T-SPLOST list doesn’t spend the money where the traffic is

If local poohbahs want to derail a regional transportation sales tax, they should give DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis what he wants. Shift tens of millions of dollars away from road projects where traffic is heaviest, put them toward a MARTA extension where it isn’t — and watch the T-SPLOST crash and burn.

It’s one thing to devote 55 percent of the tax’s projected proceeds to mass transit, now used by 5 percent of commuters. But the current project list, due for final approval within one week, compounds the error by spending money completely out of proportion to where the traffic is.

The Atlanta Regional Commission produces maps of the top 10 percent and top 25 percent most-congested roads in the region. Among surface streets, the lion’s share of the congestion takes place in the northern suburbs of Cobb, North Fulton and Gwinnett counties, plus Dunwoody. Among freeways, six of the nine worst stretches are along I-75 in Cobb, I-85 in Gwinnett, Ga. 400 north of the perimeter, or the top end of I-285.

In short, the vast majority of traffic congestion in metro Atlanta occurs between I-75 in Cobb and I-85 in Gwinnett. Only the Downtown Connector can hold a candle to the top end’s troubles.

What’s more, 46 percent of the people in the 10-county region live OTP in Cobb, North Fulton, Dunwoody and Gwinnett. Likewise, 46 percent of the T-SPLOST’s projected revenues — $2.83 billion out of $6.14 billion — come from that northern swath.

Yet, the current project list would leave this region well short of its proportional take. Even if we include some federal funding tabbed for projects in the northern suburbs, they’d get shortchanged by $150 million. And you may as well ignore another $132 million for studying future transit along 400 and 85, since those two projects would be hundreds of millions of dollars and a decade or more away from existence.

Worse, about one in four dollars devoted to the area would go to a single rail project that would barely cross into Cobb.

Still, we are only now reaching the coup de grace. That would be Ellis’ wish to suck yet another $33 million out of the 400 corridor.

Doing so would leave an area that provides almost half the population and revenues for the T-SPLOST — and way more than half of the region’s traffic congestion — with barely one-third of the proceeds.

And for what? Insistence that transit along I-20 in DeKalb be not buses, but heavy rail — the mode that transit advocates pooh-pooh as too pricey, until there’s real money on the table.

What this and other problems with the T-SPLOST process have revealed is that local officials are unable, or maybe just unwilling, to divide the funds in a way that tackles traffic congestion regionally.

So, we get up to $700 million for a train from the Lindbergh MARTA station to Emory University, another $600 million for Atlanta’s BeltLine, and a sales pitch about providing “last mile” transit connectivity to regional job centers. Neither of those projects is bad, per se. At the same time, neither one will do much good for all the people who will still lack “first mile” connectivity.

They’ll be left to seethe along Jimmy Carter Boulevard, Holcomb Bridge Road and Windy Hill Road, wondering why they’re paying a tax to improve mobility where it’s already comparatively good.

If, that is, they don’t first defeat it as a wasted opportunity.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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112 comments Add your comment

ND

October 7th, 2011
5:59 pm

“mass transit, now used by 5 percent of commuters.”

Do you enjoy being intellectually dishonest?

Of course a small percentage of commuters use transit now; it is underfunded and doesn’t go anywhere. If the transit network was expanded, naturally more people would use it.

Using your logic, someone 100 years ago could have said only 5% of people drive cars, so investing in roads is a waste of money. The more accessible transit becomes, the higher that percentage is going to go. I can guarantee you that if there was a MARTA station within 5-10 minutes of Stone Mountain where I live, I would rarely if ever drive into the city.

Hillbilly D

October 7th, 2011
6:15 pm

On a recent trip to Chattanooga, I noticed something they do up there that makes a great deal of sense. It was on the Interstates but could probably also apply to some of the larger surface streets. When you get close to a junction, they have the number of the Interstate, with the shield, painted in the corresponding lane that you need to be in.

A great many people passing through, or in a section of town that they don’t normally frequent, spend time trying to get in the right lane, or out of the wrong one, usually at the last minute because of poor signage, confusion, or just not being familiar with the area.

Would this cure Atlanta’s traffic problems? Of course not, but it would involve little cost, relatively speaking, and might help what traffic is on a particular road, flow more smoothly..

