Metro voters at least open to transportation tax

It would be great if next year’s region-wide referendum on a new transportation tax were to pass by the margin suggested in a newly released AJC poll. According to Mason-Dixon pollsters, 51 percent of registered voters say they would approve the one-penny tax, with just 36 percent opposed.

In fact, if repeated next year, such a result would be more than great. It would be downright shocking.

That’s not a reflection on the merits of the poll, which probably offers an accurate snapshot of public sentiment as it exists today. The only problem is, the vote won’t be held today. Given that Mason-Dixon found that just 29 percent of metro voters are even somewhat familiar with the proposed tax, a lot of minds are destined to change, one way or the other, in the months to come.

In fact, if the referendum does pass, I’d bet it would be by fewer than five percentage points. At the moment, even that would be a bit of an upset.

However, the poll results do offer a lot of pleasant surprises and cause for optimism, suggesting that the political landscape is not quite as forbidding as it might have seemed. It also offers one unpleasant result that isn’t a surprise in the least and may represent the proposal’s single biggest obstacle to passage.

For example, are suburban voters in Cobb and Gwinnett opposed to the measure before they even know much about it? No. By a margin of 48 to 42 percent, they say they support it.

Will transportation advocates have to overcome a knee-jerk opposition to new taxes in general? No again. Only 42 percent say they would refuse to support this or any other tax increase.

You also hear a lot of claims that metro Atlantans just won’t vote to spend money on public transit. Again, the poll suggests otherwise. Two-thirds of those responding believe that their community would benefit from expanded transit, and 82 percent agree that it’s important to encourage commuting via transit.

Overall, 91 percent of those polled said it was important to address the region’s transportation problems, and 67 percent said that congestion is causing a decline in quality of life here. Those are all good baseline numbers upon which to build a successful campaign. People understand there’s a problem and they want a solution.

So what’s the bad news? When voters were asked whether state and local officials would end the one-penny sales tax in 10 years, only 42 percent had faith the promise would be kept. The fact that the promise is written into law, ensuring that the tax could be renewed only if voters re-approve it come 2022, doesn’t change the reality that the public is deeply distrustful.

That lack of faith, driven in part by decisions such as keeping a toll on Ga. 400 beyond the promised time frame, is probably the single biggest obstacle to be overcome.

It also doesn’t help much that mechanisms for planning, funding and executing the regionwide transportation plan are awkward and unwieldy. That’s a direct consequence of a General Assembly and governor that were less interested in solving the problem than in finding a way to dump responsibility on someone else, in this case voters and local officials. If a camel is a horse designed by committee, this process is admittedly a camel.

On the other hand, if you’re stuck in the desert with no other options, a camel can be quite a fine transportation alternative. And that’s pretty much where we find ourselves. As voices rise in opposition to the referendum, it will be important to ask what alternative solutions they propose because realistically, there aren’t any.

– Jay Bookman

251 comments Add your comment

Good Little Liberal

September 26th, 2011
7:26 am

Same old argument. If you work near a MARTA line, it works. If not, no one is going to spend hours doing the bus transfers to get to work.

Jm

September 26th, 2011
7:46 am

It will take leadership and a unified voice from all the municipal leaders for this to succeed.

Voters need to understand why this is needed.

So far, I don’t see the selling happening….

Normal

September 26th, 2011
7:46 am

I don’t know…years ago, when I lived in East Point and worked downtown, I took the bus because of city traffic and parking fees. I had to transfer in West End. The bus stop was at a Krispy Kreme, though. It was nice to sit in the bus, eating a couple of glazed doughnuts, fresh from the fat, sip some coffee, and read the AJC. All and all, not a bad deal. And…that’s the point, you make the best of your situation. Too many people feel that public transportation is beneath them. Try it before you knock it, is all I’m saying.

Jm

September 26th, 2011
7:47 am

….but it’s still early

Jm

September 26th, 2011
7:51 am

GLL fair point

Fast transit (faster and easier than a car) needs to go everywhere you need to go

Or it’s a bust

ByteMe

September 26th, 2011
8:03 am

So only 29% know about it at this point? That means that 71% of the people who vote are ignorant of something that’s been discussed quite a bit in the 6 months since it passed. And the ignorant vote, too… and unfortunately, they’re more likely to vote against their best interests.

Good Little Liberal

September 26th, 2011
8:04 am

Jm

Normal has a point. Some people do believe that it is beneath them.

I drive a 1999 Chevy so nothing is beneath me. Here’s my problem:

It’s a possible 15 minute wait for every transfer so you need to factor that into your schedule. Catching the bus and one transfer adds as much as 30 minutes, if the buses are on time. Once you get to where you are going, you are without a car. Going to lunch, running out to a meeting somewhere, it’s all impossible.

