Atlanta business leaders back push for transportation funding

At today's Metro Atlanta Chamber's meeting, a traditional bastion of GOP support, incoming chair Larry Gellerstedt talked up a need to spend an additional $1.5 billion a year on infrastructure. The cost of not making such investments is "much, much more" said the CEO of Cousins Properties.

Our AJC colleague Scott Trubey reports that Delta Air Lines chief executive Richard Anderson turned heads when he said "we can't be chicken" about tackling pressing problems - even if they involve raising taxes.

From Trubey's dispatch:

Ideas such as raising fuel taxes or making sure all four pennies of the state’s fuel tax go to transportation are among the proposals floated as possible revenue generators. A possible second try at a special transportation sales tax — which failed miserably in metro Atlanta despite heavy chamber support in 2012 — also will likely be considered.

“If that means raising taxes to fund our roads, it means we have to raise taxes to fund our roads,” said Richard Anderson, outgoing chamber chairman and CEO of Delta Air Lines, which benefits from a state tax break on jet fuel purchases.

...

Anderson’s airline recently backed President Barack Obama’s immigration plans. Delta also was among the state’s biggest companies that worked with the chamber last year to kill state legislation that opponents said would allow companies to discriminate against gays and lesbians based on religious freedom. Anderson said maintaining Georgia’s position as the top state to do business isn’t enough.

Anderson said maintaining Georgia’s position as a top state to do business isn’t enough. The state must be welcoming for foreign executives and workers and for minorities because that will help Georgia compete for and create jobs in the years ahead, he said.

“If that means we need to stand up to a legislature that wants to treat gays and lesbians in a different way, we have to stand up to that,” he said.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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