Without rail, how would you vote on transportation referendum?

I have an important question for you.

AJC writer Ariel Hart is reporting that metro commuters hoping that a transportation sales tax on the ballot next year will bring train service far into the suburbs may be out of luck.

Some of the highest-profile projects proposed for the 1 percent sales tax may not be capable of completion by the time the tax ends in 10 years, weakening their chances for inclusion in the referendum, Hart writes. Potential projects include rail into Cobb and Gwinnett, and across the top end of I-285.

In a later development this morning, Hart is reporting that MARTA heavy rail from Lindbergh to Emory University or train lines to Turner Field or the Beltline streetcar could be up and running if the tax is approved.

Will you be more or less likely to vote for the tax if rail is included? How much more or less likely? Why?

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

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140 comments Add your comment

nativeson71

June 9th, 2011
7:15 am

It must included rail or I would give it a NO vote.

PrintMoMoney

June 9th, 2011
7:18 am

Let’s say we don’t build things we cant afford. If we had a gazillion dollar budget surplus, sure, build away. But this nation needs to tighten its belt or we’ll be riding the express light rail to insolvency.

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

June 9th, 2011
7:36 am

I sure would love to have the rail projects available to vote on, but take a look around, we really, really, REALLY need the road improvements, too, as we in Georgia have vastly underinvested in our road network as well as our rail network so I would have to vote yes anyway, although with things as they stand now, I don’t give the tax an overwhelming chance of passing.

I give the transportation tax even less of a chance of passing if the referendum is held in July 2012 as is currently planned instead of during the General Election in Novermber 2012, although with the Tea Party opposition to the tax increasing in outlying counties and discontent rising over residents having to pay an additional one-cent tax on top of the one-cent tax that is already paid to subsidize MARTA in Fulton and DeKalb, I don’t like the chances of passage in November 2012 either.

Sharptongue

June 9th, 2011
7:37 am

PrintMoMoney let’s keep it local, fool…
No rail is a NO vote from Me. WE CAN’T KEEP BUILDING roads JUST TO KEEP REPAVING THEM EVERY OTHER YEAR, FOOL!!!

michael

June 9th, 2011
7:41 am

Must include mass transit. Atlanta simply has too many commuters and the roads can not handle it. Atlanta was one of the fastest growing large cities in the entire world for a very long period of time during the second half of the 20th century. The city grew too quickly and the infrastructure has lagged behind. Atlanta is going to fall behind other major cities if it does not improve infrastructure. The one good thing (atleast in my view) about the awful traffic is that it is causing a lot of professionals to move back closer into the city. Has cities grow larger, you typically see the “white flight” and move to the suburbs. THis causes distinct areas of the city to go down hill. Once the cities get too large to live in the burbs and commute to the center for higher paying jobs, then high wage earners typically move back in and the areas become expensive and get restored. Atlanta is moving from the first phase to the second. If traffic is not reduced, you are going to see more gentrification and more businesses moving north to buckhead, cobb, and sandy springs.

michael

June 9th, 2011
7:42 am

victor

June 9th, 2011
7:47 am

I don’t care. If Gwinnett and Cobb want rail service, they can pay for it themselves just as Fulton and DeKalb did. Just put a new arena for the Falcons on the old Doraville GM site and everything is peachy.

Scott

June 9th, 2011
8:09 am

Without rail, I will not only vote “no” but enthusiastically encourage others to vote the same way.

Billy

June 9th, 2011
8:09 am

Still going to vote NO. Too many other places to cut the fat and come up with the money.

Blah Blah Blah!!!

June 9th, 2011
8:12 am

michael

June 9th, 2011
7:41 am

Great Post!!!! You took the thoughts right out of my head!!!

Jackie

June 9th, 2011
8:14 am

I will definitely vote NO if an upgrade to this city’s crappy rail system is not part of the package. I’m from here, but have lived briefly in other cities and i can tell you with complete confidence that Atlanta’s rail system is an absolute joke. Atlanta will never be anything but a joke of a city until it gets off its rear and builds a real rail system.

Blah Blah Blah!!!

