Atlanta mayor: Region needs to band together

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

DULUTH -- The "intramural games" between the various jurisdictions of the metro Atlanta region needs to stop, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said Wednesday.

The key to a prosperous future is for the region to band together, Reed said during the general membership meeting of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.

"Really, the only way for us to continue the incredible success we've had is to partner," Reed said. "... If we compete as a region, we can beat anyone who is out there. We've got some smart people."

This is especially important as the elected officials embark on the development of regional transportation improvement plans. The projects will be funded by a regional transportation special purpose local option sales tax, which will go before the voters in 2012.

Reed said he expected it to be a tight vote, but he's confident that the investment could improve the Atlanta region. A regional transportation plan would allow the entire metro area to share the challenges of traffic and invest in needed infrastructure, therefore creating much-needed jobs.

"If we work through it in a coordinated fashion, I believe we're going to come up with a long-term plan that inspires the region," Reed said. "... We're going to win together, because we're going to face the tough challenges. We're going to do the hard things."

Nick Masino, vice president of economic development at Gwinnett Chamber, said he also thinks working together as a region will lead to a more prosperous future.

"If we don't deal with transportation funding, economic development, water problems -- if we don't do it together, it's never going to get fixed," Masino said.