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

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

May 16th, 2012
3:18 am

middleground

May 15th, 2012
10:52 pm

Though I know that it would never happen at anytime in the forseeable future, the more that I think about your idea of moving government workers out of Atlanta, the more intriguing it becomes.

Though as far as I am concerned, you could move out all of the politicians, too (ESPECIALLY the politicians) to some other city in the state that is in severe need of the economic boost which, I guess, might leave someplace like Gainesville out of the mix as Gainesville and Hall County (especially the booming southern part of the county that has become apart of greater metro Atlanta) is doing relatively extremely well at the moment compared to other locales around the state, especially in South Georgia where the population is shrinking at an accelerating rate in many places.

In the extremely unlikely that the State Capital were to improbably move of Atlanta, the most likely place that it would move to, hypothetically, would likely be Macon, which is relatively centrally geographically located in relation to the rest of the state (Milledgeville was the site of the State Capital of Georgia until about 1868 when it moved to Atlanta where it has been ever since).

The only problem is that the balance of population in the state now lies mostly above the Gnat Line in North Georgia due to accelerating population shifts over the last few decades, so any new State Capital site would likely be best located in North Georgia, relatively close to the majority of the state’s population.

I’ve also been of the mind that various places around the state like Macon, Warner Robins, Rome and Gainesville, in particular, would make great state university towns, but Georgia State and Georgia Tech would likely not (but not necessarily completely never) move out of Atlanta unless the crime got really, REALLY bad, even worse than before, which unfortunately is a real possibility with the way that things are going on the public safety side of things at the moment.

middleground

May 15th, 2012
10:52 pm

leave the politicans in atlanta, just move all the workers, federal and state to places like Gainesville, Ga or other desperate outlying areas suffering from a bad economy. The employees would enjoy a better quality of life with less stress and lower costs to live. Atlanta would get relief from traffic for a few years at least……………….its a win, win.
Or move Ga Tech or GA State or other colleges out of town……….students wouldn’t have to worry about crime in Rome GA or other smaller cities in GA. It would be way cheaper than 6 billion dollars and would spure the economy in places that need it.

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

May 15th, 2012
9:49 pm

middleground

May 15th, 2012
6:55 pm

“Move all government workers out of Atlanta and problem is solved for a lot less money.”

I wonder how much it would actually cost to move the state government out of Atlanta to some place more centrally-located geographically in relation to the rest of the state like Macon.

Though I strongly doubt that the idea of moving state government out of Atlanta would ever gain any steam.

For one, the politicians would never want to move the government away from where all of the dirt is that they specifically like to come to Atlanta to get into (dirt like female (and male) escorts, lobbyist-funded outings at five-star hotels, five-star restaurants, sporting events, etc).

Second, the center of political power in the state has shifted to North Georgia along with the much of the population due to continued population declines in South Georgia and explosive population gains in Metro Atlanta and North Georgia over the last decade (the Governor, the Lt. Governor, the State Senate Majority Leader, the House Speaker and much of the state’s legislative leadership all hail from much more heavily-populated North Georgia as opposed to years past when the center of political power resided mostly in agricultural Middle and South Georgia).

There’s no way that the state’s legislative leaders, most of whom hail from the North Georgia suburbs and exurbs of Metro Atlanta, are going to willingly move the State Capital to Middle or South Georgia after years of being dominated by the once-very powerful agricultural interests of South Georgia.

Nor is moving the State Capital out of Atlanta necessarily the best way to deal with Metro Atlanta’s overall transportation and mobility problems as moving the State Capital out of Atlanta would be like moving the Massachusetts State Capital out of the great cities of Boston, which at the very least has dealt with it’s continuing traffic problems by continuing to invest in a multimodal transportation system that tilts heavily towards mass transit (the extensive heavy rail and commuter rail networks of the Masschusetts Bay Transportation Authority) out of geographical necessity due to a very limited surface road network and the physical limitations of Boston Harbor, Masschusetts Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, or moving the Ontario Provincial Capital out of Toronto which, like Boston, has also continued to invest in a multimodal transportation network that tils heavily towards mass transit (heavy rail, light rail and commuter rail) due to the physical limitations of the Lake Ontario shoreline.

