"Big A, Meet the Even Bigger D"

For the second time in as many days, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution pits The ATL against The City of Hate -- a common occurrence -- and rules in favor of Dallas, in part because we have toll roads to help pay for regional light rail projects that run to the suburbs, which is but a figment of a concept in Atlanta. Also: Dallas-Fort Worth has added jobs (73,000 in the last two years), while Atlanta's lost 'em (42,000 during the same time period); and Dallas is tending to its water needs decades down the road, while Atlanta is not. Our downside: Dallas's poverty rate is worse than Atlanta's, and having no state income tax "further deplete[s] state and local treasuries." Still. There's no state income tax.

There's just enough available in the paper's sneak peek to please phone-workin' Mayor Mike ("If you're a CEO trying to decide between Atlanta and Dallas as the new headquarters for your company, where would you go?"), and you'll find the Top 10 metro list here (we're No. 3, behind Washington and Boston), but the piece is only available to subscribers or iPad users. So, then, to the soundbites, beginning with The Big Peach's big cheese:

"The things they are doing in Dallas are breathtaking," Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said. "You can't go there and see what they're doing, and the speed with which they're doing it, and not be impressed." ...

"More and more we compete with Dallas than any other city," said Hans Gant, a top business recruiter at the Metro Atlanta Chamber. "They are a formidable competitor." ...

"I moved here from New York and I love not paying state income taxes. But we sent our kids to private schools because I wanted them to get a good education," said Bernard Weinstein, an economist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "And, even though our tax burden is low, we still give tax breaks to anybody who wants one. It's absurd." ...

"People in Dallas and Atlanta can no longer assume that national and state interests will continue to fund growing needs for new roads, maintenance and rail. Those days are over," said Michael Morris, transportation director for the North Central Texas Council of Governments. "Plus, national and state governments are horribly conservative. There's no way they're willing to address these revenue needs from a political standpoint. So our region decided to try every way possible to do it." ...

Timothy Bray, director of the Institute for Urban Policy Research at the University of Texas at Dallas, is amazed at the willingness of anti-tax, anti-government Texans to pay for mega-dollar infrastructure projects.

"It may be just part of the Texas ethos," he said. "You tell somebody that you want to spend a billion dollars on something and people will say, 'When will you get it done?' "

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