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Posted: April 2, 2017 5:00 a.m.

Last day of the 2017 Assembly

“Sine Die” (the last day of the Session) was long and slow in the House, but very busy in the Senate as the Senators got to work passing the House’s many bills.

I was very pleased that both my school fiscal transparency bill and my school choice for military children bill are now on the Governor’s desk. In all, 12 military bills passed, along with $2 million in new money for veterans and our military bases in the annual budget because of the work of my committee.

Campus Carry also passed with a few additional exemptions the Governor requested. Medical cannabis was expanded to include autism, AIDS, and Alzheimer’s among other maladies. There was also an important domestic terrorism bill and a provision to allow for driver-less cars. I opposed the later: I’m all about using technology to make cars safer, but think it’s reckless to have cars and massive trucks hurdling down our roads with no drivers at all.

Speaking of roads, I’m very glad no one was hurt during the disaster on Interstate 85. Unfortunately, the closure of this major artery will cause incalculable loss of productivity to Georgia.

Atlanta, by every measure, is an amazingly young city. One of the major messages of “Gone With the Wind” was the remarkable fact that sixteen year old Scarlett was the same age as the fledgling city that had somehow gained meteoric significance in its infancy as the major transportation hub and productivity giant of the South.

I have traveled the world over: to my knowledge, no city has ever gained such monumental significance in such a short amount of time. Seventy years later, in 1930, the Atlanta airport became the third busiest in the nation, and fifty years later became the busiest in the world. Savannah is the 4th busiest port in America now, mainly because of its easy access to Atlanta. The crisscrossing of rail combined with the intersection of three major interstates combined with aviation combined with shipping from the coast have burgeoned Atlanta into an “alpha” or “world” city, 8th in the nation and 40th in the world in gross domestic product ($270 billion/year)…all because we are a hub for transportation. That wealth and those jobs are now threatened because of a decaying and inadequate infrastructure.

Accidents happen, of course, and I’m not implying that anyone could have prevented this particular accident from happening. But I hope in the course of recovering from this debacle we have an honest conversation about radically improving our infrastructure, consider all the options available to us, and employ bold, forward-thinking leadership as we explore the various solutions to our congestion problems. Georgia must improve and safeguard the engine that has created this wealth: transportation.

This will be my last weekly article for this legislative Session. I look forward to seeing you in the community again as I work to bring jobs and economic opportunities to the prettiest part of the state. I hope you will continue to pray for me as I continue to serve you. Please feel free to contact me at 706-372-4114 or davebelton112@gmail.com.

 

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