Amazon has listed access to transit as a condition for a $5 billion second headquarters that could eventually employ 50,000. Could this be the push elected officials and politicians have been waiting for to develop real transit solutions?
Atlanta was rated as the worst city for transportation reaching no-car households, according to research by the Brookings Institute. Out of the almost 40 thousand people who can’t afford cars in Atlanta, public transportation only reaches about 68 percent of them. Making reliable public transit available to more than 30 percent of the population without cars could lift people out of poverty and bring more economic stability to Atlanta while alleviating traffic problems, improving air quality and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.
Better transportation would be a huge economic development boon for Atlanta. It would allow the city to attract more businesses and more young professionals, raise property values, increase revenues for public school budgets.
It could have the potential to make jobs accessible to people who can’t afford a car or access MARTA. Better transportation could also increase people’s access to higher education and technical schools.
And in the immediate future, it could help Atlanta win the bid for Amazon’s new headquarters.
According to the EPA, “Providing a range of transportation choices and the walkable neighborhoods that support them can help improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions….Developing compactly and investing in public transit and other transportation options make it easier for people to drive less, lowering greenhouse gas emissions.”
Better public transit in Atlanta could benefit the economy, increase job accessibility for people living in poverty and lower the environmental impact of cars. Let’s hope Amazon’s second headquarters finally forces policymakers to make better transportation a reality.