Limo shortage feared in Atlanta on SB weekend

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9:14 PM ET

Associated Press

ATLANTA Limousine companies are blaming the state of Georgia for leaving them 300 to 400 vehicles short of whats needed to transport NFL owners, corporate clients and others this Super Bowl weekend.

Amy Patterson, vice president of operations and logistics with Atlantas Super Bowl Host Committee, said in a letter to Georgias public safety commissioner that she fears this will become a viral news story and a black eye for the state.

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State law bars out-of-state limousines that arent insured and registered in Georgia. Limousine firms say they should get an exemption for special events such as the Super Bowl. The states public safety chief says he wont allow it.

The concerns were first reported by Atlantas Fox affiliate, WAGA-TV.

We are begging Gov. [Brian] Kemp to step in and protect the people of Atlanta, the people of Georgia, the people coming in from out of town to allow us to safely handle their transportation, said Jeff Greene, president of the Greater Atlanta Limousine Association. Greene calls the situation extremely, extremely urgent.

Kemp said hes leaving it up to Georgias Department of Public Safety commissioner, Col. Mark McDonough, and the colonel says he wont bend.

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McDonough said the law is needed for public safety, noting that chauffeured vehicles have been involved in deadly accidents.

Theyre basically asking the colonel of state patrol to set aside state law. Thats kind of brash, McDonough told WAGA-TV. Thats not something Im going to give permission to do.

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Greene said limousine firms were allowed to use out-of-state vehicles to handle the crush of VIPs during the 1996 Olympic Games and the 2000 Super Bowl in Atlanta. But McDonough said he cant find written proof that was allowed to happen.

The situation is between the limousine companies and the state, a representative of the Super Bowl Host Committee said in a Friday email to The Associated Press.

In a separate email to the AP, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau spokesman Heather Kirksey said, We arent aware of a transportation shortage.

But limousine company owner Fred Rich said, Were going to have to break major contracts.

Were going to have to tell major, major corporate clients we cant handle their VIP travelers, Rich said.

Authorities have been urging everyone else to use public transportation.

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