State lacks leaders with vision of ‘the next Georgia’

Once-backward Vietnam, a land of rice paddies and thatched huts, is building a 1,000-mile high-speed rail line from Hanoi south to Ho Chi Minh City.

Meanwhile, Georgia can’t muster the will to build an ordinary, 26-mile passenger line from Atlanta to Lovejoy, even though $87 million in federal money was set aside last century to build the project.

That’s because, for most of that decade, Georgia has been drifting aimlessly, without direction or leadership. And even with a wholesale change in statewide elections scheduled for this fall, that doesn’t seem likely to change. Our political leaders seem far more intent on ganging up on some immigrant college kid than in getting this state out of its doldrums.

That’s too bad. Every Georgian is a beneficiary of dreamers and doers who have dared to seize the initiative. Many of those leaders, from Robert Woodruff through Ted Turner and Billy Payne, have been entrepreneurs and leaders from the private sector. But leaders of equal vision and daring have emerged from the public side.

In 1836, Alexander Stephens — who later became vice president of the Confederacy — helped convince legislators to fund the Western and Atlantic Railroad. They had to tax everyone from plantation owners to poor dirt farmers to raise the money, but that state-built railroad paid off handsomely by creating what became Atlanta.

Beginning in the ’20s, Atlanta Mayor William Hartsfield drove creation of an airport that is now the busiest on the planet, a public investment that gave this region its identity as a business and aviation center.

The ports in Savannah and Brunswick, also among the busiest in the nation, would not exist without public investment, nor would the jobs they bring. And the investments haven’t been limited to physical infrastructure. Govs. Ellis Arnall in the ’40s and Zell Miller in the ’90s focused the state’s resources on improving education, with measurable impacts on economic development and opportunity in the state.

In each of those examples, elected leaders understood that government is a legitimate and even necessary tool for making the lives of Georgians better. Today’s politicians, in contrast, compete on how vigorously they can reject any notion that government might possibly be of some assistance in building the next Georgia.

It’s still a little early in the process, but the absence of vision or mission among the candidates is striking.

Admittedly, these are difficult times in which to pitch a dream. But they are also the kind of times in which dreams are most necessary.

For example, real estate professionals agree that the auto-based, suburban growth mode that once drove the metro Atlanta economy is now as outdated as a Hummer.

That doesn’t mean that existing communities built along traditional suburban lines will falter, only that new growth will center on more dense, walkable neighborhoods in which rail becomes a viable transportation alternative. Around the country, that revised development model is being driven not by government dictate but by the market and demographics. There’s no serious doubt in the industry about the staying power of that change.

The next Georgia needs to take advantage of that market change or be left standing alone at the train station, so to speak.

This week, the Washington-based Brookings Institution released a study of the cost, impact and feasibility of a passenger rail line linking Atlanta with Macon. According to the study, commissioned by Georgians for Passenger Rail, building a 103-mile line with five stops between Macon and Atlanta would cost $400 million, with operating costs of $25 million.

The study also adds its voice to a chorus singing a familiar song: While we’ve drifted, other regions — Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Denver — have seized the initiative by making transit investments and are ready to benefit as the economy rebounds.

“Not investing in rail transit today would be akin to not investing in the highway system in the 1960s and 1970s,” the study warns.

In an era of tight budgets, $400 million can sound like a lot. Yet states and regions that once looked at Georgia with envy are producing leaders with foresight who are capable of overcoming such challenges.

Here at home, though, even politicians who understand the opportunity that we’re missing are too meek give that knowledge voice.

187 comments Add your comment

USinUK

May 28th, 2010
7:45 am

“That doesn’t mean that existing communities built along traditional suburban lines will falter, only that new growth will center on more dense, walkable neighborhoods in which rail becomes a viable transportation alternative”

nah – Georgians would rather b*tch and moan about $4/gal gas than actually, you know, DO anything about it …

drill,baby,drill!!!

Dave R.

May 28th, 2010
7:47 am

Wow! A study funded by people who want rail shows that rail is the answer.

Just like studies on climate change funded by governments show more government intervention on climate change is the answer.

