JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM

We're falling behind

Emerging from the Great Recession, metro Atlanta was expected to regain its position as Sunbelt leader. Regional officials vowed to untie Atlanta’s legendary traffic, ensure a steady flow of water and upgrade the state’s flagging schools. The economy would boom.

Instead, our leaders crafted a muddled plan to raise taxes for roads and rail, and voters rejected it. They expected Georgia to win the water war with Alabama and Florida — the Chattahoochee River is the region’s lifeblood — while inadequately planning alternatives. They failed to address Georgia’s near-bottom test scores while a massive cheating scandal tarnished Atlanta’s reputation.

Now, though metro Atlanta has enjoyed some recent successes, competing regions are catching up and even surpassing us.

An AJC analysis shows Dallas and Charlotte — the two metro areas fighting Atlanta hardest for companies, jobs and talent — in better economic shape. Jobs are more plentiful, the middle class more prosperous and housing prices have returned to pre-crash levels.

Four years ago, Mayor Kasim Reed said if the 2012 transportation vote failed “we will have made a decision to be small.”

Have we?

Scroll see the data behind the story

Atlanta
Dallas
Charlotte
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Charlotte
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Atlanta
Dallas
Charlotte
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Atlanta
Dallas
Charlotte
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Atlanta
Dallas
Charlotte
ATL DAL CLT