June 9th, 2011
8:22 am

To be blunt, several “old school” residents within the burbs put the metro Atlanta area back thirty years with their fearful, closed minded thinking. Prior to the olympics, if the city of Atlanta and the surrounding areas weren’t so concerned with tearing down old buildings and throwing up these new sophisticated establishments in an effort to impress guests, maybe we could have concentrated on the basics such as improved rail systems, side walks, etc. more….

Homer

June 9th, 2011
8:23 am

No rail, No vote.

winkasdad29

June 9th, 2011
8:26 am

No rail is a NO vote for me. Period.

Too Late

June 9th, 2011
8:37 am

When I moved to the area 29 years ago, Gwinnett and Cobb counties voted “NO” on the 1 cents sales tax to expand mass transit(rail and bus) !! Just look how far along we would have advanced if they would have passed the additional sales tax back then !! They “thought” minorities were the only people riding buses trains, how ignorant can you be ? Now look at the traffic, it is horrible and it is going to cost 5 times or even more to build what could have been built…. No matter what, I am voting “NO”.

Marz

June 9th, 2011
8:39 am

Absolutely NOT!!!! I refuse to pay anymore taxes. We are taxed to death as it is. I would really like to keep more of the money I earned.

EJ Moosa

June 9th, 2011
8:50 am

North Fulton County has been paying the MARTA tax since the beginning. The Windward MARTA rail station will not be finished before 2030.

We should finish a few projects before moving on to the next.

Fulton Resident

June 9th, 2011
8:52 am

Futlon and Dekalb already have rail, and we’re not paying for anybody elses. The vote is no to the suburbs.

Typical

June 9th, 2011
8:55 am

Typical gov’t. None of the political figure heads care about the Mass Transit…they say it just to get re-elected and make it sound like it is the most important thing on their agenda…all they care about is padding their bank accounts and selling out to the highest bidder…

DannyX

June 9th, 2011
8:56 am

Who didn’t see this coming?

Anyone from Atlanta/Fulton/DeKalb would be crazy to support this referendum. This project isn’t for people that live in Fulton/DeKalb. Its for Cobb and Gwinnett to build their massive road projects.

The only way I would vote YES is if they split Fulton and DeKalb into their own, separate region. Of course that is out of the question. They want Fulton and DeKalb to help fund the suburbian projects. They want us to fund MARTA and bail them out of the traffic jam they did nothing about for 30 years. All of a sudden they want “regional cooperation.”

When the final project list is revealed it will have nothing in it for Fulton or Dekalb, except the tax. What a joke. A bigger joke is the AJC’s lopsided campaigning for success of this referendum, which leads me to believe they truly have left the city.

voiceofreason

June 9th, 2011
8:57 am

HB 277 is seriously flawed. It utilizes the district roundtables as an arm of DOT to get the word out on the 1% SPLOST, get it passed but DOT still has way too much control over the final projects list. Locals are seeing local projects cut by DOT hwich have regional significance. It will be a hard sell in rural areas. Transportation without rail is like a saw with no teeth.

FalconFan

June 9th, 2011
8:58 am

It is amazing how short sighted these people are. Citizens want something that works, whether it takes ten years or three months. The impact of a real rail line is much greate than a handful of road and bike lane additions. No one ever looks long term anymore and we wonder why our economy and public finances are in such dire conditions. We’ve become a “band-aid” country. I would not only vote NO to the referendum but work hard to convince others to also vote no if rail is not substantially included in the plan.

southern hope

June 9th, 2011
9:02 am

without rail, I”m 100% against this plan….why would I vote to spend zillions of dollars for more roads (which just leads to more congestion) with no vision and no way out. Makes me furious to think of the idiots we have in office here..that’s strong language but cities around the nation have amazing public transportation…only in our area is it deemed “unworkable” and “not wanted.”

Aquagirl

June 9th, 2011
9:02 am

I already pay an extra penny for rail. Why in the h3ll would I tax myself another penny so railaphobes can pave their way into more sprawl?

Now a penny sales tax to tow all those Cobb, Forsyth,etc, tagged cars out of the MARTA lots? I’d pay that in a heartbeat.

victor

June 9th, 2011
9:02 am

PS: trains are crowded enough during rush hour. Extending the lines is something to be talked about after the existing network has been improved. If we pay more taxes I want trains to be more frequent and with more cars, not a longer route with more people being squeezed in.