Though I will concede that moving the Georgia State Capital to someplace in North Georgia like Rome, Cartersville or Gainesville does not necessarily seem like all that bad of an idea when put into perspective, though there is the potential that other industry would quickly fill in the void that was left behind by the state government leaving Atlanta as is the case in other large, very major American cities where the State Capital is in a much smaller city that is more centrally-located in relation to the rest of the state.

Like the capital of Illinois is in Springfield, nearly 200 miles from Chicago (which hasn’t done much to cut-down on corruption in state government in IL as evidenced by the fact that four of that state’s last seven previous governors have gone to prison), the capital of New York State is in Albany, 150 miles away from NYC and the capitals of Texas, Florida and California are in smaller second-tier or even third-tier cities (as is the case in Florida where the capital is in Tallahassee) far removed from the major urban and population centers of those heavily-populated states.

middleground

May 15th, 2012
7:00 pm

Go ahead and give those good old boys 6 billion dollars as they laugh all the way to the bank.
History will repeat itself. Graft and corruption in a one party state will prevail and you will still be stuck in traffic only alot less money in your pockets. How stupid are you Georgia?

middleground

May 15th, 2012
6:55 pm

Move all government workers out of Atlanta and problem is solved for a lot less money.

ByteMe

May 15th, 2012
10:14 am

I’ll vote for T-SPLOST even though it’s flawed. I’m afraid if it doesn’t pass, the powers that be will sit on their hands for more years, and things will get worse.

And that, in a nutshell, is the poor choice the legislature is offering us. They have no vision for Georgia’s infrastructure, so they force a bad choice on us and tell us it’s either that or nothing.

Vote no. Then vote for candidates with a realistic vision for the future of Georgia’s infrastructure.

Rock Gaines

May 15th, 2012
9:09 am

Shar – per your comment “The Beltline is an old-style political payoff to Mayor Reed’s developer cronies who have bought up land along the right of way for this tourist carousel.”

The Beltline was originally conceived by Georgia Tech student Ryan Gravel in 1999. Development has been going on for quite awhile now, even before Mayor Reed took office. The Beltline is actually a good idea – it just can’t solve the transit woes of this area, but it wasn’t designed to.

The T-SPLOST list doesn’t do enough to address transit in an efficient way. We need commuter rail to move people from the suburbs into the city; more HOV lanes for express buses; the new Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal needs to be built in the gulch between Philips Arena and Five Points Station. MARTA also needs to be able to spend their own money in the way they see fit since the state contributes nothing.

I’ll vote for T-SPLOST even though it’s flawed. I’m afraid if it doesn’t pass, the powers that be will sit on their hands for more years, and things will get worse.

Scooter

May 15th, 2012
8:33 am

Freeways have failed in Southern California and they are failing here in Georgia. It is funny how a lot of Georgians refused to look outside of their backyards for answers.

Don

May 15th, 2012
8:15 am

Transit doesn’t pay for itself. So what! That’s totally missing the point.

You can build a whole lot of rail transit AND pay for the annual operating subsidies for a whole lot less than it would cost to build and maintain the same capacity in highways.

THAT is the point.

sircharles

May 15th, 2012
8:12 am

Don’t know to much about how a person think about how to handle mass transportation. What I do know is many of Atlanta major highways has been like a blood clot. they start and run right back into the major arteries….they go nowhere! All of the billions of funds being used to do nothing and we all know our highways have not yet improved. There is an accident every 15 minutes or sooner and sitting in long hours of traffic that get’s narl near Grady Curve; GA 400, I-85, etc., let us all know that what has been done is not working. None of us can improve the Atlanta traffic but we do know we continue to pay for things that is already paid for just to continue to charge drivers for use of roadways and what that dones in most cases; we all figure out how to go around to keep from paying those high prices for continue use to get from point a to b. Georgia highways will remain a flop regardless because it do not like to share the revenues it make from all drivers. It might be that we have to start using our motorbikes, bikes, skates and rollerblades….we all can exercise on the way to work and our toll roads will not be use; we can merely use the sidewalks!