Time to move on transportation plan

Lawmakers return to the Gold Dome next week with public expectations for producing, among other hat-dwelling rabbits, a plan to ease traffic jams without Georgians noticing we’re paying for it.

The money’s the thing. We already have more plans than peaches.

Yet another plan landed last week. It came from the transportation planning director, a post created in last year’s contentious reorganization of the Transportation Department.

Plan, plan, plan.

We must have a plan, of course — not least because part of the money solution will probably be a referendum for voters to decide whether to tax ourselves for transportation, and we need to know which projects would be funded. (More on this in a minute.)

As plans go, this newest one is workable. It uses real, mobility-focused metrics to judge the potential effectiveness — and cost efficiency — of various options. An example: Would commuter rail bring more people within a 45-minute trip of major job centers than new high-occupancy toll lanes? (No, say the plan’s authors.)

The authors recognize that most commutes in the metro area today don’t involve downtown Atlanta. They acknowledge that transit has a role to play but that, even in the most optimistic scenario for the next 20 years, transit will move only 8 percent of metro commuters. They also highlight the importance of logistics to Georgia’s economy and the fact that improving the way we move cargo can help with traffic jams across the state.

Good, good, good and good. But money remains the question, and its source has never been more questionable. The state budget is already $3 billion smaller than it was just two years ago, with yet another billion likely to be cut. So, this hardly looks like the time to add billions in spending.

And billions are what we’re talking about. The new plan calls for $39 billion in transportation spending in the next 20 years just to keep pace with population growth and competition from other states. It makes a persuasive case that Georgia’s economy will suffer mightily without action.

Add in projects that would help boost the economy, most of which relate to freight transport — a northwest Atlanta bypass, for instance — and the 20-year figure jumps to $57 billion.

Happily, this plan divides projects into a menu of a la carte items. So to an extent, we can choose as we go, and as funding goes. Up to $15 billion for new projects could come from current funding sources.

But it’s a long way from $15 billion to $39 billion, much less $57 billion. We’re talking about doubling today’s transportation spending levels. And, to repeat, we’re talking about doing it amid budget cuts, an economic slump and, most relevantly, a looming election season.

As I mentioned earlier, one answer is a referendum on funding — probably a penny sales tax statewide or, more likely, regionally. But there may be other options before it comes to that.

First, user fees such as new tolls. A user fee may not be much different from a tax, but at least it’s optional. The plan’s authors contemplate as much as $9 billion by 2030 coming from new tolls. (Warning: They also foresee $3 billion from new parking fees in Atlanta.)

Another alternative is to index the motor fuel tax to inflation. Georgia’s levy is low relative to other states. Because congestion costs metro Atlantans some $3 billion a year in wasted time and fuel, a figure that stands to double, a higher fuel-tax rate could be a wash.

The up-front cost of new projects also could be defrayed by contracting with private firms to fund new toll projects and then keep the proceeds.

However we do it, let’s get on with the doing.

50 comments Add your comment

Hillbilly Deluxe

January 6th, 2010
7:12 pm

At current funding levels, performance will continue to deteriorate, threatening our
ability to compete for jobs and growth in the future.

That’s the line that stood out to me. Maybe we need to base the local economy on more than constant development.

Road Scholar

January 6th, 2010
8:29 pm

” Another alternative is to index the motor fuel tax to inflation. ”

This is what I’ve been saying all along. The gas tax hasn’t been raised since the early 1980’s while cars and trucks have become more energy efficient, thus reducing possible revenues for added capacity and ongoing maintenance.

