Linking Ga. 400 north of Atlanta to I-675 on the south by tunneling, and making it a toll road, is a cracker-jack idea. It’s one of the top toll projects the state Department of Transportation is pitching to private investors and road-construction companies. But watch how quickly opponents will inject race, a staple of Atlanta policy-making. Already, it’s cast that way because the tunnel would go under old, established neighborhoods and then surface south of I-20 “where demographic data show the population is less wealthy and less white.” Ah, Atlanta. What might we have achieved had every public policy decision not devolved into race?A cracker jack idea. I'm sure it is for those intent on shaving 15 minutes off their ride to the airport but don't give two damns about anything inside the perimeter unless they are chattering over a performance at Chastain or visiting Grady following another horrific wrapping of a too fast car around a tree by their precious teenager.
But that' not what really stands out is it? Jim's final question squats there like a three day dead frog ready to explode in a shower of rotten innards.
To find an answer let us time travel to 40 years ago.
It was a time when Atlanta's population was just creeping past one million, the current location of Gwinnett Place Mall was a cow pasture and the region was on the verge of creating a world class public transit system. Instead, due to fears of a "bad element" reaching their suburban enclaves, the counties of Gwinnett, Clayton and Jim's favorite, Cobb, opted to not join the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. Today, instead of a robust adult public transportation system on par with other major cities, we are left with the equivalent of a lobotomized teenager drooling in the corner.
So, yes. Let's ponder that question deep and long. What might we have achieved had every public policy decision not devolved into race?