It’s just a very tight group of people with very specific needs that can ride a bus or really ride the trains. For special events, the trains are great and riding a bike also works with trains and buses, but if a person is dressed for business, oil on the pant leg and a sweaty shirt is not good.

The way the system works, it just doesn’t work for that many people. No matter how high gas prices get, MARTA cannot be an alternative except for a few people. As I have said, a system that would transfer cars like a land ferry would work but as Bro stated, it would take forever to load up all the cars. There’s probably a solution, but I have no idea what it is. I just know that no matter how much taxes are raised and how many people want MARTA to be the answer, it just isn’t.

N-GA

September 26th, 2011
8:05 am

In Copenhagen there are bike racks 2-high at all intown train depots. Literally thousands of bike racks. And they are free. Danes take the train in from the burbs, then ride their bikes to work. City streets have bike lanes separated from auto lanes by concrete “curbs”. Pedestrians must be more alert for bicycles than cars.

I don’t remember seeing any obese Danes……..

Rick in Grayson

September 26th, 2011
8:06 am

Good Little Liberal said it all!

I don’t work or live anywhere near a metro rail station. It would cost me more money and time to use Marta to get to work. This is not New York City or Chicago! Atlanta is one big burb.

Gwinnett County has a higher population than Atlanta (downtown) and is too spread out to put trains everywhere.

Jay

September 26th, 2011
8:09 am

Once the train lines exist, development and density will concentrate around the stations in the same way that development pops up around a new interstate interchange. That’s been the experience in the Washington, D.C. metro area and every other place where rail has been installed.

It’s a chicken-and-egg question.

Mike B.

September 26th, 2011
8:09 am

If mass transit has all these benefits, why do we need a special tax to subsidize it? Just set the fares at a point high enough to cover the costs.

Rick in Grayson

September 26th, 2011
8:10 am

The answer is to get more big employers to locate in a suburban location and eventually their employees would move to that location reducing traffic on the interstates.

Build an airport out by commerce and allow north Metro residents and employers to use that airport.

Bill Orvis White

September 26th, 2011
8:19 am

Public transport is a boondoggle. City after city shows that it loses money and people don’t end up living near train stations because of the crime and noise. America loves its cars, trucks and SUVs, pure and simple.

ByteMe

September 26th, 2011
8:21 am

If mass transit has all these benefits, why do we need a special tax to subsidize it? Just set the fares at a point high enough to cover the costs.

Dunno, why do we have taxes to subsidize roads, air travel, and so on?

Paul

September 26th, 2011
8:27 am

Best of luck to you.

Looks like people are distrustful of govt and money at many levels – not just federal.

Gale

September 26th, 2011
8:34 am

Sprawl works against a public trans solution. We live all over and work all over. I can imagine a solution that would work for me and plenty of folks out my way at the home collection point; a local kiss and ride point. But that last mile is a problem. We don’t work at the same place even if we did get an express ride (with the reduction of cars on the road) to Perimeter or Downtown. We have all added at least a half hour to our trips for the convenience of that 15 minute express ride.

Jm

September 26th, 2011
8:35 am

Jay 8:09 so far that has not proven to be the case in Atlanta

Call it like it is

September 26th, 2011
8:35 am

Comes down to trust pure and simple. The govt is not doing anything right now to garner us paying more taxes. Jay you hit it on the head with the 400 toll that was closed down for a week, then open right back up. Even written into law, they will come up with a way to dodge it. Also too many questions, in regards to where the money will go. I will be surprised if it passes. It depends on how many scary commericals the state puts out about it.

Gale

September 26th, 2011
8:37 am

Satellite office would be a good idea. They could even be shared by the big companies. Give staff a place to work in the burbs. Share teleconference facilities. Share conference rooms and the like. I think these places are already working for small business.

stands for decibels

September 26th, 2011
8:38 am

Fast transit (faster and easier than a car)

Speaking only for myself, it doesn’t have to be faster, just in-the-ballpark. ±33% average elapsed time or so.

Jm

September 26th, 2011
8:39 am

Enter your comments here

carlosgvv

September 26th, 2011
8:44 am

Voters do have a lack of faith that politicians will keep their promises. It isn’t just that they doubt the tax will end in 10 years. The other doubt is that all the money will be spent on transportation and not on politician’s pet pork projects.

cobbco

September 26th, 2011
8:44 am

$1 billion in new cobb county taxes to get a rail line from midtown to cumberland mall? No thanks–a total waste of money. If cumberland business owners want that rail line to get them more money, let them pay for it.

