Originally created 07/24/99

Wants Ga. capital in Milledgeville

Augusta, as well as other cities its size throughout the state, has long been aware of the Atlanta bias within state government. Recently, however, there has been a trend to decentralize many state agencies outside of downtown Atlanta. ...

This initiative of decentralization be taken a step further. Move the capital from Atlanta.

Yes, this seems radical -- and I am sure that was the thinkiing when the capital was moved from Milledgeville to Atlanta in the 1800s. Look at most other states. The state capitol building is not located in the largest city, but rather in a geographically central location and usually in a medium-sized city or small town. The capital of Illinois is not Chicago, but rather Springfield. The capital of New York is Albany, not New York City. In Texas, where "big" is the buzzword, the capital is a city about the size of Augusta, not Houston or Dallas.

Locating the lawmakers in the state's largest city creates a conflict of interest. The lawmakers are surrounded by the local news of that city, and, after a while, debate in the capitol chambers centers more on local issues than statewide issues. Take the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority for example. Under this behemoth, cities like Augusta, Macon, and Savannah will be asked to subsidize transportation projects in and around Atlanta.

Atlanta, being out of compliance with clean air standards, has been cut off from federal highway dollars. So the rest of the state is being asked to sacrifice for Atlanta's past mistakes of hapahazard and uncontrolled growth.

... GRTA presents a "one size fits all" approach to transportation based on the needs of Atlanta, not the state. The defense for this attention on Atlanta has always been that Atlanta is the economic engine of the state, and all of Georgia benefits from its prosperity. This is true only to a point. How many people in Jesup or Bainbridge have directly benefitted from Atlanta's economic success? In fact, many smaller and medium-sized cities have found it difficult to attract new industry and growth when it is in direct competition with Atlanta.

Promoting only one economic engine in the state is flawed by its premise. Georgia should have several economic engines, and should promote a philosophy of statewide development, instead of focusing solely on Atlanta and asking the rest of the state to wait for the benefits to trickle their way.

The state should increase the infrastructures of cities like Augusta, Columbus, Macon, and Savannah, to handle new growth into the state that Atlanta cannot handle.

Instead, these cities are being punished with fewer funds for infrastructure to help pay for more roads in Atlanta. So it might be time to move the capital back to Milledgeville; it's more centrally located than Atlanta, and the original statehouse is still there.

Let's move, as well, the governor's mansion to Milledgeville. ...

Brandon Reese, Augusta


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