It was interesting what Handel said last week when she said that the 4th penny of the sales tax on gas should be recommitted to transportation. Gas has a 4 cent sales tax with the first 3 cents dedicatd to transportation. The 4th was usually used by the legislature to fund government programs other than transportation. But she said that this would aid in the progress that has been made regarding transportation. What progress? Except having the governor appointing the planning director? At least she is talking issues and solutions, unlike the other candidates.

moneyjihad.wordpress.com

January 6th, 2010
10:23 pm

A referendum for a sales tax hike is not the answer. This is still a lousy time to vacuum more private sector dollars into the government’s treasury. Notice that with all these state furloughs and cuts, buildings are still standing, Atlanta isn’t on fire, and work is still getting done. The politicians tell us there’s no more fat to cut, but I just don’t buy that argument. We need more efficiencies–not more taxes.

td

January 6th, 2010
11:39 pm

We can help with transportation immediately and raise money to pay for it by taking two steps.

1: Close all the interstates from within 40 miles of Atlanta to all trucks during the morning and afternoon rush hours.

2: Set up toll roads on 75, 85, 20 and 95 30 miles from our state boarders and catch all the pass through travelers coming into or out of the state.

These two steps would give us probably the ten years we need in metro Atlanta to get our act together and it would make the pass though people help pay for the roads they drive on.

m henson

January 7th, 2010
6:45 am

Why not lease air space above Atlanta expressways for commercial construction to provide transportation funds.

Horrible Horrace

January 7th, 2010
7:51 am

Divert as much funding for Marta and these other silly money losers to construct the Outer Perimeter!

Eric

January 7th, 2010
8:01 am

But we DON’T NEED more growth and development in the Atlanta area to begin with! So why keep planning for it? Maybe people will go elsewhere, like Nashville and Birmingham. Incidently, tolls are unfair to those who have no other option but take such routes due to their jobs. How do tolls reduce congestion anyway? They don’t. Just another tax.

Horrible Horrace

January 7th, 2010
8:37 am

Perhaps personal gyro-copters is the answer?!!

david wayne osedach

January 7th, 2010
8:39 am

Why not have a think tank ‘project’ where Atlanta will be 25 or 50 years in the future? Then work back.

T.A.

January 7th, 2010
8:39 am

I don’t necessarily agree that most of the commutes do not involve downtown Atlanta. Sure, Sandy Springs and Dunwoody have rapidly developed into edge cities that have many jobs. However, Downtown, Midtown and Buckhead collectively comprise a larger office market and any transportation solution needs to include these three major districts.It also comes as no surprise that people in the northern suburbs think that they are the new downtown and everything must be tailored to them. Please keep in mind that there is the CITY, the southern, western, and eastern suburbs that need to be accounted for.

Secondly, we do not need any more highways in Atlanta and the metro area. Rail needs to be laid to and from job centers and along major routes. For example, rail should be laid along I-285, I-75 (on both ends, from Acworth to Locust Grove), I-85 (from Lawrenceville to Newnan) and along I-20 (from Douglasville to Lithonia) with major transfer points that connect with the current MARTA system to allow people to access Downtown, Midtown, Buckhead, Sandy Springs, and Dunwoody.

Road Scholar

January 7th, 2010
8:53 am

DWO: What do you think that the Atlanta Regional Commisssion’s job is? Remember that most of the public can’t remember what they did yesterday, let alone plan for the future! And most also want it to be the way it used to be!

moneyjihad: “We need more efficiencies–not more taxes.”
what is “efficiencies” and how do you pay for them?

Horrible Horrace

January 7th, 2010
9:00 am

Rail lines are a profit-less, bottomless pit. NO MORE RAIL.

Chris Broe

January 7th, 2010
9:07 am

The whole formula for transit should be Time = Money. We should look to the Chinese and the way they’ve solved their traffic flow. It’s quite ingenious, and would work handily here in Atanta.

You see, the Chinese used the formulas for liquid flowing through a tube and fine-tuned those numbers with heat transfer equations. The result is that their take-out food stays hot and moist, and it’s wonderful. Ah, Dim Sum on the connector. Moo Goo through Spaghetti Junction. Kung Pao in the outer perimeter. Cant you just taste it?