Kyle Wingfield

October 7th, 2011
6:25 pm

ND: Transit would get an awfully limited new footprint from these projects — exactly one mile into Cobb; nothing new into Gwinnett or North Fulton; nothing new to the west or south (except for restoration of Clayton bus service, although those people might have been included as bus riders in that survey; I’m not sure); and a limited extension into South DeKalb. There will be some added use along the Clifton Corridor and the BeltLine segments that are funded — about 49,000 riders per weekday according to official estimates. In a region of 4 million people and growing (that’s in the 10 counties in the T-SPLOST region), that won’t move the needle 10 years from now, when all these projects are complete.

If you favor transit as a solution to traffic problems, you should be disappointed in the transit projects that made the cut.

@@

October 7th, 2011
6:29 pm

Hillbilly:

A great many people passing through, or in a section of town that they don’t normally frequent, spend time trying to get in the right lane, or out of the wrong one, usually at the last minute because of poor signage, confusion, or just not being familiar with the area.

I’ve run up on people who’ve come to a dead stop on the interstate hoping that someone will let them navigate into the exit lane.

Unbelievable! In every instance, they were women. Why they don’t just take the next exit is inconceivable to me.

And here I thought it was men who didn’t like backtracking.

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

October 7th, 2011
6:33 pm

Transportation is NOT a one-size-fits-all proposition.

The same transit solution that may be better for Fulton and DeKalb Counties may not work too terribly well in Cobb and Gwinnett.

Example: The $856.5 million light-rail line proposed to run from MARTA Arts Center Station to Cumberland Mall that is slated to continue up Cobb Parkway and Barrett Parkway to Town Center Mall.

Cobb Parkway is a corridor dominated by auto-centric development where the local bus service struggles to attract riders. In this corridor, light rail may not be the best use of very limited transportation funds.

A better use of transportation funding for the Cobb Pkwy might be either widening the current jam-packed four-lane highway to six through lanes with a continuous right-turn lane through heavy commercial areas and increasing express bus service afterwards.

The best rail option for Cobb County is NOT necessarily light rail (especially on a corridor of aging development built to auto-scale). The best rail option for Cobb County is COMMUTER rail within the existing CSX rail line between Acworth and Vinings (by way of Cumberland Mall), the existing Norfolk Southern rail lines that runs across the southern tier of Cobb County parallel to I-20 and US 278 and on the existing Georgia Northeastern Railroad line that runs parallel to I-575.

The existing rail lines run through existing historical town centers built to human scale and have the possibility to continue the recent trend of spurring the construction of live-work-play developments built to accommodate people, bikes, transit and cars, rather than just development built only to accommodate cars and ONLY cars.

carlosgvv

October 7th, 2011
6:34 pm

I am wondering WHY Burrell Ellis would want to “improve mobility where its already comparatively good” and ignore places where traffic is heaviest? Do we need to follow the money here?

Hillbilly D

October 7th, 2011
6:34 pm

In every instance, they were women.

You’re own your own with that remark! It’s like a nuclear hand grenade; you just can’t ever get far enough away from it. (IW&SH)

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

October 7th, 2011
6:37 pm

Kyle Wingfield

October 7th, 2011
6:25 pm

“If you favor transit as a solution to traffic problems, you should be disappointed in the transit projects that made the cut.”

I do favor transit as one part of a MULTIMODAL solution to the Atlanta Region’s massive traffic problems and I am terribly disappointed in the transit projects that made the cut.

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

October 7th, 2011
6:46 pm

What’s being lost in the T-SPLOST conversation about percentage of roads vs transit is that transit could almost entirely pay for itself (and maybe even turn a little profit) if administered better.

Despite recent increases, fares on local systems like MARTA are still nowhere nearly as high as they should be to cover the cost of operations and maintenance and even expansion and security.

While MARTA charges $2.50 one-way for to ride anywhere in the system, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) in the Bay Area of California charges as much as $10.90 one-way to ride buses and trains to the airport and the fares are based on a zone-pricing system meaning the farther you ride, the more you pay with base fares being in the $3-4 range.

