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.

Text Only
  • Successes continue at Dalton State College

    These are exciting times for our local college, Dalton State, both on campus and off.

    April 16, 2014

  • Mark Millican: The birds hushed their singing

    For the uninitiated, that line is from what many consider the greatest rock song of all time, “Stairway to Heaven,” by Led Zeppelin.

    April 15, 2014

  • Misty Watson: When blood sugar drops, anger rises

    It wouldn’t have taken 107 married couples and 21 days to figure out that being hungry makes people angry.

    April 15, 2014

  • Working for the man

    You may be one of the many Americans who will rush to file their income taxes today. But you may not yet have earned enough money to pay all of the taxes that will be imposed on you this year.

    April 15, 2014

  • Letter: The glib tongue, the fake smile

    A recent Daily Citizen column by Walter Williams will both awaken and frighten any thinking person who claims even a smidgen of knowledge about — or belief in —  either the Bible, world history or current events.

    April 15, 2014

  • College soccer team would bring local talent together

    Dreams of combining the best soccer players from all local high schools into one team finally could come true.

    April 13, 2014

  • Letter: Primaries feature many choices

    Many people are confused this year about the May 20 Election Day. Unfortunately, very few voters in Whitfield County actually go to the polls for a primary election. But this means any increase in participation can have a significant impact.

    April 12, 2014

  • Letter: Hooper for Murray chief magistrate

    Thanks to all the wonderful people and friends who backed me for District 1 Murray County Board of Education. You sure showed a lot of support. Sorry I had to step down due to my and my wife’s health. I am a lot better now.

    April 12, 2014

  • Judicial dispute could have been avoided

    Judicial elections in Whitfield and Murray counties tend to be low key. In fact, we can’t recall the last time an incumbent judge on the Conasauga Superior Court, which cover the two counties, has even faced a challenger.

    April 12, 2014

  • Citizen of the Week: Jonathan Rose

    Running for exercise is a popular hobby among many local residents, but at least one racing enthusiast plans to take his fun a step further today.

    April 11, 2014