding per-capita is next to last. The result is about what one would expect; the state’s traffic is the third-worst in the country. Companies say repeatedly that traffic is a major factor when deciding whether to bring or keep business in the state.
The only way to fill the office space and the empty homes in and around Atlanta,and to get the city’s economic engine humming again, is to bring more business,and consequently more jobs, to the area. If traffic is an impediment to that end result, state leaders need to act now, according to the chamber. MAC is pushing a regional funding authorization with statewide application. There is already a funding bill and a constitutional amendment in conference committee between the House and Senate, which follows years of debate and study, according MAC officials.
Atlanta’s traffic woes are costing metro Atlanta economically, and need to be addressed in a meaningful, impactful and reasonable way. Here is the criteria MAC has laid out for a new transportation funding solution:
• generate enough funding to provide congestion relief
• be open to all modes of transportation
• require a clear list of defined projects – determined bythe current federal process – and include strong fiscal accountability measures, and have a meaningful impact on quality-of-life and economiccompetitiveness
• The chamber supports converting the state’s motor fuel excise tax, last adjusted in 1971 to 7.5 cents per gallon, to a revenue-neutral sales and use tax. Such a conversion would help stabilize the state transportation program over time, providing needed capital for critical safety repairs and key statewide corridors.
• MAC supports allowing MARTA, which carries more than 500,000 passenger trips daily, the flexibility to access capital reserves to maintain service during this severe economic downturn. No other comparable transit system in the country has such onerous restrictions in addition to receiving no state budgetary support.