Jm

September 26th, 2011
8:45 am

Walk the Talk

September 26th, 2011
8:47 am

We were out riding around parts of Gwinnett, Hall and a few other counties over the weekend and we saw lots of empty buildings so I just don’t see the concern regarding mass transportation. All we need to do is properly utilize all that empty space by putting people to work within walking distance of home and shopping and schools and just get rid of this issue of transportation for everyone and save that tax money for more important things like getting rid of abortions and stuff. Everything else can be covered by telecommuting.

Jm

September 26th, 2011
8:48 am

Sfd

Door to door it should be faster IMO

Given car parking time etc, it doesn’t have to be exactly the same

But with transit u have walking time, stops, transfers etc

At the pace of advancing gridlock in ATL though, it should be competitive soon enough

Peter

September 26th, 2011
8:49 am

I support public transit (MARTA) but, sadly, it’s not likely to happen in my lifetime :(

Past lack of foresight by Georgia “leadership” has cost the state in so many areas. (I look forward to going home when I retire.)

Walk the Talk

September 26th, 2011
8:50 am

It’s a good thing Sonny ended that Ga 400 toll right on schedule as promised otherwise people might not have good reason to trust the politicians occupying Georgia.

Peter

September 26th, 2011
8:55 am

Yes the real deal is…if the GOP gets their tax like the GA 400 toll, they won’t let it go as they plan.

That would be a LIE………but hey that is the Georgia GOP.

Chris

September 26th, 2011
8:55 am

To those who think public transit is only helpful to those who live near a train station–the stations in the burbs all have huge park and ride lots. So you can drive to the station and then ride in. Also, even if you find it impossible to use public transit, it still keeps thousands of people off the roads, so it reduces gridlock, which helps everyone.

stands for decibels

September 26th, 2011
8:56 am

Door to door it should be faster IMO

Given car parking time etc, it doesn’t have to be exactly the same

Maybe if you factor in some of the time spent on stuff one can do on the bus/train that one might be doing at home instead (reading/watching news, napping…) it becomes more time-effective for some. Just speculation though.

MountainMan

September 26th, 2011
8:56 am

Parking is too cheap (relatively) in Atlanta to encourage mass transit. In cities where it works, parking is either non existant or extremely expensive. Atlanta still has a lot of parking downtown at a rate that people are willing to pay. In the perimter office parks it is free. As long as you have some place to park your car then people will more than likely drive.

Fly-On-The-Wall

September 26th, 2011
9:00 am

I believe it light rail is built then people will use it. It may, in the beginning, not have the total ridership it would like to have but it will grow over time if is is allowed to by our so called representatives in state government. They seem to be against anything like this so my fear is that they would find a way to choke it much like they do with Marta and that silly 50% revenue requirement.

If we can be creative, like the Danes and other countries then we can solve this problem. But much like any addict you have to admit that you have a problem to begin with and I think many of our so called leaders do not think that the problem is as bad as it is.

Jm

September 26th, 2011
9:00 am

Jay where’s the column about insane democrats threatening to shut the government down because the republicans tried to save a couple billion as offsets to the emergency aid

Moderate Lamar Alexander said senate dems should have passed it but refused

What say you? (or are there no sinners in the House of Democrats?)

Walk the Talk

September 26th, 2011
9:03 am

Republicans cannot be trusted.

Politi Cal

September 26th, 2011
9:04 am

MARTA is almost useless if you don’t live near a line (and not many of us do). By the time I drive to a train station, park my car, walk to the line, wait on the train, and sit for thirty to forty minutes on the train, and get off the train six blocks frtom my job, I can be where I wanted to go aleady in a car. It needs not only to be efficient but also convenient.

jj

September 26th, 2011
9:04 am

The problem with the bill as proposed is it has mass spending but very little mass transit.
This is what people will pay for:
Marta trains up 400 to Windward
East 20 to Conyers
West 20 to Douglasville
South on 85 to Peachtree City
South on 75 to McDonough
N on 75 to Busbee Parkway
N on 85 Steve Reynolds
No money for bike lanes or little intersection projects that are in the plan to keep every area of every county happy.
We currently have MARTA serving the city of Atlanta and it’s 420,000 people, the problem is there are another 5 million not being served.

Fly-On-The-Wall

September 26th, 2011
9:05 am

JM,

I don’t think it is insane Democrats but continually insane Republicans who think that every emergency must have an offset spending cut. I don’t see too many cuts in the areas where we can truly save money, such as defence.

The Republicans (really the insane Tea Party people) need to understand that you cannot continually cut without hurting at some point. The company I work for is experiencing the same thing. Our previous CEO cut so much that we now do not have enough people to grow the business. This will happen to a nation as well when we need to grow the country to meet the 21st century challenges. Drop the cut demands and fund FEMA!

Bosch

September 26th, 2011
9:06 am

“Jay where’s the column about insane democrats threatening to shut the government down because the republicans tried to save a couple billion as offsets to the emergency aid”

It’s at blogger.com under Jm’s Random Venting Blog….go for it.