The point is that we can chew over this problem all we want, but it will be a dim future and a zero sum game until we put our collective nooodles together and employ ancient wisdom, as old as the wheel itself, to solve the traffic snarl that has slowed development down to a walk, and is costing Atlanta Metro business billions if not trillions.

samuel

January 7th, 2010
9:35 am

Horrible Horace, I have a couple of points to make. MARTA receives no state funding, so the state wouldn’t save any money in that respect. Also, the purpose of mass transit is not to make a profit, it’s to provide a service that benefits the entire community, even to those who don’t use it. If you’ve been to New York, London, Paris or Tokyo (as I have), you’ll see the benefits of having large transit-particularly rail systems-in place. The sooner we expand mass transit in Atlanta, the cheaper it’ll be. It would have been even cheaper if we had done it 20 or 30 years ago.

Wiseman

January 7th, 2010
10:01 am

Those in power have waited until the last year of their term to address one of the most important problems this region faces, and at this point I don’t trust them to make the right decisions. Last year, I was in favor of a referendum to taxes residents of metro Atlanta for transportation projects, but believe that they would screw that up by diverting more of this region’s money to build four lane roads in Hicksville, GA.

This issue is biased from the beginning because republicans don’t believe in mass transit. I’m sure Wingfield may have a different opinion based on his travels, but these loonies are pushing the asinine idea of building a tunnel under east Atlanta. Why? Because this is Atlanta. They would never think of such a scheme in Marietta, Alpharetta, or anywhere else outside the city limits of the A. And why should I have to pay a toll to drive on highways that I already have paid to have constructed and maintained through the motor fuels tax? This is nothing more than a handout to “friends of the program” and nothing more. $8 toll? Ask anyone driving around Chicagoland how those toll roads are working to reduce traffic, and they only cost $.50.

These people have squandered time and money to cities like Charlotte, Denver, Phoenix. All in states that are normally republican bastions that were forward thinking enough to include robust public transit into their transportation plans. Our leaders plans? More roads, but under your basement since there is no more space to build anything above ground.

Union City

January 7th, 2010
10:14 am

@HorribleHorrace…The state doesn’t pay for Marta so Fulton and Dekalb are not willing to pay for a outer perimeter in Gwinett, Cobb or Cherokee County. No Thanks.

Why oh Why...

January 7th, 2010
10:26 am

I think we should be down at the state capital every day during this session boycotting the crap they are doing.

T.A. – I completely agree with that plan. I live in Newnan and work at Cumberland. I would be so nice to take a train along 285 instead and get in my car and go home at a certain point.

Daedalus

January 7th, 2010
10:30 am

Here we go again. Another plan that will not be implemented and an opinion columnist cherry-picking ‘facts’ to support the conclusion that what we really need is more roads for single-occupancy vehicles.

Can we expand the roads to relieve gridlock? Nope. Been trying that for 40 years.

Kyle says: “authors recognize that most commutes in the metro area today don’t involve downtown Atlanta.” Well, d’uh. ARC has for a long time identified that they are four areas of job concentration:
Ddowntown Atlanta; midtown Atlanta; the Perimeter Area (Ga 400 and 285) and the Galleria Area (75 and 285). Three of those areas are served by transit — but of course you cannot get there on transit from the suburbs that only run itty-bitty consumer bus services because those buses are running on roads clogged with single-occupnacy vehicles. Ergo, to Sonny Perdue, GDOT and the State GOP, transit does not work and never will. Ever. So let’s strangle it.

Meanwhile the GOP legislature has blocked any attempts by local governments to bypass the remarkably incompetent state DOT to tax themselves to spend their tax dollars on their transportation priorities. Its all about bureaucratic turf, political power and taking tax dollars from the metro Atlanta counties to spend in rural counties.

The last thing the State GOP wants is for metro Atlanta governments to control their expenditure of tax revenues as the see fit.

While GDOT has been hammered for its enron-style accounting — in both its highway and “transit” sectors — MARTA has recently received positive audits by USDOT. But you won’t see that mentioned on the AJC editorial pages — where MARTA is supposed to be treated as a waste of taxpayer money and incompetent.