Who woulda thunk it?

Dave R.

May 28th, 2010
7:49 am

Second! Darn you, USinUK! :(

USinUK

May 28th, 2010
7:50 am

sorry, dave … chalk it up to the 5-hour jump I have on you ;-)

Dave R.

May 28th, 2010
7:51 am

And we already have “dense neighborhoods”. We call them “liberal enclaves” here.

Truth Hurts

May 28th, 2010
7:52 am

Jay must have got stuck in a traffic jam this morning.

Stupid Love Joyians.

Rev. Al Sharptongue

May 28th, 2010
7:55 am

The issue is that Ga politics are still stuck in the 50’s. Its easy to get elected arguing the same issues while the rest of America passes us by.

When you have people in the majority who identify themselves as conservative and love the past. you can never have a forward thinking agenda.

The good ole boy network is alive and well

Peadawg

May 28th, 2010
7:57 am

7 posts and we already have Al spewing his hatred for the “good ole boys”. Great way to start a Friday! :roll:

Jay

May 28th, 2010
7:59 am

Having driven south on I-75 a couple of times recently at rush hour, I bet a lot of those folks would be eager for another option. Anybody here make that commute regularly?

Peadawg

May 28th, 2010
8:01 am

“Anybody here make that commute regularly?”

I live in Athens and try to avoid Atlanta at all costs. The only time I go anywhere near Atlanta is I-285 south to I-85 to Biloxi.

Gale

May 28th, 2010
8:03 am

I think there are two problems holding us back. People who don’t want a rail line built through a thriving (or not) community. Politicians and developers trying to be sure they have a lock on property deals so they get mega profit when the rail line finally does go forward.

Gale

May 28th, 2010
8:05 am

I do know the road south anytime is congested, so much so that it is foolish to try to jump start a Florida trip on Friday afternoons.

USinUK

May 28th, 2010
8:08 am

“Great way to start a Friday!”

you’re right, P … the BEST way to start a friday is …

HAPPY THREE-DAY WEEKEND, EVERYONE!!!

:-)

Mick

May 28th, 2010
8:08 am

Liberals, unions and gov’t – that is whole of conservative blame cycle, however, the reality is that those three built america into the greatest middle class during the 1950-1980. As soon as people started buying into the postulate that “gov’t is the problem”, 1980-2010, the country has been in a freefall of decline.

jconservative

May 28th, 2010
8:10 am

Actually it is worse than Goodman is telling you. It is not just Georgia but the whole country. There is a big vacuum on the planet for production of rapid rail systems. Some US cities are building the systems. Some countries are building the systems. How much of the hardware and software for those systems are being built in the USA?
None! See China, France and Germany.

China is eating our cake and we are are obsessed with gays in the military, obese children and unemployment.

Speaking of unemployed people, how many unemployed people does it take to build a 26 mile rail system from Atlanta to Lovejoy?

RB from Gwinnett

May 28th, 2010
8:10 am

The state also lacks a decent newspaper in it’s largest city.

Peadawg

May 28th, 2010
8:10 am

“HAPPY THREE-DAY WEEKEND, EVERYONE!!!”

That’s more like it. Plus, Monday is mine and my wife’s 2 year anniversary.

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

May 28th, 2010
8:11 am

Well, I’d rather haul the beer in a wheelbarrow than pay a penny to let a bunch of libruls and Those People ride a train north and south from Atlanta. I’m like most folks around here. If there’s nothing in it for me, I don’t want any part of it. And I don’t want trains bringing Crime up here to Forsyth County. We like what we got just fine—a few shootings once in a while at a beer joint or maybe some good old boy locked up for stealing taxpayer money, but all our flatscreen TVs are still on the wall and you can travel for miles without seeing a black face.

Anyhow, it’s Friday again and I’m a-hauling and getting ready so folks can wet their whistle and trade weird music tonight. Have a good day everybody. And you folks waiting around for us to pay for your train will have a beard down to your ankle at the old folks home before it happens.

