Urban Fold

Can Charlotte Overtake Atlanta as Powerhouse of the South?

Atlanta is seen by many as the economic powerhouse of the South. But some say Charlotte's progress in providing transit and reducing traffic may begin to tip the scales.

"Charlotte, the Queen City, maintains pretensions of one day surpassing Atlanta as economic King of the South. Sam Williams, head of Atlanta's Chamber of Commerce, says dream on.

'We don't really compete tooth-and-nail with Charlotte because the companies we go after (are) in the international trade, logistics and biomedical fields and they're not looking to go to Charlotte,' he said. 'Dallas, Tampa and northern Virginia - those are our consistent competitors.'

But some observers say recent missteps by Atlanta - over traffic, transit, water, the environment and politics - may enhance Charlotte's position.

Nothing underscores Atlanta's angst like the state legislature's refusal last month to let the region decide its transportation fate. A traffic-choked Atlanta threatens to repel businesses and individuals. Growth could slow to a crawl."

Full Story: Rivalry to be economic King of South heats up




Perhaps the author of this article has forgotten that Atlanta is three times the size of Charlotte and growing faster. Or that Atlanta has one of the busiest heavy-rail transit systems in the country, instead of Charlotte's one light-rail line. And has he forgotten that Atlanta, far from abandoning mass transit, is in the process of building the beltway, one of the largest urban design projects in the country, which includes light rail?

Michael Lewyn's picture

No Beltline yet

To say, as another post suggests, that Atlanta "is in the process" of building the Beltline transit system is a slight exaggeration. There has been a lot of planning- but the government is still acquiring right of way, which means actual transit stops are years away. For more info go to

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