The fact is that we are at a high-water mark for transportation alternatives outside of the Atlanta city limits and MARTA service areas. The state GOP and political leaders are only interested in more roads (or tunnels) and is betting on toll roads to solve gridlock. After all, transit doesn’t turn a profit or pay for itself (of course neither do highways, but let’s not dwell on that).

The state DOT recently approved changing the HOV lane on 85 to a toll road. We’ve alreay paid for it once, why not pay for it again?

The state’s own analysis showed that the tolls will not provide enough income to operate the toll system. And how much will it cost: $110 million — and that’s without any lane separation, toll booths or new exits. Where is that money going? Excellent question. Answer: Into the Black Hole that is GDOT and its contractors.

Its time to change the name of the “Georgia Department of Transportation” back to the “Georgia Highway Department”. Because that’s all it will ever be.

Enjoy your car.

DirtyDawg

January 7th, 2010
10:35 am

If Roy Barnes had been re-elected back in ‘02 instead of that ‘Below the Gnat-line’, peckerwood, we would have continued to progress on transportation issues. You can bet that if Republicans continue to ‘rule the roost’, Atlanta will continue to draw the short straw. No way those guys will lift a finger, or spend a dime, to help the state’s ‘economic engine’. Wonder why that is?

Tall

January 7th, 2010
10:36 am

“If you’ve been to New York, London, Paris or Tokyo (as I have), you’ll see the benefits of having large transit-particularly rail systems-in place. The sooner we expand mass transit in Atlanta, the cheaper it’ll be. It would have been even cheaper if we had done it 20 or 30 years ago.”

Samuel: I used to live and work in mid-town Manhattan before I moved to Atlanta in 1993. I also managed to get around Atlanta without a car for the first three years that I lived here. The MARTA system can work for you – if you live on it and have a work destination to go to. When talking about cities like New York, Tokyo, London and Paris, your points make sense. They are densely populated areas with highly congested work areas as well. The benefit to Atlanta will be marginal at best. In hindsight, most of the commerical development that took place in metro Atlanta over the past twenty years, should have been in the downtown and mid-town areas around the MARTA system. It is too late now. Add to that improvements in communication technology that will most likely have more of the workforce working from home offices. I’m all for mass transit. It was 17 years between my owing a car, but the payoff – in my opinion – isn’t there.

Jess

January 7th, 2010
10:51 am

samuel,

I have lived in three of the four cities you mention. These are totally different kinds of cities than Atlanta. Commercial areas are much more concentrated, and they truely are cities where people live, shop, and work. Don’t assume what works in one place will work in another.

Davo

January 7th, 2010
10:53 am

For those who are interested in ‘think-tank’ type stuff, I found this yesterday after reading about our new mayors opposition to the tunnel under East Atlanta. It’s a 3 mb pdf. detailing the proposal.
http://reason.org/files/d1553a97e45b89fd4de254a121184c4b.pdf

I don’t understand what the core opposition to this project is. I do tend to agree with people, in general, when they state that ‘more roads are not the solution’ and ‘look at the Big Dig in Boston’. We obviously need to stay on top of transportation to remain a thriving city (and state). Everybody is afraid of the ‘white elephant’ factor in projects of this scale; but the rewards seem very tangible to me.

JohnAtl

January 7th, 2010
11:04 am

DirtyDawg – You just made my day with “Below the Gnat-line peckerwood.” I’ll be retiring my “Boss Hogg” title in favor of your label going forward!

Thanks for a more accurate name for Sonny Bubba.

Chris Broe

January 7th, 2010
11:05 am

“Lawmakers return to the Gold Dome next week with public expectations for producing, among other hat-dwelling rabbits, a plan to ease traffic jams without Georgians noticing we’re paying for it.”

Very good! I guess the plan for a tunnel is seen as not so much a white rabbit as a white elephant, eh? (sorry).