N-GA

May 28th, 2010
8:11 am

I’ve ridden Amtrak from ATL to New Orleans…..slow (13 hours) and uncomfortable. I’ve also ridden hi-speed rail (Madrid to Seville). Fast and comfortable. So the real question is: Will commuters pay enough to make it viable? Seems that someone could have answered that question in less than 10 years.

USinUK

May 28th, 2010
8:12 am

Peadawg – well done, you!!! happy anniversary – I hope you have a lovely time celebrating!

Gale

May 28th, 2010
8:12 am

If GA had actually done some planning over the last decade, we would have been in a position to claim some of that stimulus money for a rail system; less unemployment, more revenue, fewer foreclosures. It is all in the planning, but we keep electing self servers instead of public servants.

USinUK

May 28th, 2010
8:12 am

let’s face it … you don’t want RAIL … it’s too darned EUROPEAN (and we all know what that REALLY means) …

USinUK

May 28th, 2010
8:13 am

Gale – 8:12 – well said.

Gale

May 28th, 2010
8:15 am

N-GA Question on that “hi-speed rail (Madrid to Seville)”. How many stops along the way?

Saul Good

May 28th, 2010
8:15 am

Taking the train is good enough for the multi-millionaires that live in Greenwich CT or Bedford NY into NYC everyday. It’s good enough for the wealthy that live outside of Boston and Washington DC… yet Atlanta will never come out of the dark ages as long as it continues to put republicans in office who FEAR that rail will also send “minorities” into their white-bread communities. It’s the very reason why MARTA never made it all the way to Windward. My own father (who was a successful banker) took the train from LI into NYC for over 30 years… he was actually was annoyed whenever he had to drive in. Those who think that 60+ minute commutes to go 20-25 miles is normal or just part of life need to realize that it’s NOT normal. The same ones who shout “drill baby drill” because they don’t want us dealing with terrorist regimes are the same one’s who never admit the truth…that we can WAY more oil by getting out of our cars and onto mass transit. Maybe they can use the “time” to read some books…. (and I don’t mean the comic and coloring books put out by Newt, Sean, Bill O, and Rush)… commuting via mass transit is WAY more productive as well.

Rev. Al Sharptongue

May 28th, 2010
8:18 am

Speaking of unemployed people, how many unemployed people does it take to build a 26 mile rail system from Atlanta to Lovejoy?

It would not matter, the argument would be about who would pay for it public or private. Of course many will complain about the rampant inner city crime coming out to their pristine communities.

with some in Ga. the negativity and racism will always outweigh smart policy

USinUK

May 28th, 2010
8:18 am

“… commuting via mass transit is WAY more productive as well.”

you got that right – by the time I get in to the office, I’ve read the paper and the mister has caught up on all his overnight e-mail …

Mick

May 28th, 2010
8:20 am

Congrats peadowg – have a great weekend..

N-GA

May 28th, 2010
8:20 am

Gale – One stop at Cordoba

A CONSERVATIVE

May 28th, 2010
8:21 am

NOT ONE PEEP OUT OF SONGbird BOOKMAN on OBAMAs total incometence…NOT ONE WORD…CAT GOT YOUR TONGUE–???s KoolAid drinker..

md

May 28th, 2010
8:22 am

“Having driven south on I-75 a couple of times recently at rush hour, I bet a lot of those folks would be eager for another option. Anybody here make that commute regularly?”

I used to every day – but came up with a simple solution – I moved.

USinUK

May 28th, 2010
8:22 am

“incometence”

:lol:

thanks for that

Majority's Rules

May 28th, 2010
8:23 am

Hey! Where’s my food stamps! Who took my food stamps. Billy BoB! John Boy! Which one of you took my food stamps! Now, git out there and fetch me some firewood for the stove and quit using it all on that still. I done told yall for the last time. That corn’s for the pigs and chickens and us to eat, not drink. And fetch me another pail of water whilst your at it.

md

May 28th, 2010
8:27 am

“let’s face it … you don’t want RAIL … it’s too darned EUROPEAN (and we all know what that REALLY means) …”

It means they taxed the crap out of gas and added fees to drive cars into the cities so that everybody would take the train :)