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

October 7th, 2011
6:55 pm

Local transit service like MARTA, CCT. GCT, C-Tran, etc, should be paid for with bonds paid back over time with fares high-enough to pay the bonds back which would be a great alternative to sitting around, doing nothing and waiting for pigs by expecting a conservative state government to substantially raise taxes in a volatile political and economic climate.

Using the funding approach we have now of extremely low fares combined with the expectation of tax increases that never seem to come, we have gotten nothing since the Olympics and we will continue to take forever to get nothing substantial done with transportation.

Selling bonds to investors and paying back those bonds with higher fares and tolls to build the transit lines and roadways we need to get this town back moving could bring about these critically-needed projects sometime this century.

@@

October 7th, 2011
7:07 pm

The existing rail lines run through existing historical town centers built to human scale and have the possibility to continue the recent trend of spurring the construction of live-work-play developments built to accommodate people, bikes, transit and cars, rather than just development built only to accommodate cars and ONLY cars.

Never thought of it that. ’tis true. Not sure those live-work-play develops would take hold in Jonesboro (South of Atlanta). Our school system doesn’t attract the yuppie types.

While MARTA charges $2.50 one-way for to ride anywhere in the system, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) in the Bay Area of California charges as much as $10.90

Don’t know much about MARTA, but from what I’ve heard and read, it’s transportation for lower-income residents. Not sure they’d be willing or able to pay $10.90 one-way.

Hillbilly D

October 7th, 2011
7:16 pm

Don’t know much about MARTA, but from what I’ve heard and read, it’s transportation for lower-income residents.

When it was originally being voted on back in 68-69 or whenever it was (the ol’ memory ain’t what it once was), it was sold as affordable transportation for the masses. They also said the 1 cent sales tax would only last 10 years.

Road Scholar

October 7th, 2011
8:20 pm

Kyle; “Transit would get an awfully limited new footprint from these projects — exactly one mile into Cobb; ….”

One of the projects proposed to use the Cobb transit money is the reconstruction of the Windy Hill Interchange. How many times are we going to rebuild this interchange?It has already been rebuilt 3 times! Gross overzoning should not be rewarded! Oh and where is the addition capacity on I 75 going to come from to handle more traffic get on I 75 faster?

Michael H. Smith

October 7th, 2011
8:26 pm

Kyle Wingfield

October 7th, 2011
6:25 pm

Problems with MARTA remain the same (Namely the people,union&politicians involved) and as are the rest with mass trans in general but when trying to compare mass trans that has limited mobility, to roads that offer connection to what could be the means of unlimited travel&freedom of mobility, mass trans loses every time.

Then there is the issue of use limited to a few as opposed to use offered to a great many – everyone in some way or another depends on a road for something e.g. travel, or for a good or service they might buy. Otherwise, NOT everyone depends on mass trans for travel, or for a good or service they might buy. The argument that mass transit is just as important as roads are to the population en mass, is “a dog that just won’t hunt”.

I’d say you are correct in your opening statement concerning MARTA, Kyle.

@@

October 7th, 2011
9:03 pm

Looks like those HOT lane thingies are popular with lower-income drivers.

California’s Department of Transportation found that only about 25 percent of motorists on the SR-91 Express Lanes in Orange County are in the top income bracket, while the majority of users are low- and middle-income motorists.

A study by transportation consultant Wilbur Smith Associates revealed that 78 percent of low-income motorists in San Diego support the HOT lanes concept.

Since July 1, 2011 the toll on the busiest hour on the tollway, 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm eastbound on Fridays, is $9.75, or approximately $0.97 per mile,[5] the highest toll for any toll road in the country. The highest toll in the morning rush hour, 7:00 am to 8:00 am westbound Monday to Thursday, is $4.60.

$9.75!!??!! I must be lower than low. But then I don’t like riding around with a bunch of people in my car… everybody talkin’ at once. Grates on my nerves.

The $9.75 could be divvied up among the carpoolers.

DannyX

October 7th, 2011
9:11 pm

Why would anyone from DeKalb support the new tax as it stands now? The Emory ATLANTA rail line? Lol. Those 500 people in DeKalb that will benefit are excited, the rest of us, not so much.