JT

January 7th, 2010
11:11 am

Cobb and Gwinnett’s initial opposition to MARTA at its inception was based on their fear that it would make it easy for an “undesirable” element to enter their communities. I’m happy to reveal to them that the “undesirables” have left us here in Buckhead and Midtown for the most part to enjoy your suburban lifestyle, have you been to Lawrenceville, Duluth, Lilburn or Smyrna in the last 3-5 years…yikes. You’re on the AJC site, why don’t you do a little research and see where the most drug activity, gang violence, and general crime occur, if Gwinnett doesn’t top the list it most definitely holds its own. So what is the excuse now for not allowing transit? Heck, at least it will make it easier for you to get to all our shopping, restaurants, attractions and sports events all you OTPers love to take advantage of before you head back to your crime infested sub divisions. The only benefit an outer perimeter would have is that us intown residents won’t have to drive through those hideous communities on our way home from out of town.

Democrats are Corrupt, Repukes are Lying Scum

January 7th, 2010
11:15 am

Actually JT, we in Cobb just did not want to pay taxes to Atlanta for a rail system that would be built first in Atlanta, with just a promise that someday they might extend a line to us rednecks in Cobb. You can’t blame us for refusing to give the power of our money to the Atlanta scum, as it turns out we were correct. They were nothing but crooks from day one.

JT

January 7th, 2010
11:24 am

i’m surprised you redneck still survive in Cobb. I went to Cumberland Mall once, I was happy to make it out alive.

Sandy Springs Guy

January 7th, 2010
11:32 am

The problem with mass transit is that it rarely reaches large pockets of employment or workers’ residences. Instead of the state gov’t giving tax breaks to companies to build in far reaching areas, they should only give breaks if they move near a Marta station.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

January 7th, 2010
11:40 am

The jbmlaw cure for Atlanta traffic problems: (1) move the state government executive offices to Macon, more central for the state, and (2) encourage the Feds to all move to Clayton County, nearer the airport. Then every traffic day would look like a Federal holiday. Would have the side benefits of lowering rents in downtown Atlanta and helping property values in Macon and Clayton. Win-win-win.

Sandy Springs Guy

January 7th, 2010
11:44 am

JT –
i’m surprised you redneck still survive in Cobb. I went to Cumberland Mall once, I was happy to make it out alive.

I had the same thought when I ate at the Varsity last week.

scrappy

January 7th, 2010
11:55 am

I agree that the problem mostly has to do with traffic outside of downtown. Other than the highways – 75, 85, 400, 285, 20 – there are no streets to take as alternatives. (except perhaps 41) There are also not enough bridges over the Hooche, back tracking and driving around the northern end of the river contributes to congestion. Pointless to discuss though, it is too late for anyone to do anything about it. The end result will be business and people moving out of Atlanta, Atlanta failing, and then the ‘natives’ will be happy because the area will be like it was ‘back in the day’.

MrLiberty

January 7th, 2010
12:03 pm

A real conservative would oppose any central government planning of anything. There is fundamentally no reason why private enterprise should not own, build, manage, maintain and everything else roads, rail, and any other transportation mechanism that people use.

The minute the government gets involved – and especially when the “partner” with private companies, everyone gets screwed.

There is no use in debating what statistics, metrics, or whatever are used for any analysis of utility. That is all just a smokescreen for the typical government waste and corruption that will surely follow any transportation project this group will come up with.

Direct financial accountability in the marketplace and true risk of the participants are the only factors that should ever be involved in any venture. To sit around applauding this metric or that plan is to fundamentally IGNORE THE OBVIOUS – whether it is good or is bad, the taxpayer will pick up the check while any private company will pick up the profits.

Unfortunately far too many conservatives have bought into the LIE of “privatization” as a solution to the gigantic mess that government makes of everything. The problem with privatization as it is typically proposed, is that the government monopoly and everything that is wrong with monopolies is transferred to the private group. Now they perpetuate the problems of monopoly while raking in all of the profits without competition getting in the way of making their monies.

