Jul 30, 2014

TSPLOST and Metro Atlanta 'Cooperation'

It's time to refocus on Cobb County and Cobb Countians, for improving our community will improve metro Atlanta.

TSPLOST and Metro Atlanta 'Cooperation' TSPLOST and Metro Atlanta 'Cooperation'

OK. This will be my last mention of the upcoming TSPLOST vote on July 31.

Throughout the whole campaign for the TSPLOST, we've been told that regional cooperation is needed in order for all of us to prosper and thrive.

In other words, those of us living "outside the perimeter" should buck up and vote in favor of TSPLOST because if we don't, it could mean lost jobs and economic development opportunities.

To which I say "Baloney!"

Just this week, the cable TV business network CNBC rated Georgia as the 9th best state in the country for business partly BECAUSE of infrastructure and transportation. If we did that well given our "massive traffic congestion" do we need to spend another $8 billion on many projects of dubious benefit?

I've said it many times before that IF we were REALLY serious about attracting companies to the Metro Atlanta area, we'd make it easier and less expensive for companies to come here and do business. 

I'm reminded immediately that at one time computer giant, Hewlett Packard, was a major employer in Cobb County. The company had a major presence in Cobb County, leasing hundreds of thousands of square feet of office space and employing hundreds (if not thousands) of Cobb County residents. 

As fate would have it, an arrogant county commission refused to work with HP as it planned to expand its presence here even more. As a result, Fulton and DeKalb counties worked together to do what HP wanted and got the company to move to the Perimeter Mall area just 10 short miles away. 

Now, HP leases over 600,000 square feet of space and employs thousands of folks living in areas from East Cobb to Dunwoody and North Fulton.

With Hewlett Packard located in Cobb County, our residents had to drive fewer miles and spend less time on the road. Now, they have to travel to a neighboring county to work. Oh, and DeKalb County gets to receive all the tax revenue the HP used to generate.

And one more thing. Nobody at HP has to ride a rail line to get to work. The point here is that Fulton and Dealb counties delighted in taking a major employer from their neighbor.

Where was the regional cooperation? The other more important point is that our local government got so arrogant and complacent that we lost a great corporate citizen, hundreds (or thousands) of jobs and an important source of revenue.

Sometimes, the best economic development is KEEPING good companies instead of having to attract and solicit new ones.

And here's a better idea of what to do with our billion dollars or the whole $8 billion for the metro area. With cutbacks in defense spending and the end of the F-22 project, something can and should be done with Dobbins Air Base. 

With its heavy runway, Dobbins could easily be converted to an air freight terminal or a second Atlanta airport. There's even a rail line that could be used either for freight or moving people to and from the airport.

Dobbins also has excellent access to both I-75 and I-285. And jobs related to the airline industry are higher paying, higher caliber jobs, too. Imagine the redevelopment that could occur in that part of Cobb County.

In short, we simply have too many opportunities to explore right here in Cobb County to be taxing ourselves to build a rail line of dubious value that few, if any, Cobb Countians would ever use or even realize any benefit.

It's time to refocus on Cobb County and Cobb Countians. As we improve our own community, we improve all of Metro Atlanta.

Vote "NO" on the TSPLOST on July 31.

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