Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

MARTA bus drivers talk jobs

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

MARTA bus operators can be as different as their routes. Jeffrey Watkins is retired from the U.S. Air Force, a former police office,r and now pastor of a small church in Douglasville. He began his driving career in the service and then took charters to casinos. Michael Majette, who referees high school football and basketball in his spare time, started driving furniture trucks in his native North Carolina. Watkins likes driving the longer MARTA routes, while Majette has been on same neighborhood-oriented route for 12 years.

Commenting is open.

Q&A: Life of a MARTA bus operator

By Tom Sabulis

Two veteran MARTA bus operators, Michael Majette and Jeffrey Watkins, 54, offer opinions on their job, their customers, their routes and the transit agency. Majette drives the #13 route, from Five Points to Westlake MARTA rail station. Watkins usually drives the #3 route, from H.E. Holmes rail station to Candler Park station.

What’s the most challenging part …

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Delta’s AJC column makes the WSJ

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The Wall Street Journal published a story today about why Delta Air Lines is so nervous over the development of a tiny second airport for metro Atlanta in Paulding County. The Journal reporters quoted statements penned by a Delta executive in a Nov. 26 Atlanta Journal-Constitution opinion column. Here is that column in full:

Second airport saps power of primary

By Holden Shannon

For more than seven decades, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has been metro Atlanta’s most powerful economic engine. Since its beginnings in 1925 as a small airfield constructed on an abandoned racetrack, it has evolved into the world’s busiest airport. It has more flights and destinations than any other major U.S. airport, bringing an estimated $58 billion annually in total economic benefits to the region and supporting tens of thousands of jobs statewide.

The airport is home to Delta Air Lines’ largest international hub, where we connect passengers from around …

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Cobb confident on Braves traffic

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

A rollout of a billion dollars in mobility improvements over the next few years will alleviate traffic problems for those heading to the new Braves baseball stadium, writes the Cobb County Commission chairman. In our second column, a citizen leader says new transit technology should be considered, too. Ultimately, however, taxpayers will have bigger concerns than traffic.

Cobb mobility plans clear road for Braves

By Tim Lee

The Atlanta Braves’ decision to locate in Cobb County can be directly attributed to the county’s transportation planning efforts and infrastructure improvements. With close to a billion dollars in mobility improvements being rolled out in the next several years, Cobb’s planning has paid off.

The Cumberland district is blessed with economic assets, two decades’ worth of infrastructure investments and a long history of visionary leadership. Already, the future stadium site has a well-developed network of 14 existing access …

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MARTA’s new momentum

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

A year after taking the top job at MARTA, Keith T. Parker can point to a number of accomplishments aimed at getting the transit agency back on track regarding its finances and ridership. He writes about those today. In our second column, House Rep. Mike Jacobs, chairman of MARTA’s legislative oversight committee,  says Parker’s progress may signal a new era in state relations with the agency.

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A year later, improvements show

By Keith T. Parker

After a comfortable early morning train ride, I started my first day at MARTA one year ago talking with employees about the need to transform the agency. The challenges facing MARTA were (and remain) huge.

Due to declining revenues over the previous four years, the agency had eliminated 40 of its 131 bus routes, cut rail service, shut down more than half the rail-station restrooms and raised fares by over 40 percent, while most employees had only received one pay increase in the previous …

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Majority in favor of public transportation

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

A recent Atlanta Regional Commission poll showed surprising support for public transit. Today, a union official writes about that news and the need for immediate state funding of MARTA; a car dealer spokesman defends the role of the automobile in the metro area; and an economist wonders whether leaders can convert the poll’s “vague sentiments” into action.

There are three columns today. Commenting is open.

Time for Georgia to fund transit

By Curtis Howard

Metro area residents woke up to a pleasant surprise last month. An Atlanta Regional Commission poll told us that the economy and traffic congestion were the top issues facing the region, and 71 percent said that improving mass transit was important for the metro area’s future.