Basically, the ITP area as the main economic motor in Georgia has bled and paid for pork all over the state. Before we can even think about handing more nice, glitzy and costly improvements to the suburbs there have to be a lot of improvements made and paid for within the city.

Crude

June 9th, 2011
9:10 am

If it’s part of MARTA, I want no part of it. EVER.

The congestion around the metro Atlanta area could be substantially improved if someone at the DOT paid attention to how the traffic signals CREATE traffic, instead of filtering traffic out in a smoother manner.

Commuter

June 9th, 2011
9:21 am

You must be kidding me. I’d much rather sit in transit for an hour than drive an hour.

1. You save money from gas. One way to work for me was up to $8 at one point!
2. You can DO OTHER THINGS while you commute. Read a book? Take a nap? None of which is possible if you’re the driver.
3. You can bring cars off the road for people who actually need it (no transit in their area).
4. You can help the environment!

If you want the metro area to grow, we need rail and we need to take steps towards it now. It not only benefits the commuters out in the burbs, but also the businesses downtown. And besides…

C’MON PEOPLE: it’s ONE CENT. Give me a break.

jals

June 9th, 2011
9:28 am

If mass transit does not make up a large percentage of the total projects, I will vote NO.

Tired of BS

June 9th, 2011
9:34 am

No rail at all. MARTA is a flop! This is not Europe. Many would have you think that we are destined to be a prototype of European travel. Problem is that Americans, I include myself, prefer their cars. If rail were important to me I would live closer to it. I don’t want to. Crime is the biggest factor for me. Don’t tell me for one minute that the hood-rats, who have become increasingly bolder in their attacks btw, aren’t there because they know they have continuous victims.

GDOT needs to focus on roads. It would better serve the state by placing a toll on every interstate or state route coming in and going out of the state. We would have a huge windfall from the proceeds to keep roads repaired and maintained. Our deputy comish is more interested in promoting the hot lanes. Also, need to get an engineers back at the helm of GDOT. Since the 90’s way too many unqualified people have come in as office heads knowing little to nothing of the departments they control. These people control budgets and usually have their own agendas. I believe an office by office audit would prove me right.

Finally it’s time to push the political hacks who’ve brown nosed themselves a sweet seat on mahogany row out the door.

MARTA Rida

June 9th, 2011
9:37 am

Rail is a must and without it I will vote NO. Building more roads will only add to the problem.

Peter McGuire

June 9th, 2011
9:37 am

No rail no vote. Atlanta has to have more rail not roads. Georgia as a state must recognize that Atlanta is the economic powerhouse that drives our states economy. Without an accessible Atlanta the whole state loses. Citizens of this state need to realize without Atlanta we are more of a third world country than part of the United States. However you want to argue how it gets paid for doesn’t really matter. A stronger Atlanta equals a stronger Georgia.

Manny

June 9th, 2011
9:46 am

We have to build Rail, our answers to traffic and growing population isn’t more highway lanes. The south is so behind on mass transit, Atlanta will never content for bigger business and make the money it can by staying behind the times. I will vote no without it. When oil starts going up to 5,6 ot 7 bucks a gallon you gonna wish that was included!

T Knight

June 9th, 2011
9:46 am

I’m an Atlanta native. I’ve seen what MARTA has done to the once beautiful city I love.

I’m a NO vote plain and simple.

Bob

June 9th, 2011
9:50 am

The anti-rail comments are hilarious. “We didn’t put in rail years ago, why should we now?! I don’t want to spend more money! We should focus on exacerbating the problem rather than fixing it so that another 10 years down the road when my commute is 3 hours long, we can vote it down again!”

You can only pave so much land. Without a long term solution, the city is simply going to collapse. It’s time to take our lumps and suffer a proper rail construction project. I agree completely with the others: no rail, no vote.

View From Midtown

June 9th, 2011
9:51 am

Without a SUBSTANTIAL project-set for mass transit (which inherently includes rail projects) I’ll vote NO. If it the tax is going for nothing but more road-building, I won’t be supporting it.

