Explain how the four transportation systems (road, air, water, and rail) of Georgia contribute to the development and growth of the state’s economy.
a. Evaluate the ways in which the Interstate Highway System, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, deepwater ports, and railroads interact to support the exchange of goods and services domestically and internationally. b. Explain how the four transportation systems provide jobs for Georgians.
Georgia’s four transportation systems impact the state in numerous ways. The transportation systems have a local economic impact as they provide job opportunities, help in the development of many cities, and bring tourists to the state. Another major function of Georgia’s interstate highway system, international airport, railroads, and deep water ports is trade. Each of these systems provide Georgians with the opportunity to ship their goods and services to other national and international locations, while bringing in goods and services from all over the word.
The interaction of the four transportation systems is essential to the state’s economy. Georgia, being the “transportation hub” of the Southeast, transports people and products quickly and efficiently via air, road, railway and sea to national and global markets, helping businesses save time and money. These systems together receive 7.6% of Georgia’s 2017 fiscal year budget.
The interstate highway system is essential to Georgia’s economic success. Georgia boasts highways that facilitate speed and reliability for shipments to the rest of the United States and the world. Shippers in all industry sectors depend on Georgia’s roadways to safely and efficiently transport more than $620 billion cargo each year on the 20,000 miles of high performance roadways and 1,200 interstate highways, including I- 75, I-85, and I-20 in the Atlanta area and I-95 along coastal Georgia. Approved funding for new roadway infrastructure in Atlanta and near the ports of Savannah and Brunswick will create 150 miles of new roadway capacity. These roadways enable Georgia companies to speedily and efficiently distribute products using over 100 motor freight carriers and extensive rail and highway systems. Using the nation’s interstate highway system, Georgia’s products can now reach approximately 80% of Americans overnight. Many industries have relocated to Georgia because of the easy access to interstates that are well-maintained and rarely closed due to inclement weather. Interstate highways (I-85, I-75 and I-285) pass near HartsfieldJackson Atlanta International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the nation. Arriving in Atlanta via the airport, business travelers and tourists impact the state’s economy by utilizing the interstates to travel to beaches, mountains, and other tourist and business destinations. Airport cargo areas have docks that have convenient access to the interstate highways for the quick and efficient transport of goods to their destination. Nearly all freight shipments by Georgia businesses (85%) are carried to their destination via truck. Truck shipments in Georgia are expected to reach $993.6 billion by 2040. The connection between the airport and interstate highways allows Georgia products to be transported quickly to U. S. consumers.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the conduit for 100 million passengers per year and handles more than 625,000 metric tons of cargo on 32 air carriers including Georgia’s own Delta Airlines (headquartered in Atlanta). More than 100 trucking companies expedite cargo deliveries via ground (interstate and local roads) and rail transportation throughout the state and the U. S. Three cargo complexes enable rapid handling of goods so that they can be moved to their destinations or ports by roadways and by rail. Also, located at the airport is a 250 acre Georgia Foreign Trade Zone that streamlines low cost international commerce. The Perishables Complex, approved by the U. S. Department of Agriculture and the only one in the Southeast, expedites fast and efficient inspection of time-sensitive shipments to ground transportation. Eighty percent of the U. S. market is within a two-hour flight from Georgia. The airport’s impact on the regional economy of Georgia (particularly the Atlanta region) generates $23.5 billion per year.
Another component of Georgia’s transportation system that is vital to the state’s economy is the deepwater ports of Savannah and Brunswick. Georgia products are exported to all parts of the world via these ports, while foreign products enter the U. S. through these ports. Governed and operated by the Georgia Ports Authority, Georgia’s ports are among the fastest growing ports in the U. S. The port of Savannah handles approximately 80% of the goods entering Georgia via ship and has immediate access to interstates I-95 and I-16. The port’s two terminals handle bulk cargoes, large containers and roll on/roll off items, such as automobiles and other wheeled vehicles. The smaller port in Brunswick handles a significant amount of products, including general cargo, bulk items, and automobiles, through three terminals. The Georgia Ports Authority also support the inland barge facilities of Bainbridge and Columbus. Liquid and dry bulk commodities, including chemicals and oil, are transported through these port facilities to ground transportation for delivery to Georgia and U. S. companies.
Historically, railroads have been essential to the economy of Georgia. While the other forms of transportation have taken the lead in moving people and goods throughout our state and the nation, railroads still operate rail lines successfully in Georgia. Georgia, ranked #3 in the U. S. in rail accessibility in 2015, has access to more rail miles (4,700 miles) than any other state in the Southeast. Intermodal (transportation involving more than one form of carrier, such as truck and rail, or truck, ship and rail), bulk, and automotive shipments utilize the rails that connect to a national market. Though currently operating on a smaller scale than the other forms of transportation, railroads are an essential component to the success of moving goods to destinations throughout the state and the rest of the country
A factor that impacts the economy regarding transportation is job creation. It takes an enormous number of people doing specialized jobs to create, prepare, transport, and sell all of the products imported and exported from Georgia. The transportation systems are either directly or indirectly responsible for the employment of thousands of people and a strong, employed workforce is always the basis of a sound economy. Over 5000 companies employ 110,000 Georgians to move goods, generating over $50 billion in revenue. Over 30,000 companies rely on cargo movers. Private transportation companies employ over 700,000 people in Georgia and contribute over 500 billion dollars of yearly revenue.
The design, construction and maintenance of Georgia’s transportation infrastructure supports the equivalent of almost 110,000 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state’s economy. These workers earn $3.9 billion annually. Over 1,900,000 full-time jobs in Georgia in key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture and manufacturing are completely dependent on the state’s transportation infrastructure network. These employees earn $70.4 billion in wages and provides an estimated $12.8 billion in state and local income, corporate and unemployment insurance taxes and the federal payroll tax.
Georgia’s deepwater ports support over 350,000 full and part-time jobs, which is 8.4 percent of Georgia’s total employment (as defined by a survey of households). This means that one job out of every twelve is in some way dependent on the ports.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is “the economic jewel” of Georgia as it generates $34.8 billion in economic impact for Atlanta and provides more than 63,000 jobs onsite, making it the state’s largest employer. Over the next 20 years, the airport plans to modernize its Domestic Terminal, expand cargo operations and concourses, replace parking facilities, and develop a hotel and mixed-use complex that will further solidify Hartsfield-Jackson as a beacon of economic strength and customer service in Georgia.
Clearly, abundant job opportunities requiring specialized skills are a direct and indirect result of Georgia’s transportation systems.
Chad J. DeWolf is an educator at Madison County Middle School (Comer, GA) in the Madison County School District (Danielsville, GA). This website is not affiliated with MCMS or MCSD. ETS is used as an educational tool for anyone interested and should be viewed as a resource for an awesome online learning experience. Tell your friends about this. You know you want to.