The findings make sense to us and are interrelated. The poll confirmed what most planners already know: There is no way out of the traffic issue — and its billion-dollars-a-year health costs due to air pollution and …

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Transit and roads to the stadium

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The Atlanta Braves’ decision to relocate to a new stadium in Cobb County for the 2017 baseball season has prompted a barrage of opinions about fixing transportation to the new site at I-75 and I-285. Today, we hear about possible solutions incorporating mass transit and new roads. We also hear from a former county commission chairman who wonders where we will find the money to fund the projects.

There are three columns today. Commenting is open.

Stadium should put transit in the lineup

By David Emory

Throughout metro Atlanta, the Braves’ announcement that they are moving from Turner Field to a new stadium in Cobb County has generated a wide variety of reactions. But whether you support the move or not, everyone agrees the proposed location, at the traffic-choked intersection of I-75 and I-285, presents a major transportation challenge.

The good news is that the move also presents an opportunity to advance a conversation of critical importance to …

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Passenger rail sets a record

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

North Carolina has witnessed record ridership on two state-funded rail lines, and the state DOT is looking to expand track capacity to add more service. Both lines are operated by Amtrak. But Georgia officials shouldn’t be swayed by the commuter rail trend, writes one local official; taxpayers can’t afford to subsidize a rail plan that’s “too big to fail.”

Commenting is open.

Building a rail future in North Carolina

By Paul C. Worley

In North Carolina, the Department of Transportation is investing in better rail service for our citizens and for visitors to our state. We are making train travel safer, faster, and enabling people to connect more easily to more destinations along the state-owned North Carolina Railroad Company corridor between Raleigh and Charlotte, the largest area of population in our state.

We support and promote rail improvements because we believe that it makes sense for safety, economic development and job creation in our …

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Paulding County airport

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The plan for new commercial airline service at a small Paulding County airport has angered some residents who feel officials schemed behind their backs with a company that plans to expand the facility. The chief of Propeller Investments writes that the new Silver Comet Field will offer only limited airline service that will boost country revenues and provide an alternative to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport for travelers in North Georgia.

Paulding officials broke public trust

By Bob Board

Over and over again, the people of Paulding County told political leaders at the ballot box that they did not want a new airport in the county.

The people reject bringing the congestion and noise of a big-city lifestyle into our natural sanctuary, an idyllic country setting. But past county leaders joined in a plan to force a commercial airport into being, without the knowledge of unsuspecting taxpayers. They schemed and plotted against the people of …

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The case for transit

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The building of the Atlanta Streetcar system is moving along, with tracks and poles going in along Auburn and Edgewood Avenues from the Martin Luther King center to downtown. A panel discussion this weekend offered a little insight into how the city will be moving from the construction to operation phase early next year. My second column looks at how Charlotte is fighting skeptics and transit critics with a new ad campaign, which includes a response from a local transportation analyst.

Commenting is open.

Streetcar, bike options coming

By Tom Sabulis

As part of Atlanta’s “Elevate” event Saturday, sponsored by the city’s Bureau of Cultural Affairs, I moderated a panel that focused on public art and transportation, and how the former can enrich the latter. With panelists representing MARTA, Atlanta Beltline, Atlanta Streetcar, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and Atlanta Regional Commission, the conversation ranged from the cultural to project updates …

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Dwindling gas tax revenue

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Today’s lineup: As gas tax revenues plummet, metro Atlanta could build its coffers for highway maintenance, repairs and expansion by tolling all its highways, says one columnist. The Georgia Department of Transportation ‘s deputy commissioner reminds us of all the low-cost innovation going on to ease traffic. And a John’s Creek resident writes about his evolution from driver to “clean” commuter.

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Charge drivers per mile to fund repairs

By Robert Poole

If I asked “Would you like to pay more tolls?” you’d almost certainly answer, “No.” But the wiser answer is, “It depends. What would I get for this?”

What Georgia residents could get is better interstate highways — and there is probably no other realistic way to bring that about. Georgia’s interstate highways are the state’s most important transportation infrastructure. They account for less than 3 percent of all highway lane-miles but handle 26 percent of …

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