May 24, 2008

Twists and Turns on the Road to Transportation Solutions

There are some things that Georgians clamoring for a way out of traffic congestion simply must accept. Such as the need to direct more money and innovative solutions to this state's transportation challenges. There are others that policy-makers endlessly repeat in an attempt to condition the public into acceptance. Such as "commuter rail" and "subsidy."

Since transportation funding legislation failed to gain a constitutional majority in the Georgia Legislature, the task of funding the state's needs is tougher. But it's not insurmountable, especially with a little leadership and a lot of restraint. Georgians rightfully are reluctant to give government carte blanche when it appears transportation officials have lost control of what they already had to work with. Or, as Ronald Reagan once said, "Government is like a baby: an alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other."

Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Gena Abraham proffers hope for the future of transportation policy on several fronts. Not surprisingly, the crowd at a recent Georgia Public Policy Foundation Policy Briefing Luncheon nodded in agreement when she said, "We are facing a transportation funding crisis ... We need more funds for transportation."

The DOT is in a heap of trouble, much of it made public since Abraham took over in January. At the Policy Briefing Luncheon, she revealed that 8,476 projects are on the books at the Department of Transportation but just 1,345 actually have someone actively assigned to them. The department workload last year was just 270 projects. The active cases total $29.5 billion; the annual budget of the state DOT is about $2.1 billion. And highway construction costs have risen 35 percent in the last 10 years.

So it was promising that the DOT commissioner talked about prioritizing projects and innovative financing options such as tolling and congestion pricing. Congestion pricing (such as time of day tolls) not only maintains free-flowing traffic, it benefits transit by reducing the subsidy to highway users, making transit more attractive and allowing transit operators to move fares closer to actual cost instead of huge subsidies.

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    August means children across the state are headed back to school, and for parents that means it’s time to buy new shoes and clothes for children who have outgrown their old ones. It means it’s time to buy new school supplies, and it may even mean it’s time to get a child a new computer to do their school work.

    July 30, 2014

  • "We’ve had a great ride"

    For 60 years, the Green Spot has been a part of Dalton. It survived long after most other locally owned grocery stores in the area had folded to competition from big chain grocery stores and to big box super stores.

    July 29, 2014

  • Charles Oliver: Traveler from a district in Columbia?

    Jim Gray was traveling out of Orlando International Airport when a Transportation Security Administration officer tried to stop him from boarding his plane.

    July 29, 2014

  • Letter: Children are not the enemy

    We recently read somewhere that our country is at war, not with another nation but with one another.

    July 29, 2014

  • Ensuring the joy of reading

    They’re little, they’re libraries, and best of all, they’re free.

    July 28, 2014

  • Move carefully, but soon

    No one intended for it to happen. No one had any bad motives.
    But during a period of 40 years or more, quite a few people didn’t do enough planning, didn’t have enough foresight to see what all of the development in Dalton would do.

    July 27, 2014

  • Local school systems must bear costs of federal immigration failure

    No word. No warning. Little help.
    That’s what Dalton Public Schools officials received from the federal government when it dropped 30 Central American students into local classrooms last school year.

    July 26, 2014

  • Sacrifices worth honoring

    Members of the Dalton City Council were recently approached by representatives of the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart with a request to declare Dalton a Purple Heart City. Council members indicated they will approve the request.

    July 24, 2014

  • We must do better

    The numbers tell a sad tale.
    Registered voters: 36,843.
    Cards cast: 5,307.
    That means the turnout for Tuesday’s runoffs in Whitfield County was a measly 14.4 percent, according to unofficial results from the Whitfield County elections office.

    July 23, 2014

  • Letter: Control immigration

    Thousands are starting to pour into our country, and things are getting personal. Why would we end up the bad guys if we turn away children who aren’t ours? How does it make us better people to let one man steal from our children and stand by and do nothing?

    July 23, 2014