Jm

September 26th, 2011
9:09 am

Sfd I don’t disagree

At least until cars drive themselves

Google and VW already have prototypes

HDB

September 26th, 2011
9:09 am

For me, the issue isn’t the tax (I’m for it!)…but the issue is would ALL of the metro governments work together in an attempt to SOLVE the region’s transportation problem….or would the continued INFIGHTING keep the transportation issue gridlocked?? When MARTA was envisioned in the 70s, all of the metro Atlanta counties were considered…bus lines fed the rail system, and the rail system could rapidly move passengers throughout the system. The animosity of governments OTP to Atlanta residents fueled the downscaled approach to serve only Fulton and DeKalb residents! Now that traffic is at such a point, not only must we revisit a complete integration of ALL transportation systems (MARTA, CCT, GRTA, GCT) into one regional system, but we MUST work on integrating all of the traffic signals (i.e., updating the computer systems) and better systemic design of traffic patterns!!

When a road is designed…by the time it’s completed….it’s OBSOLETE!!!

stands for decibels

September 26th, 2011
9:11 am

Jm @ 9.00, Lamar! Alexander?

What can I say. Like Hebrew National, some of us have to answer to an even higher authority.

Gotta go produce. Later.

poison pen

September 26th, 2011
9:13 am

Jay, Is there a map of what is being proposed, I went to Marta’s web site and couldn’t find anything.
I hope this isn’t another one of those, ” we will know what’s in it after it passes “

Walk the Talk

September 26th, 2011
9:16 am

Republicans have set a precedent on their so-called promises with Sonny’s stop-start of the Ga 400 toll. They can essentially promise to end any tax as a ploy to get voter approval knowing that all they need do in the future is end the tax for a second before starting it back up again. Promise kept. In fact, they have been abusing voters in many counties by using similar techniques. You must be careful to analyze their precise words and look for the loopholes that they implanted for the sole purpose of deceiving their constituency. Do not ever trust a Republican.

Steve - USA

September 26th, 2011
9:20 am

Used to ride the Paoli local into Philly all the time, I love trains. I would often take them to NYC or Boston. Trains are very communal thing, if you like people it is a fun ride.

Having said that it seems like Atlanta is so spread out and is not as easy to get around. Up North the subways were so easy to use.

Jm

September 26th, 2011
9:20 am

The only, but good, justification for transit is that gridlock will continue to get worse making transit more competitive over the very long run

Atlanta is entering a new phase of slow growth

The adjustment will be painful and there is a risk of Detroit style collapse if not well managed

Jay

September 26th, 2011
9:21 am

Midori

September 26th, 2011
9:21 am

why do Republicans fear the future?

BW

September 26th, 2011
9:24 am

The interesting question is this: The region is expected to add 1 to 2 million new residents by 2025…where will these residents settle? I don’t believe you will find too many anxious for the Acworth to Sandy Springs commute or the Lawrenceville to midtown commute. Thankfully I get to look at the I-85 southbound traffic from the Pleasant Hill interchange and shake my head but my commute, Duluth to Alpharetta, takes almost as long as it takes my wife to drive from Duluth to Athens for school. That is totally ridiculous. We in the burbs have let alot of our local reps off the hook for not improving the intra and inter-county roads. For instance my issue is that there are three viable spots to cross the Chattahoochee and the best one (McGinnis Ferry) has an unfinished new bridge that will soon fill with new people once done because it allows you to bypass the morass of Johns Creek. For me I will have to drive to work but for those people driving down I-85 to transfer to downtown, midtown, or Sandy Springs I believe a train would benefit. I think that there needs to be a large bore effort to focus on trains across the north end i.e. Cobb to north Fulton to Gwinnett, with lines into the Sandy Springs-Dunwoody area and into downtown and finally onto the airport. That is the only thing I believe will allow us northsiders buy-in to transit. This shouldn’t be an issue since Republicans run the show…but then again people don’t trust the people they are voting for…kinda schizoprenic and strange to me. Back to my main point there needs to be a comprehensive rail plan that allows buy-in from all sides of town and better local congestion relief plans and we will all be onboard. Are there any politicans representing this state with the gravitas to pull it off is the $64,000 question.

saywhat

September 26th, 2011
9:26 am

Take another look at the polling methodology. The results do not bode well for the future of TSPLOST.

51% of REGISTERED voters approve. All those registered voters certainly won’t be showing up during what is essentially a Republican primary to vote in favor of TSPLOST. The poll should have focused on LIKELY voters. Who is most likely to vote? The same “tea party” types whose opinions, according to the poll, are not shared by the majority.

