Make Georgia’s cities our secret weapon

By Howard Franklin

For the sake of communities large and small, Georgia must invest in its cities, from Atlanta to Zebulon.
Where cities live, people and jobs live. According to the most recent U.S. Census data, the Peach State grew by 18 percent over the past decade, with most of its 1.5 million new residents settling in metro Atlanta and north Georgia – in cities like Gainesville, Athens, and Braselton.
As government becomes smarter and prioritizes investments for the greatest return, cities offer a track record steeped in innovation. With creative and tech-savvy professionals, high-density residences and resilient job centers, cities are leading the way out of the global recession.
Georgia is poised to take advantage of this trend and accelerate its economic rebound. By investing in education, supporting public transit and strengthening urban infrastructure, the state can bolster its cities and buttress interconnected, downstate economies.
Too few local officials have been engaged in transformational projects, like the effort to pass metro Atlanta’s T-SPLOST. But there are still plenty of opportunities to lead, especially if the state finds ways to support, rather than stymie, their involvement. Lawmakers’ virtually unanimous commitment to deepening the Port of Savannah, for instance, is a step in the right direction.
Another opportunity? Georgia could coordinate the various local marketing campaigns aimed at attracting employers and tourists to all corners of our state, from the mountains to the coast, with countless pockets of charm in between. That kind of leadership would result in a statewide branding effort we all can be proud of.
Georgia boasts plenty of great places to live, work and learn. But in order for the state to compete for jobs across the country and around the world, we must see our cities as our secret weapon.

Howard Franklin is a political strategist and a partner in the public affairs firm www.InfluenceFactory.com.

One comment Add your comment

Brandon Moore

January 7th, 2013
11:10 am

Howard Franklin: I am not a resident of Georgia but I agree with your position. What is interesting is the interior of Georgia municipal leaders and their actions to build growth. The future to growth is infrastructure to support commerce: electronic and actual. Savannah port(4th busiest in the USA) and regional agreements with Charleston(Number 10 in the USA), Mobile and Jacksonville ports to goods and raw materials in the Georgia interior in and out. Road transport from these ports to interior distribution points via intermodal freight transport services. Electronic commerce via physical infrastructure and cities leveraging smarter ways of running their own operations to provide service to these businesses but also the residents. These are the keys to building these cities and moving Georgia forward.