What does it take to entice business and industry to locate in the Athens area? Does Atlanta have to reach capacity first? There is a story today in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution called "Corporate execs wary of traffic in Atlanta" suggesting that businesses are now being discouraged from considering that area. What businesses need to consider is that a significant portion of the labor and talent working in the Atlanta area are actually commuting from Athens-Clarke and its surrounding counties. People want the quality of life provided by this area, but they need the wages and opportunities of Atlanta.
I would be glad for corporate executives to realize that Atlanta's labor pool is not concentrated in Atlanta. They should certainly consider other metro areas. When I lived in Jackson County and worked in Gwinnett County, I had co-workers from Henry, Spalding, and Gordon Counties, and one even commuted from Alabama. Perhaps businesses have contributed to the traffic problem by locating alongside other businesses rather than where the people actually live.
Atlanta's growth presents us with opportunities here. Fortunately, we are smart enough to anticipate transportation and planning challenges. Now the question is how to do we actually bring more businesses to Athens?
(Read the first comment. It gives a lot to think about.)