Doggone/GA

September 26th, 2011
9:26 am

“why do Republicans fear the future”

Over that last vew years…I’m trying to figure out what they DON’T fear

jm

September 26th, 2011
9:29 am

Good to see Reid playing roulette with the federal budget and disaster aid

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0911/64385.html

Bill Orvis White

September 26th, 2011
9:29 am

@Midori We fear for our future because WE THE PEOPLE can no longer afford it. Hussein Obama has spent us into a hole we cannot dig ourselves out of — and let’s stop this that it’s the honorable Pres. GW Bush’s recession and fault. Lil Hussein can no longer use that excuse. WE THE PEOPLE in the Tea Party wing of the rightful Republican Party are sick and tired of Washington’s out-of-control spending. We need to get our priorities straight by making gas affordable by drilling for oil here at home. Why can’t the private sector build more roads instead of urban areas attempting to build broken down public trains that lead welfare recipients to nowhere but the unemployment check lines.
Amen,
Bill

willydoit?

September 26th, 2011
9:30 am

Republicans fear the future because they know eventually that someone will have to pay for all these democrat lame-brained ideas.

Walk the Talk

September 26th, 2011
9:33 am

If Republicans want to pass something like a transportation bill, then they will word it something like,

“…this fee will be implemented for a maximum of one year and all proceeds will be used to fund transportation…”

and then the taxes collected from the readily approved legislation will be subsequently used to pay for their own limo service to and from their Capitol and their vacation spots, etc., much like their tire disposal fee.

godless heathen

September 26th, 2011
9:35 am

Saw a report on the news just this weekend that the city with the worst commuting was, New York City. Not Atlanta, not LA, not Houston, but NYC with subways and trains that go everywhere.

Good little liberal

September 26th, 2011
9:36 am

Interesting comments.

Yes, the great North Eastern Corridor is great for mass transit. Just a few of the monster buildings in Manhattan would justify mass transit to those areas, But Atlanta simply doesn’t have that. The city was not built in a confined space and as it grew, it grew out, not up.

Jay, MARTA has been around for a very long time and the train stations have simply not spurred growth, I would guess because of the associated crime.

Midori, it has nothing to do with the future. The future is people being able to work at home, not spending sometimes an hour or more transferring between buses to get to an office where they can set in front of a computer. And remember, working from home takes the dreaded IT fascist out of the loop.

Jay, I would love to see a blog about the unbelievable power of IT, but of course, your article better be very complimentary toward IT or they would gladly screw up your blog for weeks.

BW

September 26th, 2011
9:36 am

Bill

So Obama has been the only president deficit spending? All this with the support of Congress of course. Forget Washington for a second…this is a Georgia issue we are discussing. There’s no plausible way you can claim that the Republican party doesn’t run this state. And yet you don’t trust the people you are voting into office?? Am I the only one who thinks this is madness? There is no more space to build roads in a way that would reduce your commute. I agree that there are many roads that have insane traffic that they didn’t have ten years ago but where is the anger towards the local planning officials who allowed every home developer to build without expanding local capacity? Gwinnett has probably the best planned interstitial roads excluding the Mall of Georgia area and north along I-85 of any county which allowed phenomenal growth over the last ten to twenty years…what happened in Cobb and north Fulton? Finally even if the private sector builds those roads you will pay for them just as you would pay for mass transit…the bottom line is nothing is free or even cheap.

BW

September 26th, 2011
9:40 am

godless heathen

There are 20 million people in the NYC metro area!!! 20 million!!! Talk about an apples to oranges comparison. In addition it is a densely packed 20 million. Compare that to the Atlanta region at 5 million people…half a million in Atlanta, a million each in Cobb and Gwinnett, another million in Fulton, the rest spread over the 20 county metro area. The only reason New York works at all is the public transit. Imagine all those people driving to work.

Good little liberal

September 26th, 2011
9:40 am

BTW, Marta trains use massive amounts of electricity which is produced by coal burning power stations, so when you ride a MARTA train, you are using a transportation system that is not quite as efficient as the coal burning stream trains of the 19th century.

Midori

September 26th, 2011
9:40 am

@Midori We fear for our future because WE THE PEOPLE can no longer afford it

complete and utter rubbish.

where was this “fear” during the lead up to the current situation? when Bush was in office, no amount of money wasted on no amount of stupidity was loudly applauded.

BW

September 26th, 2011
9:42 am

GLL

There’s plenty of infill to be done in the central business district downtown as well as in Midtown. Only the parking prices will drive mass transit. Even if people balk at that, there’s not enough road capacity for all business to move out of the city of Atlanta to the burbs.

Midori

September 26th, 2011
9:42 am

Republicans fear the future because they know eventually that someone will have to pay for all these democrat lame-brained ideas.

is that any different from Repulican lame-brained ideas?