You think DeKalb residents care about traffic in Cobb County? Cobb could certainly care less about DeKalb. How about we just vote no. Stuff it Cobb and Gwinnett.

Angus

October 7th, 2011
9:50 pm

Doesn’t Dunwoody have a paper you could write for?

Oh yeah – this is a Dunwoody paper. My bad, but you guys should really swap the A for a D and make it official and less confusing.

Bryan -- MARTA Supporter

October 7th, 2011
9:58 pm

Here’s the problem:

MARTA should already be im most places that we are trying to extend it now. The Cobb line should be built. Same for the Gwinnett line. A line to Emory should be there already too. The I-20 line … built already. But because of the racist people of that time so worried about “crime” they voted no. No vision for the future. Now the same type of people are putting down transit to focus on roads, which obviously hasn’t worked. Most major companies move into an area based on a number of figures, which do include transit, specifically rail transit.

I don’t support light rail transit. It’s slow and requires a transfer to the MARTA rail that is already there. That will discourage riders. As much as I want expanded transit the new tax isn’t going to pass. We need a tax just for transit. If these surrounding counties want to keep being stuck in traffic let them. Someone said once you get inside 285 traffic opens up. Yeah… because of MARTA! I favor a tax for Fulton and Dekalb. Let’s support MARTA. Pay 2 cents and get them some money since the conservative suburbs and the state won’t. Let have an expanded rail network and better bus system where it is needed in Fulton/Dekalb. Let those idiots be stuck in traffic. Let’s make them pay to come into the city and their buses. Stop coming to Atlanta for your jobs and entertainment. Stay in the burbs and see how your quality of life falls.

laughable liberals

October 7th, 2011
9:59 pm

Do you find it hilarious as the rest of us in Cobb and Gwinnett do when the ITP tail thinks it wags the OTP Georgia dog, Kyle? :lol:

Capital Idea

October 7th, 2011
10:02 pm

“another $132 million for studying future transit along 400 and 85″

traffic is bad,
HOT lane makes it worse,
trains won’t be built with the TSPLOST,
land will be purchased at greater-than-appraised prices,
former politicians will be paid as “consultants” on no-bid contracts

ok – now send me the $132 million, please.

Josh

October 7th, 2011
10:06 pm

As a highway engineer, I was hoping that this would pass. We really need increased transportation investment. As it stands now, I can’t even see myself voting for it. Maybe we can try again in a couple of years… Planners always think they know what is best for the rest of us.

ATL Planner

October 7th, 2011
10:31 pm

Wow Kyle, so building and expanding roads at the expense of mass transit is really going to solve our congestion problems. We tried that 30 years ago with “Freeing the Freeways” and guess what? Traffic got worse due to induced demand thanks to the additional lane miles.

Maybe you need to research that era first before you harp on building our way out of congestion.

Bill Hilly

October 7th, 2011
10:44 pm

Kyle: “Yet, the current project list would leave this region well short of its proportional take. Even if we include some federal funding tabbed for projects in the northern suburbs, they’d get shortchanged by $150 million.”

I can tell you weren’t a math major Kyle. Grab your calculator. $150 million of $6.1 billion dollars is 2.45%. Shortchanged by 2.45% Kyle. What a travesty. Let’s hold the future of transportation in the entire metro Atlanta region hostage because of 2.45% Kyle. With that kind of attitude, you should be in the US House of Representives.

Kevin

October 7th, 2011
11:24 pm

So Jay in your infinite wisdom how would you go about funding rail transit in this city? Think we’re ever going to get the federal/state/local funding required to build a “complete” system like MARTA was back in the ’60s? Guess again. Everything is an incremental investment process these days. Want rail? Unfortunately we have to build it one link at a time. Will it serve everyone? No but you have to start somewhere.

As a rail transit advocate this list does disappoint me. We agree on that much. However, this list should be 100 percent rail. Roads are a waste of money. We can no longer afford to pander to the Cobb counties of the world and hope rail magically appears in the meantime. You drives car off the lot and it immediately drops in value. You add lanes and you are gauranteeing more congestion.

Let’s try being visionary for a change.