USinUK

May 28th, 2010
8:31 am

md – “It means they taxed the crap out of gas and added fees to drive cars into the cities so that everybody would take the train”

London is the only city I know if with a “congestion charge” – and it’s worked wonderfully here – it’s increased cycling and improved traffic flow

Pennsylvanian

May 28th, 2010
8:33 am

The reason Gwinnett and Cobb voters refused to fund MARTA is because MARTA refused to commit to a time line to build rail service in the NE and NW corridors. MARTA proposed ‘Park&Ride’ bus service to connect to existing stations. How stupid is that?

commoncents

May 28th, 2010
8:34 am

I’m all for more rails and mass transit! Hopefully it will bring more money into our beautiful city, and there will be less traffic on the road for when I drive to work!

USinUK

May 28th, 2010
8:34 am

“The reason Gwinnett and Cobb voters refused to fund MARTA is because MARTA refused to commit to a time line to build rail service in the NE and NW corridors.”

sorry, Penn-ian, but I lived in Cobb during those discussions … I remember exactly what those concerns were – it had nothing to do with time frames

RW-(the original)

May 28th, 2010
8:34 am

Where’s Lovejoy and why on earth would I want to ride a train there? Oh well, if it’s high speed and only 26 miles why not….

just kidding, Hello day shift. Since you’re all here I guess it’s my turn to work again. See y’all this evening

P.S. Did any of you see that presser from yesterday? Baghdad Bob now seems credible for some reason. The hair dye from the weekly coloring must be seeping into Obama’s cranium.

Bye!

Moderate Line

May 28th, 2010
8:36 am

State lacks leaders with vision of ‘the next Georgia’
+++++++++++++++
If you go to New York, Washington, Seattle, Los Angeles or Chicago you will see Jay’s vision of the next Georgia. Where the people I know who make a comparable salary to myself commute 1 to 11/2 hours to work in order to pay for a house that cost twice as much as mine and is half the size.

Change is inevetiable, progress is not.

Interesting Observation

May 28th, 2010
8:36 am

Jay, all it takes is for a few Sadie Fields’ to scream that a politician is not religious enough and a social issue will be put on the ballot so quickly it will make your head spin. Need I say more?

FrankLeeDarling

May 28th, 2010
8:36 am

During holidays I visit in-laws in Greenville SC, and it is a bumper to bumper conveyor belt all the way.I might as well be sitting on a train having a drink.

md

May 28th, 2010
8:37 am

“London is the only city I know if with a “congestion charge” ”

I added that one just for you.

larry

May 28th, 2010
8:39 am

I think we are fixing to see how much people want rail service with the cuts MARTA is considering. I’d much rather spend money on rail than adding another lane to the interstates. We are about to run out of rooom. Remember how bad it was going to the Braves game before the Braves shuttle?

USinUK

May 28th, 2010
8:41 am

“Where the people I know who make a comparable salary to myself commute 1 to 11/2 hours to work in order to pay for a house that cost twice as much as mine and is half the size.”

hooray! so, let’s get rid of ANYthing that smacks of progress just so we can keep cost of living down … (we’ll just wave from our front porches as the rest of the world passes us by)

USinUK

May 28th, 2010
8:41 am

md – I thought so :-)

md

May 28th, 2010
8:42 am

“Our political leaders seem far more intent on ganging up on some immigrant college kid than in getting this state out of its doldrums.”

This is why people get ticked about the ajc – a cheap shot.

We all know the issue is much bigger than “some immigrant college kid”.

Pennsylvanian

May 28th, 2010
8:42 am

USinUK – I do not know anybody who bought into that race baiting crap about MARTA bringing crime the the suburbs. You?

Scout

May 28th, 2010
8:42 am

“OFF TOPIC #1″

Yawn.

SOUTHERN ATL

May 28th, 2010
8:45 am

For the last past eight years, Georgia has literally gone down the tube… Most voters continue to focus on candidates that have swagger but have no intentions on serving “ALL” of the people of this state. There are so many issues that we face but employment, transportation, and education will affect most of us, directly or indirectly. When Saxby Chambliss was running against Jim Martin for the seat in Congress, the AJC journalist Wooten wrote an article entitled “It Is Vital That We Keep Saxby Chambliss”. What I fail to understand is; if a politician can hold an office more than two terms, why can’t they accomplish something that all citizens can benefit from? What real purpose does any politician have when they can hold lifetime positions for offices that should have strict term limits? Wake up Georgia!! We need vision/action and NOT swagger!!

