Amazon hunt may be forcing a Cobb County shift on transit

AP file/Paul Sakuma

There’s nothing like being left out of the money to force a rethinking of policy.

In today’s Marietta Daily Journal, we have an account of a Monday meeting between Gov. Nathan Deal and Cobb County leaders. The latter are worried that they — and Gwinnett County — might be left out of the hunt for a new Amazon.com headquarters because of transportation issues.

Deal has promised an all-out effort to capture the economic development prize. But the dot.com giant has listed access to transit as a condition for a $5 billion second headquarters that could eventually employ 50,000 — which would seem to leave swaths of suburban Atlanta out of the running.

Among those attending the Monday session were state Sen. Lindsey Tippens, a Republican from west Cobb, and Gary Bottoms, chairman of the Cobb Chamber. From the newspaper:

What is needed, Bottoms argued, is an overarching transportation committee that pulls together all the individual county committees to offer solutions to metro Atlanta’s traffic congestion…

Bottoms said Deal was on board with the idea of such a unifying transit committee and charged Tippins to meet with the heads of the Senate and House transportation committees, and their leadership and report back to see what could be accomplished.

Consider this one more piece of evidence that January and the 2018 session of the Legislature could bring some significant shifts in the state commitment to mass transit.

***

Speaking of get-around-ability, the godfather of the Beltline has endorsed the project’s godmother in the race for Atlanta mayor.

Ryan Gravel, who dreamed up the idea to turn rail lines circling the city into a necklace of trails and parks, said he’s backing Cathy Woolard because the “Beltline wasn’t possible without her, and because its promise needs her to survive.”

Woolard was one of the biggest champions of Gravel’s idea while Atlanta City Council president in the early 2000s, and she’s put the legacy of the project at the heart of her campaign. “If you like the Beltline now, you’re going to love it when I’m mayor,” her campaign website reads.

The project has had its growing pains. The Beltline’s chief executive was forced to resign in August amid sharp questions on the program’s affordable housing policies.

A July investigation by the AJC and Georgia News Lab found that the Beltline had funded so few of the 5,600 affordable homes that the city required it to create that it may never reach its 2030 goal. Some of the affordable housing units it did create already are starting to vanish.

***

The Trump administration, under White House pressure provide backing for a reduction in the number of refugees allowed into the United States, has rejected a study by the Department of Health and Human Services that found that those fleeing from abroad have generated $63 billion more in government revenues over the past decade than they cost, according to the New York Times.

***
State Sen. Michael Williams of Cumming, a pro-Trump candidate in the GOP race for governor, is again trying something beyond the usual norms of campaigning. He’s leading a protest that calls for the firing of a specific Cherokee County high school teacher of mathematics, who attempted to require a pair of students to turn their Trump t-shirts inside out. He had planned to hold the protest at the entrance of River Ridge High School in Woodstock, but has shifted the location. Cherokee County schools are on fall break.
***

Over at Flagpole magazine, Blake Aued tells us that the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee may be fixin’ to get ready to boot Mayor Nancy Denson from the governing body because her support for a Republican in a special election to replace state Rep. Regina Quick, the Republican recipient of a recent judgeship.Denson held a fundraiser for Houston Gaines, her former campaign manager — and most recently, past student body president of UGA. He’s running against Democrat Deborah Gonzalez. Denson notes she was leaving the committee anyway, so that she can continue her support for Gaines, saying: “As an American, as an Athenian and a Georgian, I want the best candidate.”

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Qualifying for state Rep. Geoff Duncan’s Cumming-based district starts on Wednesday and ends Friday. The Republican resigned weeks ago to run for lieutenant governor, leaving his ruby-red district vacant. The vote for Duncan’s seat and several other open state legislative spots will be held on Nov. 7.

Still uncertain is the fate of two other soon-to-be vacated seats. Republican state Rep. Bruce Broadrick of Dalton said Friday he was stepping down, citing health reasons. And Democratic state Rep. Keisha Waites of Atlanta is leaving her seat to run for Fulton County Commission chair.

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Brian Kemp’s top aide is leaving state government for a gig with one of the state’s most prominent regulatory law firms. David Dove is headed to the Robbins Firm in October, where he plans to focus on municipal and election law litigation. He was Kemp’s chief of staff for nearly two years, and previously served as his deputy general counsel and interim director of the office’s elections division.

***

Here’s a sentence we never thought we’d write: Stacey Abrams beat out Kevin Durant and Colin Kaepernick. The Democratic candidate for governor was named the 16th most influential black American between the ages 25-45 by The Root – just ahead of Durant, Kaepernick and other big names. Check out the entire list here.