Itsmeagain

October 7th, 2011
11:35 pm

95 percent of commuters don’t use a system that doesn’t touch them? Well that makes sense. But your answer is don’t expand the system and build more roads? Surely it should be expand the system and as it expands itll encompas more people. Roads certainly aren’t the answer. Building roads doesn’t reduce traffic. You just spend money to build roads that get more clogged.

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

October 8th, 2011
1:40 am

ATL Planner

October 7th, 2011
10:31 pm

“Wow Kyle, so building and expanding roads at the expense of mass transit is really going to solve our congestion problems. We tried that 30 years ago with “Freeing the Freeways” and guess what? Traffic got worse due to induced demand thanks to the additional lane miles….Maybe you need to research that era first before you harp on building our way out of congestion.”

That statement is very true, but is only part of the story as it wasn’t just increased demand in response to the widening of the freeway system, but also explosive population growth that made traffic worse.

When the “Freeing the Freeways” project was completed in the late 1980s, it was meant to increase the freeway/road infrastructure to better accommodate the 2.9 million people that were living in the Atlanta Region circa-1990.

Fast-forward over 20 years later and the population of the Atlanta Region has DOUBLED to 5.8 million people circa-2011.

That’s means nearly six million people are using the same transportation infrastructure that was only intended to serve three million people.

Not all of those three million additional people moved to Atlanta just to use the erstwhile-expanded road, but many of them moved here for the job market, the much lower cost-of-living (cheaper housing than up north), the weather, the scenery, the central location relative to the densely-populated Northeast Corridor and the better opportunities relative to the post-industrial Rustbelt economies of the Great Lakes states and the Upper Midwest.

100 percent population growth and three million more people in the last 20 years and we’re still barely coping with what we had in 1990 with few new transit lines or roads.

You are correct that we can’t just build our way out of this mess, but improving congestion does require a multimodal solution which features improvements to BOTH transit and roads as opposed to the intensifying do-nothing approach that we’ve employed with increasing non-success over the last 15 years since the end of the Olympics.

Other states like Texas, Florida and North Carolina have invested heavily in their transportation infrastructures in varying degrees from a roads-only approach (Houston) to a more balanced approach that includes more transit (Dallas and Charlotte), but no matter whether they invested heavily in just roads, or just transit or both roads and transit, they still made very substantial investments in their transportation infrastructures during a period of explosive growth while Atlanta basically did nothing during that same period and continues to employ the same do-nothing approach even after the “Chickens have come home to roost”.

Both the major Texas cities are reaping the rewards of making heavy investments in their transportation infrastructures during a very slow economic recovery as Dallas gained 50,000 new jobs and Houston gained 65,000 new jobs in the past year.

Meanwhile, Atlanta, whom has invested very little, if next-to-nothing in its transportation infrastructure over the last 15 years, LOST 30,000 jobs over the past year, with no major metro area (not even Detroit) even coming close.

An almost total lack-of-infrastructure investment wasn’t the only reason that Atlanta’s economic recovery is still stuck in reverse, but the widely held perception that Atlanta refuses to invest even token amounts in its infrastructure (transportation, education, water) during an era when other Sunbelt and continental competitors are ACTIVELY and AGGRESSIVELY continuing to invest in theirs is a very major reason that the local economy is sputtering so badly.

Ayn Rant

October 8th, 2011
6:27 am

Typical backward mentality: put more roads where the traffic is heaviest! Forward mentality: plan ahead, put transportation where it ought to be, not where it’s already a hopeless mess.

Techfan

October 8th, 2011
6:45 am

I wonder why opponents of mass transit always insist it be self supporting? If the road system was treated that way, very few could afford to drive on them.

A Conservative Voice

October 8th, 2011
8:18 am

Folks, tell me please, why would anyone in their right mind vote for TSPLOST? Oh, I know, there’s “Bryan, a MARTA Supporter” whose job depends on extending rail and pouring money into a bottomless pit, but other than Bryan, why would you listen to a politician who promises improvements and “this tax is only gonna last ten years”. This whole thing is ill conceived and “WILL NOT” help Metro Atlanta’s traffic problems…….nothing is “shovel ready” :) and it will take years and years just to buy (eminent domain, you know) the land and how many of those Emory folks do you think are gonna give up their historic houses for MARTA? Back to the drawing boards, boys and this to Burrell Ellis – “You need to quit with the Entitlement Mentality thing” It’s Making you look more suspect…….