Gale

May 28th, 2010
8:45 am

Thanks N-GA. So Madrid to Seville, one stop. And we are discussing a “high speed” rail between Atlanta and Macon with “5″ stops. That won’t be high speed.

md

May 28th, 2010
8:46 am

Rail – it has to start somewhere, and that is the problem – convincing 95% of the population that it needs to start for the 5% around the Lovejoy line.

Pennsylvanian

May 28th, 2010
8:46 am

The fare structure at MART is ridiculously low. If they would implement a time/distance variable fare like Washington’s Metro, they would not be in such a financial mess.

Shawny

May 28th, 2010
8:47 am

Atlanta to Lovejoy?!?!?

That is stupid.

Speaking of poor leadership, Marta is looking at cutting out bus service from Five Points to Turner Field. Don’t they know that this will result in NO ONE taking the train (lost revenue) to the games now? In addition, it will result in fewer fans attending games in general (more lost revenue).
So, we can’t go the game, but you want us to go to Lovejoy? huh?

I know that you feel it is a way for some to commute from the southside to Atlanta, so I understand. But what is probably more needed is another Marta rail connection down the I75S corridor to, say, the Southlake mall area and one up the I75N corridor to Marietta.
The current rail needs expansion. A lot of people don’t ride it because it doesn’t go where they need to go. Make it go everywhere like the Metro in D.C. and ridership will increase, effeciencies will be realized, and revenue will increase.
We don’t need some new fangled line to Lovejoy.

Mid GA Retiree

May 28th, 2010
8:47 am

Hey Rev. Al, what’s wrong with wanting to protect our “pristine” small, rural communities from rampant inner city crime? It may be normal for you, but not for those of us who live in rural parts of Georgia. On a more serious note, the comment, “what’s in it for me” is really the crux of the whole issue of rail transit. It will not affect Butler, or Cuthbert, or the other smaller communities in our state and maybe we just fear that rail transit will turn us into another bunch of flaming liberals. I think we need some kind of rail service, but whoever sells it to all Georgians needs to come up with a better line than just how it benefits Atlanta.

No Longer Republican

May 28th, 2010
8:47 am

Jay has some very good points. We have no one in Georgia who is “pitching” anything to get this state out its current condition. No one in the private sector at the moment, and definitely no one in the public sector. Our governor and state house and senate leaders are too busy playing politics and trying to keep power in their hands and the hands of their friends to actually do any sort of leading. But then you’ve got the morons who post on this board supporting them and you see whay the state of Georgia is 47th in education and soon to be worse. If only people would just use the brain God gave them instead of follow like sheep.

larry

May 28th, 2010
8:47 am

I know plenty of people that bought into that “race-baiting crap”.

USinUK

May 28th, 2010
8:48 am

Penn – “I do not know anybody who bought into that race baiting crap about MARTA bringing crime the the suburbs. You?”

riiiiiiiiiiiight … 1970s Cobb County didn’t have race in mind when they voted against marta …

AmVet

May 28th, 2010
8:49 am

Good morning everybody, here in Hotlanta and elsewhere. Playing that tasty Santana piece Bruno selected last night. Niiice…

Notwithstanding, myopic, wrong headed and counterproductive politicians, springtime always confirms for me that Georgia is such a sweet place to live.

Enjoy the day, I’ll be back later to throw my two dozen cents worth in…

NRB2

May 28th, 2010
8:50 am

Might I suggest that all dumb liberals who want a financial black whole like “public transportation” just shut up and move to Vietnam then.

