It was an unfortunate thing, that Amazon-passing-on-Atlanta-for-its-HQ2 news. But it wasn’t the end of the world.
Simply put, Atlanta is not ready for a sudden influx of 25,000 more tech workers. The city is home to all kinds of Fortune 500 companies, but it’s also home to suffocating traffic on clogged roads and no appreciable mass transit to speak of.
I know it. You know it. It’s time to do something about it.
But aside from that, there’s another reality in this decision: landing Amazon’s HQ2 – or half of it, at least – was going to cost the city billions of dollars in tax breaks. That’s the cost of doing business with these corporations, for better or worse.
Had Atlanta’s leaders signed on that dotted line, the city would have been worse for it.
But there will soon be other big companies that come calling – Apple is also looking to build a second headquarters – and if Atlanta wants to enter that next echelon of American cities to get on the short list of these massive announcements, it should take the money it saved on not landing Amazon and, instead, spend it on mass transit improvements.
Because if what they want is tax breaks for their pocketbooks and good mass transit for their employees, Atlanta can only provide one right now.Follow @Sean_Breslin