***

Over at Defense News, U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., appears to be testing his chops as an action-adventure novelist. His opening paragraphs in a recent op-ed:

The hot, dry air hit us like a wave as we stepped off the ramp of the CH-47 helicopter onto the gravel surrounding Technical Base Gamberi in East Afghanistan. As a young U.S. Army officer greeted us, he warned that the base was often the target of indirect fire. Another jarring reminder that American forces are still engaged in the longest war in our nation’s history in Afghanistan.

It was July 4th, Independence Day, and I was in Afghanistan to meet with U.S. military leaders, diplomats, and Afghan political officials about another independence – that of Afghanistan’s freedom from the tyranny of terrorism and instability – and America’s role in the region.

Actually, the article was a full-throated defense of President Donald Trump’s Afghanistan policy.

Reader Comments 5

9 comments
OldEngineer
OldEngineer

Cobb would likely not be a viable loaction for Amazon, given their - ahem - historical reluctance to adopt mass transit, address traffic issues, the dislike of brown and non-hetero people - and, well, the list is long.

haroem
haroem

"...adding passenger rail to the Western & Atlantic tracks would be far easier because the tracks are already used for freight."


yeah. genius. let people use marta to get to the GWCC then transfer to a non-marta train on a non-existent depot to run up a spur to a non-existent marietta square depot where there will be plenty of space to build an amazon HQ.


who do these jokers think they're kidding? amazon is gonna laugh in your face when you throw down "western & atlantic tracks" as your solution to mass transit for cobb county.  If there were already a passenger rail on the kennesaw > marietta > vinings > atlanta line back when they were building to north springs then you'd at least have the spoke complete by now and could be working on "kennesaw to north springs" connectors and "vinings to west end" connectors, but instead you're gonna try to build a 1 way passenger spur to put a band-aid on the stupidity of the past political generations, and hope that the entity that is replacing both sears and wal-mart at the same time doesn't notice.

atik
atik

All these issues were first addressed years ago, beginning with the first referendum to enable the construction of a rapid rail line serving all of the metropolitan counties - MARTA.  Sadly some of these metropolitan counties refused to endorse MARTA - mostly to do with racial issues.  As one of MARTA's initial five employees, and one of the two-person Public Information team, I suffered many an ethnic battering at public hearings, some of which threatened to become physical.  We did our best to explain what would happen down the road if good public transportation were not available.  I have just one question:  who's sorry now?

PJ25
PJ25

@atik I'm not sorry neither is any homeowner in a county that doesn't have MARTA buses.

The worst three things a county can have long term is public busing, apartments on every corner and large amounts of run down rental homes.  Just ask Cobb and Gwinnett. 

BK37
BK37

@atik Your point was just proven by PJ25's response.

BK37
BK37

I wonder how many people are still against mass transit because they're soooo scared of the "brown people" coming to do bad things.

lkjlkjadsf
lkjlkjadsf

I don't think this will change anything with regards to state funding of transit. What I think we'll happen: for fear of voting for a tax increase, they'll kick it to the taxpayers to vote on a sales tax increase. And while I have no issue with a gas tax increase, I will not vote for a sales tax increase, just like I didn't last time.

They take that as, "Well, the voters don't support transit." No, it's some of us don't support the continued increase in sales taxes because they're so regressive. I'll take 20 cents per gallon over half-a-cent in sales tax.


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Darid220
Darid220

Re: Cobb - If only there were a Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority Cobb and Gwinnett could join.  Or maybe an Atlanta Regional Commission to study transit issues they could participate in.  Seems these "leaders" are asking for things that already exist and are simply continuing to put things off. 

CDW2000
CDW2000

@Darid220 Golly gee - you think the answers might just be right in front of 'em?

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  1. […] and Gwinnett counties will complete mass transit studies in coming months. Cobb also is wrestling with mass transit in light of Amazon’s preference for communities that have […]

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  2. […] to force a rethinking of policy,” wrote the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jim Galloway, reporting on a meeting between Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and regional leaders over concerns that Atlanta would be […]

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  3. […] money to force a rethinking of policy,” wrote the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jim Galloway, reporting on a meeting between Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and regional leaders over concerns that Atlanta would be […]

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  4. […] to force a rethinking of policy,” wrote the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jim Galloway, reporting on a meeting between Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and regional leaders over concerns that Atlanta would be […]

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  5. […] Amazon hunt may be forcing a Cobb County shift on transit – MyAJC (blog) […]

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