Like this? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/26/iraq-withdrawal-us-bases-equipment_n_975463.html

That war has to be the biggest lame-brained idea in the history of this country.

BW

September 26th, 2011
9:44 am

GLL

Alot of these coal fired plants are being converted into natural gas fired plants due to emission requirements from the EPA. But yes that is an issue…to have growth we need reliable power…will we be able to count on it?

Steve - USA

September 26th, 2011
9:44 am

When I lived in South Florida I rode the tri-rail to sporting events. That train had new cool looking cars. The MARTA cars look so depressing and old.

http://www.tri-rail.com/

godless heathen

September 26th, 2011
9:46 am

BW: But the liberals vision for Atlanta is to discourage urban sprawl and suburbs. They advocate very high density living with subways, trains, and buses going everywhere. Be like New York with the worst commutes in the country?

HDB

September 26th, 2011
9:48 am

Bill Orvis White
September 26th, 2011
9:29 am

First: Wherenwere YOU when the nation was BUSHwhacked?? No complaints, then, huh??

Second: Private industry would wind up being SUBSIDIZED for any new roads built; who do you think is doing the subsidy? The government, i.e., WE the taxpayers!!

Third: By the time a new road is designed, it’s already obsolete!! A paradigm shift is SORELY needed!!

Any questions??

Good little liberal
September 26th, 2011
9:40 am

Don’t forget — solar/wind farms and the hydroelectric dam at Lake Lanier are producing electricity for MARTA also! It’s greener than more cars getting on the expressway!!

Walk the Talk

September 26th, 2011
9:48 am

Wait until all the people stuck on the expressway in heavier traffic start thinking about how the Republicans took away a lane on the expressway that they have already paid for once and turned it into something that they have to pay a variable rate for in order to get out of the traffic that was created by creating the new pay lane. Add that to the non-fading memory of Sonny’s failure to keep the promise to end the Ga 400 toll as promised and the phoney tire disposal fee that does not dispose of tires and the hype about how those people heading up the Georgia Lottery are worth every penny and… Never ever trust a Republican.

Good little liberal

September 26th, 2011
9:48 am

Midori

Once again the argument for the massive spending of this administration is that Bush did it, but the reality is that while Bush did increase spending, it was nothing like what Obama has done.

So the logic is: We hate Bush. We hate Republicans. They must get out of office.

Obama is right and the reason why he is right is because he is doing what Bush did.

I read several books at a time on my Kindle and for a little bit of “candy” to go along with the more serious books, I have the works of Mark Twain on my Kindle. I am currently reading A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Clemens was brilliant. The whole book is a parody on how people are taught to think illogically. Every page reminds me of the way that many liberals think.

HDB

September 26th, 2011
9:53 am

godless heathen
September 26th, 2011
9:46 am

The difference is in New York, there is a multimodal response to the transportation problem! In the city, there’s subway and bus traffic; to get into the city, there is regional bus and commuter rail! If you include AMTRAK in the mix, the NY commute isn’t as bad as ne thinks!(Been there…done it!) Atlanta..there’s no multimodal concept……

zeke

September 26th, 2011
9:53 am

The problem with traffic in Atlanta is the absolute stupidity of funneling all traffic into the perimeter area and into the city! If this proposed albatross of a transportation-code word for marta or subsidized mass transit-plan and tax were used ONLY TO ROUTE TRAFFIC NOT DESTINED FOR THE AREA INSIDE 285 AWAY FROM OR AROUND THE CORE AREA, IT WOULD BE AN ASSET, NOT THE BURDEN IT WILL BECOME! For $6 billion plus the $2 billion being spent on the ridiculous beltline, the OUTER PERIMETER AND/OR DIRECT BYPASS LIMITED INTERCHANGE ROUTES LIKE THE PROPOSED PAULDING BYPASS WOULD REDUCE TRAFFIC IMMENSELY! Contrary to the so called experts, ALL TRAFFIC NEED NOT BE FUNNELED INTO THE CITY! Just for a moment consider-traffic from Chattanooga area going to Savannah or Orlando not having to drive into the core Atlanta area. Trucks not on 285 that are going elsewhere! And many more intelligent viable options! Then by removing the hov and new toll lanes, the remaining traffic would be improved 16% to 25% immediately not costing a singe penny! IT IS TIME TO THINK INTELLIGENTLY NOT FEEL GOOD SOCIALIST ON THE TRANSPORTATION AGENDA!!!

HDB

September 26th, 2011
9:58 am

Good little liberal

September 26th, 2011
9:48 am
“Midori – Once again the argument for the massive spending of this administration is that Bush did it, but the reality is that while Bush did increase spending, it was nothing like what Obama has done.”