USinUK

May 28th, 2010
8:50 am

Penn – 8:46 – totally agree with you on that – all mass trans fares should be based on distance travelled

FrankLeeDarling

May 28th, 2010
8:51 am

Transit aside,I think Jay is on the money about Georgia leadership,too many hillbilly blowhards that pander to the religious right and developers to line their pockets, with no vision of what Georgia could be,It’s just easier to Just bash Atlanta,liberals and those people.

md

May 28th, 2010
8:53 am

“But then you’ve got the morons who post on this board supporting them and you see whay the state of Georgia is 47th in education and soon to be worse.”

Care to expand on that “47″, or did you pick it to make your point?

Majority's Rules

May 28th, 2010
8:53 am

I’m just surprised that some resourceful entrepreneur has not developed a means of linking cars together and towing them with a single vehicle between major cities. Perhaps a series of auto-sized conveyor belts.

The Cynical White Boy

May 28th, 2010
8:55 am

Then again, in this new internet connected world….we could all decide to ….God forbid…arrange our lives where we actually WALK or bike to and from where we REALLY need to go. Ah, but then, obesity would go down and we wouldn’t have a chance to use our Obama care would we?

Matilda

May 28th, 2010
8:57 am

The “good ol’ boys” have shown us the limits of their interest in improving the quality of anything in this state and the full extent of their capabilities. Color me not impressed. It’s time to punt, people. To keep electing corrupt empty suits cut from the same cloth is the definition of insanity. It’s up to us to make it stop.

Majority's Rules

May 28th, 2010
8:57 am

And we are discussing a “high speed” rail between Atlanta and Macon with “5″ stops. That won’t be high speed.

You apparently have not sen the new ejector seat design. The seats have been shown to survive the impact and can be re-used multiple times.

Eric

May 28th, 2010
8:58 am

Atlanta’s gotten too big! Let’s stop growth and “progress” before we get into a further mess. Let’s keep business as usually and maybe people will move elsewhere, like Nashville or Birmingham. People are tired of “new visions,” so please give it a rest, Jay.

pcBobby

May 28th, 2010
8:58 am

Great column, Jay. There are just so many politically active folk in suburbia/exurbia who just don’t understand that the design of their neighborhoods are truly outmoded.

There are solutions out there, but they would rather say, “We shouldn’t have to pay for MARTA’s sins.”

OK, well then, what should we do? Their answer to the metro area’s transportation problems is installing plants on the centerstrip of their traffic-clogged roads. That idea is tantamount to putting lipstick on a pig.

Do these self-described politically engaged members of suburbia/exurbia have solutions to this and many other problems? No. Wait a minute, I stand corrected. They do have answers: tax cuts. We’ve had those before and look where that has gotten us-nowhere.

If all communities developed reliable, safe and affordable alternative transportation options, then our roads will be less clogged, air would be cleaner and we would rely much less on foreign oil from countries that wish to destroy us. Are those nuts and berries enviro-whacko ideas? To me, those solutions sound, dare I write it? Conservative?

Indeed, investments like a sales tax (isn’t that a cousin of the FAIR Tax?) in combination with private investors could make this happen. Yes, these self-described suburban/exurban politicos would of course yell, “Tax Increase!” But, if these investments are made up front, we all could save huge dollars in the future — not to mention the environment. It sounds like a win-win situation to me.

Citizen of the World

May 28th, 2010
8:58 am

Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Denver don’t have the kind of entrenched racism we have here. Originally, much of Atlanta’s rapid suburban and exurban population growth was spurred by white flighters, and now many of those same people (or their children) still think they can keep the riff-raff (i.e., blacks and others of dubious racial and ethnic heritage) out by keeping public transportation out. Wrong, of course, but look what that fear hath wrought — six, seven lanes of bumper to bumper traffic moving at a crawl during rush hour.

And just a few years ago in Gwinnett, they had an opportunity to join MARTA, but voted it down. I had to laugh and cry at the same time.

Majority's Rules

May 28th, 2010
8:59 am

Haven’t you heard, Matilda. The problems are all at the federal level. The state and local levels of government are already perfect, except for those that are still controlled by Democrats.

RB from Gwinnett

May 28th, 2010
9:02 am

I’d be a lot more supportive of MARTA if it wasn’t just another Atlanta jobs program run by incompetent people constantly whining about needing more money. Perhaps Jay and acutally do some reporting for a change and tell us how many people in the MARTA management system make over 100K while cutting service. That migh actually be useful reporting vs. this crap we get from him day after day after day.