Author Walter Block has a wonderful new book out that discusses road and transporation transfer to the private sector. You would all do yourselves a favor by reading it instead of trying to find some good in just another failed government scheme to pretend to do something about the transportation failure that they ultimately are responsible for creating.

Democrats are Corrupt, Repukes are Lying Scum

January 7th, 2010
12:04 pm

The problem with Cumberland Mall is its proximity to the City limits of Atlanta, and the housing projects there.

Swede Atlanta

January 7th, 2010
12:28 pm

Any plan that suggests the solution should be centered around the personal automobile is doomed to failure regardless of whether the solution is government run as a core public infrastructure of private business for profit.

We don’t have enough land or money to build the highways necessary to relieve current congestion. The solution must rely on some combination of transportation methods as it is in many metro areas, e.g. individuals drive or take a bus to a rail line.

As long as people continue to live somewhere other than where they work, resolution to the traffic problem will be very problematic. I realize that someone may purchase a home OTP because they can afford to or can afford more but they shouldn’t be surprised then if their commute turns into a veritable hades when they work 40 miles away in the city or some other business center.

Jess

January 7th, 2010
1:26 pm

If the purpose of rail would be to ease conjestion, I would point out that New York, London, and Paris, all have extensive rail systems, and traffic much worse than Atlanta.

Kyle Wingfield

January 7th, 2010
2:06 pm

First, apologies for not being around up until now — we’ve had some technical difficulties on our side.

Folks who are complaining about roads for “single-occupancy” vehicles and “personal cars”: Read the plan when you get a chance. (Admittedly, it’s pretty long.) The recommendations include developing bus rapid transit — a relatively low-cost, high-impact choice that allows much more flexibility than fixed-line options. The plan puts a lot of emphasis on “demand management,” which is a fancy way of saying “getting fewer people to use the roads at any given time.”

Fees vs Taxes

January 7th, 2010
2:33 pm

My only problem with the constant switch between fees, taxes and sales taxes is that you can’t deduct fees and you have to choose b/t sales taxes and income taxes for deductibility. As long as we are going to have to pay something, we should structure it in a manner that provides for the lowest personal cost impact (i.e., one that can be deducted against our federal taxes).

Why oh Why...

January 7th, 2010
3:06 pm

@Democrats are Corrupt, Repukes are Lying Scum …What projects are near cumberland mall in atlanta. the closest neighborhood in atlanta to cumberland is Paces Ferry…Hmmm…Does seem like housing projects? And last I checked, housing projects were getting torn down in atlanta.

Chris Broe

January 7th, 2010
5:15 pm

Smaller one-man cars are the future. It solves everything.

Solution: dont make the roads bigger, make the cars smaller. If everyone drove a smart car, we’d be inside of a new golden age. People drive alone.

People drive alone. Another point: have you ever noticed how much better a car’s ride feels from the driver’s position. The ride feel from any other seat in the car blows. (especially the back seat). It seems rougher and clumsier. Why is that?

Hillbilly Deluxe

January 7th, 2010
5:23 pm

CliffATL

January 7th, 2010
6:30 pm

My plan would be to have the State of GA decidcate a 1/2% or 1% sales’ tax just for rail infastructure. See my complete plan at:

http://www.examiner.com/x-25727-Atlanta-Metro-Transportation-Examiner~y2010m1d4-Legislators-2010-Transportation-Needs-in-Georgia

If GA needs to raise more fund to build more roads and bridges – then raise the gas tax. If you don’t want to pay the additional tax you can – Drive less, stop driving, or take transit..

Life is simple – so is the solution to GA’s transportation problem – It’s Rail!!!!!

Shawny

January 8th, 2010
8:56 am

HOT toll lanes are NOT the answer!

The HOV lanes work quite well, and I should know, as one of a 3 person carpool. Small changes will make them work better, such as extending the HOV lane on I-85 N to Hamilton Mill.

