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Roundup: November 18, 2016

Please see below for the latest version of the GTA Transportation Roundup. As you can see, there are a few minor differences in the format. Over the last year, GTA’s work plan, coupled with conversations with interested stakeholders, has indicated our focus moving forward should be in seven primary buckets:

  1. Protection of, and continued investment in, our state’s road and bridge network.
  2. Growth and expansion of our freight movement network.
  3. Growth and expansion of transit systems statewide.
  4. Progress on federal transportation issues.
  5. More deliberate focus on workforce development in the transportation industry.
  6. Preparation for the deployment of rapidly developing transportation technological innovations.
  7. Beginning to develop a more comprehensive strategy around public private partnerships.

As such, these updates will begin to be organized in those buckets and focus areas.

Roads and Bridges

Metro – Atlanta voters again consider transportation to be the region’s greatest challenge, according to Metro Atlanta Speaks, an annual survey conducted by the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Last week, Governor Nathan Deal, GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry, and STB Member Mark Burkhalter broke ground on the historic I – 285 / GA – 400 interchange project. The project is projected to open to traffic in 2020.

WABE’s Molly Samuel on how the “water wars” could affect Metro – Atlanta.

Freight and Logistics

The October Georgia Logistics Market Snapshot is now available, thanks to our partners at the Center of Innovation for Logistics. Highlights:

  • The Dow Jones Transportation Index increased 2.03% during the month of September.
  • Import volumes were down slightly and export volumes were up slightly.
  • Freight and intermodal rail traffic were down slightly.

According to the Wall Street Journal, some major trucking companies are reducing fleet size by the hundreds to accommodate tepid shipping demand. The downturn in shipping prices has also affected other industry sectors – for example, Hanjin, a major Asian shipping company, declared bankruptcy over the summer.

Korean shipper Hanjin isn’t the only major shipper suffering from weak shipping rates: this week, Danish shipper Maersk has cut profit projections by almost 2/3 over last year, as they announced this week that third quarter profits dropped by 43%.

Transit

MARTA General Manager Keith Parker on why Atlanta should invest more in MARTA services.

GDOT has identified three potential routes for high speed rail to Chattanooga.

Transportation Technology / Innovation

In a fascinating interview with the Wall Street Journal, Nvidia Corporation CEO Jen – Hsun Huang discusses the future of autonomous vehicles and what he expects to see in the next few years.

Electric car makers are making strategic decisions to remain competitive in a growing marketplace. Meanwhile, Jaguar promises an electric SUV within two years.

Federal Issues

Congressman Rob Woodall did a series of town hall meetings around Georgia with the Georgia Transportation Alliance and talked about Georgia’s leadership on transportation.

Congressman Sam Graves (one of several vying to replace House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster) said last week he has doubts about plans to privatize air traffic control functions away from the Federal Aviation Administration. Separating ATC has been a top priority for Chairman Shuster.

President – Designate Donald Trump has formed a transition team to focus on transportation policy. Obviously, infrastructure investment has been a prominent topic of conversation since the election. There are clearly many moving parts around Trump’s “trillion dollar infrastructure proposal.” The policy at this point is extremely unclear, though parts of the process are beginning to reveal themselves.

What we know: Trump’s transition team is being led by former ARTBA staffer Martin Whitmer and former Virginia Transportation Secretary Shirley Ybarra (also formerly of the Reason Foundation). Transportation planning falls under a domestic issues team ultimately led by former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. Former Florida Congressman (and T&I Chairman) John Mica has indicated an interest in being Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation.

Election Update

The City of Atlanta’s dual votes for a .005% sales tax for MARTA expansion and .004% sales tax passed overwhelmingly, with approximately 67% and 72%, respectively.

The Fulton County Transportation SPLOST, or TSPLOST, passed easily with approximately 53% support. GTA was pleased to act in a supporting role to the county and cities in that ballot effort.

Upcoming Events

2016 Transportation Summit
November 30, 2016   |   Athens, Georgia   |   Register Here! 



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