USinUK

May 28th, 2010
9:04 am

“Perhaps Jay and acutally do some reporting for a change and tell us how many people in the MARTA management system make over 100K while cutting service”

gosh … that sounds like pretty much EVERY company listed on the stock exchange …

Majority's Rules

May 28th, 2010
9:07 am

You cannot earn 100k flipping burgers no matter how many decades you do it. Them’s the rules.

Finn McCool

May 28th, 2010
9:10 am

Pennsylvanian

May 28th, 2010
9:10 am

CotW @ 8:58 – “And just a few years ago in Gwinnett, they had an opportunity to join MARTA, but voted it down. ” Wrong. Gwinnett taxpayers were asked to fund MARTA, but would get no rail service.

white contractor

May 28th, 2010
9:12 am

Would MARTA or ATL hire me?

Citizen of the World

May 28th, 2010
9:12 am

RB @ 9:02, MARTA is not just another jobs program, it’s a vital part of Atlanta’s infrastructure that cleanly and efficiently moves thousands and thousands of people everyday for both work and recreation, which in turn generates tons of business and tax revenues.

And if you doubt the value of public transportation, just watch as other Southern cities like Charlotte overtake us in growth, prosperity and livability (which spurs further growth and prosperity) because they were proactive and forward-thinking about getting a good, regional transportation system in place.

Gale

May 28th, 2010
9:12 am

RB, it is an opinion blog. If you don’t like what Jay writes to spur discussion, you do not have to read his blog day after day.

@@

May 28th, 2010
9:13 am

I don’t follow the Lovejoy Rail issue, that closely, although the impact (as planned) would be direct for my area. I do get tired of everyone claiming it’s racism that’s the problem. The majority of Clayton County voters, predominately black, have said “NO” repeatedly. They don’t wanna pay for the cost of maintenance.

It do get tiresome for those of us (black and white) to be called racists, when, in fact, the reasons have nothing to do with that.

Enjoy discussing something about which you have no first-hand knowledge.

Peadawg

May 28th, 2010
9:15 am

Kinda off topic, but hilarious:
http://www.ajc.com/news/driving-in-georgia-proceed-536912.html
“Georgia’s drivers are still below average, but improving, according to a nationwide survey by a leading auto insurer.”

@@

May 28th, 2010
9:15 am

Don’t know if it’s been mentioned, but you guys might want to read Kyle Wingfield’s series on MARTA, which ran last week, I think it was.

Bootsie

May 28th, 2010
9:15 am

How about rail from Macon to Chattanooga? That would be a good thing. On a tragic note, I’m working both Saturday and Monday.

Paulo977

May 28th, 2010
9:17 am

Mick YES
re: that “Gov’t is the problem 1980-2010″rant Oh absolutely . The irony is that Gov’t controlled standardized testing began its death hold at the same time!!!

Bombshell McGhee

May 28th, 2010
9:19 am

Our society is built around the automobile. Build public transportation and a couple of benefits would be your ugly kids won’t be so fat and you can get drunk in the afternoon without worrying about a DUI.

RB from Gwinnett

May 28th, 2010
9:21 am

Gale, that would be great for you wouldn’t it? The only major newspaper in the state of Georgia bought and paid for by the DNC spewing it’s socialist agenda to the masses unopposed.

Gee Gale, can you think of any other places in the world where socialist inclined people have total control of the media???? How’s that working out, Gale? Try thinking for a change.

Finn McCool

May 28th, 2010
9:23 am

RB, can you tell the difference between a “reporter” and an “editorial writer”? Try thinking for a change?

N-GA

May 28th, 2010
9:26 am

Gale – Typically commuter rail lines schedule “local” trains and “express” trains. I expect that a line running from ATL to Macon would have both, so commuters could decide which they preferred. For example, an express 1-way might cost $25 and a local 1-way only $17. Demand would then dictate supply.

Daedalus

May 28th, 2010
9:27 am

Spill, baby Spill.

