As of this week, Phoenix has light rail, and metro Atlanta mass transit boosters are jealous.Consider this quote from the business community, as well:
“I continue to be frustrated that we can’t seem to move in that direction,” said Sam Olens, chairman of the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Cobb County commission. “We’re losing our competitive advantage.” ...
Olens said plum employers with skilled jobs are slipping away. “In the last two years, I’ve had two major corporations tell me they would not move their headquarters to the Cobb Galleria area because all we had are buses,” Olens said this week.
On Wednesday, Sam Williams, president of the chamber, said in a statement that “cities that have made transportation a priority, like Phoenix, Dallas and Charlotte, continue to leapfrog Atlanta with respect to regional mobility. … While these areas make progress, we seem choked in congestion with little leadership to get us out.”Sounds like Sam Williams wants someone like Olens at the capitol. See this Political Insider column for more on Olens' conflicts with the state GOP. The next two legislative sessions should be interesting to watch as folks jockey for position.
I don't know if he could win a GOP primary, but Olens strikes me as the kind of candidate that in-town Dems would flock to in the general election. He is about as good as a Dem could hope for on issues like transportation, and has a reputation for working well across the aisle. If I had to choose a Republican for the governor's mansion, I'd choose Olens. If I have to choose between Dubose Porter and David Poythress (who I know next to nothing about), I might vote in the GOP primary for Olens.