Justin

June 9th, 2011
9:51 am

If there isn’t rail as part of the tax, I’m definitely voting “no”. There should definitely be road improvements included, but rail shouldn’t be totally sacrificed. Without significant rail improvements, ATL will end up with many of the same problems Detroit is having right now.

Susan

June 9th, 2011
9:51 am

No Rail = No Vote. We need to look to the future, congestion and the environment. Rail, commuter stations, bike lanes will all go far in making this into an effective city. Without it, we are doomed to failure.

RM

June 9th, 2011
9:52 am

No rail, no vote!

The failure by the metro area to plan and implement rail transit will doom it as a 2nd class, laughing stock of a city. In the future, the lack of rail will cost jobs, tax revenues and wealth. Despite tight fiscal times now, we must invest in the future, or there will not be one for Atlanta. Without a comprehensive transit system, the suburbs will go from their present state of housing devaluation, to that of being totally worthless. The suburban people should be especially pushing for rail transit. Unfortunately, most of the backwards-looking tea party idiots live in the suburbs.

Sarah

June 9th, 2011
9:54 am

If rail is not included – I would not vote. We are already in the 21st Century, and it’s time Atlanta finally built up a mass transit system. Improving roads only goes so far. We must be able to compete with other large cities. Who’s to say in 10 more years, when the tax runs out, that citizens won’t want to vote to extend it another 10 years? Especially if they can see the project is doing some good for the area. SPLOST referendums are often extended, why not this one? If there is no rail included, then I will not vote for this.

flintrock70

June 9th, 2011
9:56 am

Yes, I want RAIL!! We are not a real city without it. There will be no actual positive downtown growth and traffic problems will loom making it worse for everyone. Take the extra cent and build some rail to connect everything so people can commute easier and get around quicker. I may not see it, but I want it started. Guess I’m just not selfish like some people with my extra penny.

peachy life

June 9th, 2011
9:57 am

No rail, no tax, no way will I EVER vote for this bill.

Susan

June 9th, 2011
9:59 am

RM, the suburban people should be the first ones who consider transit. Look at DC, NY, Boston, SF, Chicago. All of them are cities with strong rail links to the suburbs. It isn’t just us urban-ites who benefit.

JW

June 9th, 2011
9:59 am

I live in one northern suburb and work in another northern suburb and have seen first hand that you can’t pave your way out of congestion. If rail isn’t part of the mix, I’m not going to support it. One of the best quotes I’ve heard- adding road capacity to relieve congestion is like loosening your belt to alleviate obesity.

hdhd

June 9th, 2011
10:02 am

With or without, I am NO.

Rail is something that needs to be addressed at the state level.

JJ

June 9th, 2011
10:04 am

I’m out of here in 5 years so I don’t really care. I’m on a 5 year plan to shuck the corporate world, sell EVERYTHING and move to St. Simons Island and live quietly for the rest of my life on Island Time!!!!

Matt

June 9th, 2011
10:08 am

Traffic is at critical mass and something MUST be done. Rail is the most viable answer. It’s too bad the OLD men that see roads as the only answer are in charge of this. Major cities have good public transit and until ALL of Atlanta takes it seriously we’ll still be known for our traffic rather than the many great things about our city.

JW

June 9th, 2011
10:09 am

Will not support unless rail is included.

blackbird13

June 9th, 2011
10:10 am

Not only must it include rail, if it isn’t mostly public transit my vote will be no. The whole situation is quite ironic: those who want roads built must align themselves with those willing to pay more tax–and those people generally want rail, not roads.

KP

June 9th, 2011
10:11 am

no rail included, then my vote is a no.

I’ve heard all the arguments against a metro wide rail system, and they are simply invalid when considering the benefits across the board. I’d love to go into Atlanta and do things with my kids, but I HATE the drive and the parking nightmare etc. We’d be thrilled to be able to take a train down to see the Aquarium, the Zoo, and all the other fun things there are in downtown. But if I have to drive and park? Nope, we’ll stay out

kris

June 9th, 2011
10:11 am

i am an absolute no vote if there is no transit.