Metro Atlanta is on course to overtake Philadelphia as the nation's eighth most populous urban area by 2022, according to the AJC.
The City Too Busy to Hate will surpass the City of Brotherly Love. Grits and Coca-Cola will overcome cheese steak and the Liberty Bell.
Atlanta's passing of Philly will take place two years after work begins on a $100 million bus transit system for North Fulton County.
Philadelphia has long had a developed rail system. Looks like Atlanta has planned to take the bus to its future.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal's bond plan for rapid-transit buses from I-285 to Alpharetta drew widespread praise, even from GOP leaders who a few years ago considered mass transit as welcome as the Ebola virus.
But vexing questions remain, unaddressed by the AJC's reporting.
MARTA, which will run the new bus system, already has a rail line along Ga. 400 to the perimeter. The extension of rail to Alpharetta would make sense, but suburban residents have long opposed MARTA rail, fearing it would bring in criminals, i.e. black people. Will the bus system have easy access to MARTA trains?
The North Fulton bus system sounds so far like another local system separated from the rest of the region. The GOP-controlled Georgia Legislature in its turn toward mass transit in its last session claimed to support regional transportation. A bus system limited to 16 miles along Ga. 400 doesn't advance regional unity.
The state notified Amazon of the bus rapid transit plan. But will the Seattle behemoth be more likely to choose Atlanta for its second headquarters if the buses stop at the Perimeter? Most scenarios have Amazon looking at intown sites, including downtown's railroad gulch. Why would Amazon workers living in the suburbs take the North Fulton buses if they stop miles away from the workers' intown offices?
Or is the Deal announcement an effort to influence Amazon to choose a suburban location rather than intown?
Ga. 400 was extended into Buckhead a number of years ago. So why stop mass transit at the Perimeter now?
Fulton County voters will have to approve a sales tax increase for the rapid transit bus system to proceed. Why would South Fulton, the city of Atlanta and Sandy Springs voters consent to higher taxes when the bus system will just benefit Alpharetta?
Will the buses run on fossil fuels, rather than electricity? If so, they will increase rather than reduce emissions.
Philadelphia's wise old Ben Franklin might see the Georgia bus plan as folly.