HOT toll lanes take away the incentive for 2 person carpools, which is driving the wrong behavior. Allowing single riders to jump in if they pay does not reduce cars on the roads, but does the opposite. Reducing the number of cars on the roads should always be the goal. Modifying an existing lane to collect revenue, all the while discouraging 2 person carpools is a SHAM!

CC

January 8th, 2010
9:12 am

Its time the state started to invest in freight rail as a way to get trucks off the road.

jconservative

January 8th, 2010
9:39 am

To borrow a phrase from the tight wads in DC – any plan must be “deficit neutral”.

Hillbilly Deluxe

January 8th, 2010
1:01 pm

If GA needs to raise more fund to build more roads and bridges – then raise the gas tax. If you don’t want to pay the additional tax you can – Drive less, stop driving, or take transit.

What if a person lives in Attapulgus? How would they benefit from this gas tax increase?

Logical Dude

January 8th, 2010
5:24 pm

Kyle, I agree with your last line whole-heartedly. TELL THE LEGISLATORS, TELL THE GOVERNOR. They are the ones who have done nothing for the last 8 years while transportation has floundered.
Can I get an AMEN for the Northern Arc? Anyone?

wayfarer

January 9th, 2010
10:09 pm

samuel, I’ve been to all of those cities, and you’re exactly right.

Amazing that the best nation in the world is still playing catch-up in simple logistics.

James Arthur Woolforlk Jr.

January 10th, 2010
7:36 am

I disagree with the statement that toll roads are better than mass transit. That is something perhaps the car dealers and their lobbyists would like for the citizens of Georgia to believe. The state of Georgia would be wise to invest in more bus transit and rapid rail projects that will benefit the entire state and not just metro Atlanta. When I was in college back in 1985 ( Albany State College) I wrote an A+ winning essay on the topic of transportation for the state.My main focus was to connect all the major cities through out the state of Georgia to Atlanta, in which, will allow people from every region to have access to other parts of the state affordably and conveniently. Raising the funds will not be ” mission impossible ” as other lobbyist and activists would like for everyone to believe,this can be a state wide effort and not just a task for metro Atlanta residents.The only problem we are facing in the state is unity…white against black,rich against poor,people who have materials things against people who may not have the same or live in the same areas, so the transportation issue really boils down to a political ,socieconomic, and race issue.
Until we can all come together and come up with a solution that will benefit every citizen regardless of their race or income we will remain in a racist socicetythat willaffect our economy and way of life for years to come. The good news is we can make a difference today.This is 2010 not 1950…

Base

January 11th, 2010
10:57 am

Sorry Sonny is going to do nothing just like everything else.It is nothing but a documentation of a problem that the Gov and legislature is not going to do anything about.Just kick the can down the road.Why did Sonny take eight years to do the plan and just leave.The accidental Gov fails again.After more than thirty years it is an unsolvable problem if done on the cheap.

Walt

January 11th, 2010
5:54 pm

The HOV lanes will become HIV lanes – “High Income Vehicles”. That’s America, right? Land of the free – the richer you are the free-er you are as well. MARTA was a grand design and a vision for a city that was “too busy to hate”…but unfortunately it is controlled by a state legislature that is far from too busy. For pete’s sake – You guys elected Perdue for a dang Flag you never got!
Transparent as glass is the GOP’s “commitment” to transportation. Better roads for Mercedes and Lexus drivers. They could care less about those that need public transit or local road money (for repairs).
Houston is spending billions on expanding mass transit, as is Charlotte. Where do you think conventions are going to go? Not to Atlanta where MARTA will have to shut down after midnight. Don’t think that will affect your redneck fun? It will mean higher taxes for everything – lots of people spend lots of money now coming to Atlanta for events that will be lost in the future.
Oh yeah Bubba, gas is going back up, too. Better get a used Honda or something and save the F-350 for those weekend trips to Alabama for fireworks.