The question that many people FAIL to ask is “Why is such spending necessary?” When the economy faltered under Bush…and private industry continues to hoard money, what entity could RAPIDLY injact capital into the economy to arrest a recession OTHER than the government?? Answer: NONE!! Logic dictates that the government SPENDS when the economy declines….and cuts back when the economy is good!! Re-readng Carlos Casteneda’s “A Seperate Reality”; the title reminds me of the myopia suffered by conservatives…..

Good little liberal

September 26th, 2011
9:58 am

HDB

“It’s greener than more cars getting on the expressway!!”

Are you sure? I have no idea which is more efficient. It would be a great study to find our per person / per mile / per amount of power required to push a train vs the several autos that would carry the persons.

I’m sure with increased ridership the numbers would be more in favor of the trains, but considering averages deducted from certain lines, I’m not so sure. And if you took the power lost in transmitting the power to the trains, it would really hurt the trains’s figures.

I’ve been a train fan since I was a kid. I used to draw monorails in school,when I should have been listening to the teacher, and I know that it works for freight, but I’m not so sure with passengers. I’m sure if the “autos” were all SUVs, the trains would win every time.

willydoit?

September 26th, 2011
9:58 am

“That war has to be the biggest lame-brained idea in the history of this country”

You mean the war that the democrats voted to go into??
The cost of the war will eventually run its coarse, unlike public transportation that will be a drain on our wallets forever.

Jm

September 26th, 2011
9:59 am

Zeke so that paulding road would be free?

How so?

Bachmann says 0% tax rates make sense

But I don’t buy it

godless heathen

September 26th, 2011
10:01 am

HDB, But according to the news report I heard, sorry I can’t cite it, it doesn’t work very well in New York. If it doesn’t work there, why will it work here?

Jm

September 26th, 2011
10:02 am

Willydoit

Better to blow money in the US than Iraq

Or said another way, better to rebuild the US than Iraq

Fly-On-The-Wall

September 26th, 2011
10:02 am

The theme I keep reading from the conservative types here is that we can’t do this. We can’t do anything, we can’t spend money, we can’t let the government do anything (State or Federal).

With this way of thinking we would have never built the highway system we have or major dams, levies, bridges, etc. in the last 50 years all of which needs to be maintained and/or improved/replaced.

Business sure as heck isn’t going to build a dam like Hoover. Business would not build a bridge or all of the highway system we have in the country so the only organization that can build it is governement and given the scale of what is needed for the 21st century it must be the Federal government. There’s no way around it.

Good little liberal

September 26th, 2011
10:02 am

HDB

““Why is such spending necessary?”

Good question. Why are so many damned laws necessary? Its this idea that when a person goes to Washington, they should “get something done”. Well, legislators can do two things: pass bills and spend money.

In the bio of a Congressperson, you never see anyone saying “he didn’t do a damned thing”.

Maybe I’ll run on the platform of “I need a job and I don’t plan on doing anything, except play golf.” I’m run in a new Party called the 19th hole party.

Would you vote for me?

Jm

September 26th, 2011
10:03 am

Godless I’d say that’s overly simplistic

It does work in NY

willydoit?

September 26th, 2011
10:06 am

Jm
I’ll give you that one!! I would much rather spend our tax money in this country than to give it to another country that hates our Red White and Blue asses!!
Too bad that’ll never happen.

jewcowboy

September 26th, 2011
10:06 am

“The fact that the promise is written into law, ensuring that the tax could be renewed only if voters re-approve it come 2022, doesn’t change the reality that the public is deeply distrustful.”

Also as it is written, the tax would sunset as soon as the money is raised for the tax. So if the economy suddenly turns around and money is generated at a faster rate, you would see the tax end early.

Not that facts ever influenced voters…

Fly-On-The-Wall

September 26th, 2011
10:07 am

GLL – “Good question. Why are so many damned laws necessary?”

Greed, clear and simple. It must be fair and do its best to eliminate greed. Take away the laws & penalties and you get…..The Great Recession of 2008! Wall Street plus the Banks at their finest.

(ir)Rational

September 26th, 2011
10:09 am

jewcowboy – I’m sure the tax would end early. Just like the toll on 400 ended when it was supposed to. I think that is the problem. Nobody trusts the politicians to not figure out a way to keep the tax going to support their project of the week.

Common Sense

September 26th, 2011
10:09 am

“Good question. Why are so many damned laws necessary?”

Control.

Steve - USA

September 26th, 2011
10:10 am

We have plenty of laws & penalties, they don’t mean anything without enforcement though.

Granny Godzilla

September 26th, 2011
10:10 am

Perhaps we should just ask our governor to organize a day of prayer for reduced traffic.

Joe Mama

September 26th, 2011
10:11 am

cobbco — “$1 billion in new cobb county taxes to get a rail line from midtown to cumberland mall? No thanks–a total waste of money. If cumberland business owners want that rail line to get them more money, let them pay for it.”

