5/15: Transportation seeks a path

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Author Taras Grescoe writes about the great public transit systems of the world in his new book “Straphanger,” a bullet-train of a read that looks at how the timely integration of subways, buses and rail has put cities on the path to success.

Also, a former Fayette County official adopts the great railroad song “The City of New Orleans” for an anti-T-SPLOST argument: Forget about your father’s magic carpets made of steel; trains don’t pay for themselves and won’t untie Atlanta’s traffic knots, he says.

23 comments Add your comment

Dumb and Dumber

May 16th, 2012
8:53 am

GDOT and our legislature is he!! bent to prove that we can pave our way out of gridlock; we’ll just have to pave our way out of gridlock again when the current effort to pave our way out of gridlock gets gridlocked again, in 5 or 10 years.

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is not insanity, its Georgia’s transportation policy.

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights?.....

May 16th, 2012
4:29 am

What might have been much more effective than the current T-SPLOST is to have made this a referendum to raise the state’s inadequate gas tax to fund road improvements only along with the targeted use of tolls in projects where capacity is added to the road network.

While mass transit upgrades and expansions could be paid for WITHOUT raising sales taxes, through the use of user fees, Tax Increment Financing (where property tax revenues from future development along transit lines pays for the construction, operation and maintenance of the line) and public-private partnerships.

The institutions that generate lots of traffic congestion (institutions like state government, large universities, etc) should be looked at as assets as opposed to liabilities.

In a great city like Boston, no one would likely ever suggest that the Massachusetts State Capital and highly-respected educational institutions like Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern University, Harvard University or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology move out of the city just to cut down on the traffic that these hollowed institutions generated because they didn’t want to build and operate any roads or rail transit lines.

Despite the traffic that the Georgia State Capital, Federal courts and offices, the Centers for Disease Control, and educational institutions like the Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, Emory University generate, this city would be in a much worse state if those institutions were not here.

Running them away and moving them out would likely make this city something that is on par with Detroit.

We can’t run our government and educational institutions and major employers out of town because we stubbornly don’t want to invest in our infrastructure and help our assets to better function like every other major metro area does and has on the face of the earth.

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights?.....

May 16th, 2012
3:57 am

Though as good as it sounds to move all of the government gasbags out of Atlanta, and trust me, it’s an idea that sounds better the more that people think about it, I am pragmatic enough to know that it is not going to happen, meaning that we’ve got to come up with a workable solution to dramatically increase transportation mobility so that the Atlanta region can continue to function as Georgia’s main economic, cultural and government center and a major population center on the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. that is the site of the world’s busiest airport.

That means that like other very major population centers on the North American continent, including those like Boston, Phoenix and Toronto that are the sites of the capitals of their respective state/provinces, the Atlanta Region, with the aid of the State of Georgia, has no other choice but to make the long-overdue and necessary investments in a multimodal transportation network.

We can’t move all of our educational and governmental (and according to some, our business institutions) out of town just because we don’t want to pay to make the necessary infrastructural investments that we should have been making all along during the last four decades of explosive population growth.

While I don’t necessarily agree that the T-SPLOST is the best way to start making those long overdue transportation investments, the fact remains that those infrastructural investments in transportation, water and education will have to be made if we are to remain a viable place to live moving forward.

There is just no way around it, we are going to have to spend the money that we’ve should have been spending all along during the past four decades of extreme boom times to build the necessary rails, roads, reservoirs (either big or small, doesn’t matter as long as we build them) and make the necessary investments in education to remain functional.