Spill here, spill now.

Enjoy your car.

N-GA

May 28th, 2010
9:29 am

Finn (your 9:23) – People in Gwinnett would hear a loud implosion.

USinUK

May 28th, 2010
9:31 am

RB – “The only major newspaper in the state of Georgia bought and paid for by the DNC spewing it’s socialist agenda to the masses unopposed.”

dude. it’s a blog.

seriously … try some decaf …

Brad Steel

May 28th, 2010
9:33 am

Why would anyone want to go to backwater dumps like Lovejoy or Macon?

Sounds like a formula for creating more unnecessary bedroom commuter dumps and diluting the regional benefits of more densely developed Atlanta. Pretty short-sighted vision.

Real vision would be a high-speed regional interstate train to Greenville and Charlotte and extended to B’ham, Savannah and Orlando.

But expectations for the south to get-it-together are low. Guess we’ll just have to settle for a NASCAR museum.

clem

May 28th, 2010
9:33 am

We get what we vote for, and as long as we continue voting for people who have no vision but who shout I love Jesus the loudest, who shout I hate immigrants the loudest, who shout I hate Obama the loudest, and who shout I hate liberals the loudest, our state will continue to suffer.

newkid

May 28th, 2010
9:35 am

If it is true that most of our would-be leaders are reactive rather than introspective, one must consider the fact that for the past 60+ years our US geographical growth model has been prototypically suburbanization. These would-be leaders are – indeed we likely all are – imbued with that model. Even if they should, how likely is it that these would-be leaders are inclined to chase to ground questions related to the continued relevance of those non-organic factors (e.g., a McCarthy era governmental paranoia with the implications of nuclear attacks on city populations that were then the predominate mode of geographic growth) that drove the nation – in the late 1940s and beyond – to a suburbanization growth model?

Jay, would you please give today’s topic a bit more context by doing something in this space to put in context the factors that drove the nation to a suburbanization growth model? I’ve had a number of recent conversations with officials from Asian cities and provinces that are undergoing – or have already undergone – extremely rapid population growth in urban areas, and each was quite perplexed by the ‘logic’ behind our urban-suburban growth model.

Michael Smith

May 28th, 2010
9:35 am

More standard leftist nonsense urging more looting of the taxpayers so the state can carry out its grand vision of forcing us into whatever mode of transportation fascists like Bookman think should be rammed down our throats.

You’re a looter, Bookman, plain and simple. You look at the property of Georgia’s citizens as just one big pile of loot to be seized and spent as you or some other looter deems fit, regardless of what the owner of that money wants.

RB from Gwinnett

May 28th, 2010
9:37 am

“and who shout I hate liberals the loudest, our state will continue to suffer.”

Show us any city, state, or country run by liberals that isn’t a cesspool about to collapse financially. They’re all running out of other people’s money.

Truth Hurts

May 28th, 2010
9:37 am

I would support the Love Joy rail line if, and only if, it continued on to Savannah. And if taxes were not raised (plenty of waste in state government still left to cut)(arts council, judicial wages, school administrators,etc….) and no federal funds (they have no money and they are too corrupt).

That is the American way.

USinUK

May 28th, 2010
9:38 am

“You look at the property of Georgia’s citizens as just one big pile of loot to be seized and spent as you or some other looter deems fit, regardless of what the owner of that money wants.”

ohfergawdssake …

Matilda

May 28th, 2010
9:39 am

“Why would anyone want to go to backwater dumps like Lovejoy or Macon?”

Um, let’s not have everybody move into MY neighborhood, which is already congested enough, mmmm-kay? It’s FINE to live out there in the exo-burbs! PLEASE! Move to the exo-burbs and don’t try to cram another McMansion on the little corner of undeveloped grass in my zip code! You wanna train to get back and forth? YES! Let’s build the trains!

Hillbilly Deluxe

May 28th, 2010
9:40 am

I don’t live in the Metro area, so it doesn’t effect me but my question is, why did they choose Lovejoy? What made it the community that needs rail more than some other outlying community? From my limited travels down that way, traffic is bad everywhere. Just curious.