It has nothing to do with Cumberland Mall shop proprietors getting something out of it. It has to do with the multi-line CCT bus station being at Cumberland Mall already. Putting a train station there would allow people to switch between the bus and the train, expanding the reach and utility of both.

Bryan -- MARTA supporter

September 26th, 2011
10:12 am

Trains are as efficient as cars? Someone actually said that! Why do you think car makers and even bus makers are going with ELECTRIC cars and buses. Who would complain about using too much electricity when that power comes from mostly water and wind and is much cleaner that gas. Just stupid.

(ir)Rational

September 26th, 2011
10:13 am

Fly-On-The-Wall – To answer your question about Hoover Dam, no private enterprise wouldn’t have built that (most likely), but I’m guessing they probably wouldn’t have built it because the government would have blocked them had they tried. Can you imagine that even being built by the government today? All the permits would hold it up for 15 or 20 years before it was allowed to be built, and then you would have the environmental agencies going out there trying to stop them from building it because there is an endangered (insert some insect here that no one has ever heard of or cares about) that lives only there.

Joe Mama

September 26th, 2011
10:14 am

GLL — “BTW, Marta trains use massive amounts of electricity which is produced by coal burning power stations, so when you ride a MARTA train, you are using a transportation system that is not quite as efficient as the coal burning stream trains of the 19th century.”

Check again. Many plants switch between burning coal in colder months and natural gas in warmer months. And there’s always nuclear, to which I’m not opposed.

godless heathen

September 26th, 2011
10:14 am

Well Jm, if New York has the worst commute in the country, I would say the model of high density living with lots of mass transit doesn’t work very well.

HDB

September 26th, 2011
10:15 am

godless heathen
September 26th, 2011
10:01 am

When you have a escalating populace attempting to move simultaneously with a FINITE amount of roads and transportation systems, breakdowns DO occur!! Can you imagine the NY gridlock with 20M CARS on the roads!!?? As I said…a paradigm shift is needed!!

Good little liberal
September 26th, 2011
10:02 am
Fly-On-The-Wall
September 26th, 2011
10:07 am

It’s not so much to prevent greed….but laws are written to protect the public from the unscrupulousness of Corporate America! Businesses can NOT police themselves! Note the banking industry, the S&L Crisis of the 80s…….

Don't Forget

September 26th, 2011
10:15 am

I was never a fan of the outer perimeter but the fact that all roads lead to Atlanta seems to be part of the problem. I know there’s been talk about an interstate from Chattanooga to Augusta. That would help some because there is no way to go East-West in North Georgia on a decent highway.

Jm

September 26th, 2011
10:15 am

We have forgotten a lesson known well by many of the founding fathers

Debt is bad

Bryan -- MARTA supporter

September 26th, 2011
10:17 am

Heathen

Have you ever been to New York. There are 10 million in the city and 20 in the metro area. There is the most congestion because there are the most people. Wouldn’t that make sense? The side walks are congested, streets are congested, everything is. It’s just a big, dense city with too many people.

Walk the Talk

September 26th, 2011
10:18 am

The politicians should just convert every lane on 75/85 and 20 through Atlanta into toll lanes with toll boothes set up at the intersections with 285.

mike "hussein" smith

September 26th, 2011
10:18 am

Folks, it’s time to quit electing yahoos to the Legislature. Sure, Bobby Paul might be fun to cut the cheese with, and wouldn’t mind a few days a week away from his wife, but unless he can spell, figure and think he’s not doing anybody any good. And if you know he’s an egg-filcher, why would you trust him with your future?

(ir)Rational

September 26th, 2011
10:19 am

Bryan – No, that doesn’t make sense, the congestion is only because the transit system obviously doesn’t work. :roll:

Greg

September 26th, 2011
10:20 am

The bottom line is…the railway should have been done years and years ago when the price tag was much less. If we keep saying no no no…(which is dumb as it will get done at some point) its going to only cost us much more in the future.

Why is it that Republicans always say no to projects that are needed (roadway, trains, people issues) but its okay to go bomb countries overseas and spend money to kill?

This is one problem I have with Republicans. Look at the bridge in Minnesota that fell…no one wanted to pay to fix that…look what happened.

No I am not a Dem or Repub. I am an Indy. I hate the Gov Spending just to spend…but at some point we are going to have to face the fact the GA is no longer this little farm state and that we have to do something about transportation and roadway issues.

BTW…no matter what a Repub says…the issues we face today are a result of the Bush regime. Obama inherited this mess. I am not enamored with many of the things that he has tried, but it is apparent that the Repubs are thinking about the next election, therefore, nothing gets done and the citizens stay jobless.

Two party system at its worst!!