Benita Dodd's blog

The wrong road to regional transportation solutions

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An annual survey of the nation’s roads by the Reason Foundation reveals a lot about congestion in Georgia. The state is ranked 10th in the nation for spending on maintenance but 39th for capital spending. It was No. 1 for the condition of its interstates, but at 31 in the nation for the percent of urban congestion.

Put simply, Georgia’s roads are in great condition because they’re well maintained. But they’re congested because the state lags in adding capacity. And the state’s most congested urban region seems set to miss the best opportunity yet. Read More»

EPA’s exercise in futility

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The federal Environmental Protection Agency was in Atlanta on May 26 to hold a daylong hearing – one of just three nationwide – on its proposed Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) regulations for utilities. The passionate – if sometimes misguided – comments came from representatives of utilities, power plant neighbors, Native Americans, environmental activists, grassroots groups and the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.

The Foundation’s comments focused on three aspects of the proposed MACT rules:

• The cost to industry and consumers in Georgia Read More»

EPA regulations for utilities an expensive exercise in futility

Benita Dodd's picture

The federal Environmental Protection Agency was in Atlanta on May 26 to hold a daylong hearing – one of just three nationwide – on its proposed Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) regulations for utilities. The passionate – if sometimes misguided – comments came from representatives of utilities, power plant neighbors, Native Americans, environmental activists, grassroots groups and the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.

The Foundation’s comments focused on three aspects of the proposed MACT rules:

• The cost to industry and consumers in Georgia Read More»

Ga. Medicaid program needs a big dose of reality

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Much like the tale of the blind men and the elephant, proposals to reform Medicaid are influenced by the perspective: Taxpayers see lighter paychecks; beneficiaries see increased coverage; state budget writers see a spiraling commitment. Liberals see a need for a bigger program to cover more people and conservatives see an opportunity to do better with less government. Still, all are aware of this elephant in the room.

Without a doubt, the entitlement program for qualified low-income elderly, disabled, children and families is consuming an increasing portion of the state budget. Read More»

Here are 6 smarter ways to Sunday drive in Georgia

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Transportation policy may not have been the priority during the legislative session, but in the long shadow of the Gold Dome, proposals, plans, ideas and reports were moving right along. And now that the regular legislative session is over, expect greater focus on the good, the bad and the ugly of future transportation decisions for Georgia.

There’s no denying Georgia needs to spend more on transportation infrastructure. Congestion that is currently mitigated by economic woes will worsen as more people go back to work and companies grow again. The devil, however, is in the details. Read More»

Home remedies for healthcare ills

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In a month in which the crafters of the new federal healthcare law probably needed trauma care, two of Georgia’s best known physicians were attending a Georgia Public Policy Foundation event focused on what’s next. Both are known more for their passion than their profession. Both are authors of new books inspired by this ongoing controversy; both offer solutions, not snake oil. Read More»

Despite bad idea of extending Ga. 400 toll, more toll roads in Ga. should be considered

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Who said Georgia’s policy-makers aren’t into railroads? Not those who watched in September as two transportation agencies railroaded passage of a 10-year extension of the 50 cents toll on Georgia 400. The surprise move seriously diminished the lure of toll roads for metro Atlanta. Commuters, taxpayers and policy-makers must hope, however, that the bad taste will recede: The concept has to survive.

Tolls are not just a source of funding as the impact of the gas tax shrinks. They are also a tool for congestion mitigation. Read More»

Putting nuclear energy in the right light for solving our energy crisis

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Support for nuclear energy has increased steadily since Gallup began polling Americans in 1994 on the issue. Then, 57 percent supported using nuclear power to generate electricity. This year, it was 62 percent. Even as support inches forward, however, innovation is at risk of being crushed under the heel of the vocal minority.

Electricity demands are expected to increase 27 percent by 2030 in the Southeast, where bountiful but unpopular fossil fuels generate much of the energy. Georgia’s energy generation, half of which is coal-powered, is the cleanest it has ever been. Read More»

Nobody’s taking the train — except the policymakers

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The drumbeat for more public transportation by planners and policy-makers rises in inverse proportion to the public’s enthusiasm. The reality of the steady decline in Americans’ use of public transportation fades into the background, overwhelmed by transit-oriented hype.

It started with “smart growth” and “new urbanism.” Now this elitist focus on public transit as the solution to congestion now has a frightening hold on the U.S. Department of Transportation. Read More»

With regional SPLOST in place, where next for transportation?

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The Georgia Legislature has finally approved a funding mechanism for transportation. Next comes the jockeying for placement on project lists among advocates, agencies and authorities for the various modes.

Just because there’s finally an opportunity for transportation funding, however, doesn’t mean throwing good money after bad. Taxpayers must be vigilant and demand sound solutions and bang for their buck – or their 1 percent sales tax, to be precise. Read More»

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