It's no secret Atlanta doesn't have a regional transit system. But with the city pegged as one of the top contenders for Amazon's second headquarters, metro Atlanta's lack of transit might cost the city the deal.
"The ability to get workers to work is a major consideration,” said Robert Puentes, president of the Eno Center for Transportation, a nonprofit think tank in Washington, D.C. “And in cities, states and metros across the country, the emergence and the reliability in public transit is a key consideration."
Three cities are doing a good job with regional transit, Puentes said: Seattle, where Amazon's primary headquarters is located; Minneapolis; and the city the New York Times says would be Amazon's best bet, Denver.
Greg Griffin, business and investigations editor at the Denver Post, said 20 years ago his city didn't have much in the way of light rail. But Denver's been working more than a decade to solve that.
"You can get to the airport from downtown by rail. You can get down to the main business parks on the southeast part of town,” Griffin said. “You can get around the metro area pretty, pretty well now by rail."
Cobb County's Chamber of Commerce chairman, Gary Bottoms, was recently quoted in the Marietta Daily Journal as saying metro Atlanta would be a great home for Amazon's second headquarters if only we had a better transit system.
For decades, Cobb's been characterized as being averse to mass transit. However, County Commissioner Bob Ott said he believes Cobb is now in a transportation transition.
"I think that the commission and the community, the businesses and things like that are all taking a look at what type of transit, or what works for Cobb," he said.
Ott said the county’s chairman has asked him to work on an internal review of transportation countywide.