Position Paper: Transportation

Erick Allen official Statement on Transportation and Transit.

As any Cobb County resident will tell you, transportation may be the biggest issue facing our county and our state.  We’re tired of sitting in traffic for hours on end —valuable time that could be better spent earning our living or relaxing with our families. From a broader perspective, our failure to adequately address the infrastructure needs of our state will surely result in negative economic effects in the form of lost jobs, lost corporate citizens, and lost revenue.  Improving our transportation infrastructure and public transit is an economic imperative for Cobb County.

 

In 2015, the Georgia General Assembly spent the session coming to terms on an agreement to increase transportation funding in Georgia by approximately $1 billion per year – a figure that analysts said was the bare minimum needed to repair and maintain our existing infrastructure. Other studies suggested that expanding transit and widening our most congested highways would cost between $3 and4 billion.  The General Assembly ultimately raised the $1 billion in additional funds predominantly by imposing an excise, or use tax on gasoline, levying a nightly hotel tax, and eliminating tax credits on electric and alternative-fuel vehicles.  Notably, additional millions of future bond improvements for public transit were promised in that discussion as well.

 

Legislators on both sides of the aisle worked together to make these critical investments, because they understand that we can’t have school buses crossing crumbling bridges and roads. Our economy cannot thrive if people struggle to find ways to get to work because they do not have access to a car. Even former Republican Rep. Edward Lindsey stated just two years ago, Georgia (and Cobb County by extension) must “fix transportation, or risk fading away.”

 

The 2015 legislation addressed the bare minimum needed to keep our roads and bridges functional.  But the fact remains that the current state Representative in House District 40 voted against it. It is time he answers for his vote against improving our infrastructure and expanding public transit.

 

Cobb County needs a representative who will be a leading voice on our community’s sustained growth and development – not someone who votes against our interests and refuses to explain why. Ironically, part of the $75 million bond package included in the aforementioned transportation legislation was awarded to Cobb County for the development of infrastructure around SunTrust Park, which Rep. Golick voted against. The issues presented by increasing population densities, congested highways, and public-private development like the new Braves stadium necessitate strong, proactive leadership on transportation issues — leadership that I intend to provide should I have the privilege of being elected to serve Cobb County this November.  Rich Golick had the opportunity to provide that leadership, and decided not to. It is time for a representative who will step up to the plate and lead the charge to bring our infrastructure into the 21st century.

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