Jerry

October 8th, 2011
8:40 am

We do not want to ride trains or buses. We want our cars. Period.

Wood

October 8th, 2011
9:13 am

More lanes does not equal less traffic. This has been studied and proven.

Lousy 400 drive

October 8th, 2011
9:16 am

I’ll be voting No on T-SPLOST when it is on the ballot next summer. When you have a bunch of elected officials that care about one thing and one thing only, money going into their pockets, it is hard to respect any of the garbage. I drive on GA400 everyday, in the beginning of the week my drive takes me 45 minutes to one hour and by the end of the week it is down to about 25-35 minutes. Stop trying to build new rail lines and use the ones that have already been laid down years ago. You’ll end up spending less money and helping out more people. This isn’t a city of transportation, its a city that will end up being like Idiocracy!

ragnar danneskjold

October 8th, 2011
9:20 am

The overlords would have a tough time selling me on a tax increase of any sort. Kyle essay reflects the comical hubris of the political elites.

Karl Marx

October 8th, 2011
9:22 am

First TSPLOST is a ridiculous plan and I will vote no. All it is now is a political pork project list not worthy of consideration. If we really want to try to solve traffic problems then we need to address the real issues and design roads to not concentrate car traffic and truck traffic into choke points this plan does nothing for that. Next remove all transit projects from it and all recreational projects. Both should stand on their own merits. I will support a comprehensive “regional” approach to mass transit. MARTA could form the basis but it is run so poorly it would need to be drastically reorganized. It you have ever tried to map a mass transit route to get from Marietta to Norcross you know what I mean. It can take over 5 hours by buss. The reason this will never happen is all the “local” governments want to maintain their little empires so a comprehensive transit plan will never happen, at least in my lifetime.

LAST do us all a favor and vote all incumbents out of office. A clean house will be a good thing.

Always Skeptical

October 8th, 2011
9:22 am

You only need to look at DC’s Metro system to see that happens when you bite the bullet regarding mass transportation.( Except for Georgetown, which completely regrets lobbying against their own Metro stop…The neighborhood is irrelevant these days) The entire region benefits from the bold steps they took. At the same time that they were building track with the cooperation of TWO STATES and DC, metro Atlantans ( with the exception of Fulton and Dekalb) voted against it, and created a system that starved it of state assistance. We can’t get our suburban county governments to cooperate except when it comes to supporting the creation of new ( Milton) counties. Sit in your well-deserved traffic, pay your crazy HOT Lane tolls. We don’t care about you folks anymore. You screwed the region long ago and now it’s paying the price with 10% unemployment and crazy traffic.Your votes made the Atlanta region unattractive to continued business expansion. We hope we can get the funds to build the beltline, if not, we will find another way, because we believe in it and are committed to it as a community, just like we believe in the airport. Do you want to know what you end up with when you have decent public transportation alternatives with pedestrian oriented neighborhoods and work centers…a 7 year old car with only 55,000 miles on it.

redneckbluedog

October 8th, 2011
9:34 am

STOP SPENDING NOW….YOU BUNCH OF SOCIALIST LIBERALS…!!!! WE NEED TO CUT SPENDING…!!!!! Sit in your cars for 2-1/2 hours head in to work and 3 hours headed home……AT LEAST YOU WOULDN’T BE SOCIALIST HYPOCRITS……!!!!!!!!

DannyX

October 8th, 2011
9:37 am

DeKalb and Fulton counties actually did something to improve traffic, years ago. DeKalb and Fulton have been supporting MARTA with a one cent sales tax. Cobb and Gwinnett refused to join, not only did they refuse to join they also opted out of additional taxes for roads. Why didn’t they initiate a long term road funding tax if they wanted roads only?

For years Cobb, Gwinnett along with the state ignored the traffic problem. Now all of the sudden the big boogey man from DeKalb county threatens a bad Republican tax plan and is immediately turned into the scapegoat.

“That’s where the need is,” they say. Lol! The need in Cobb and Gwinnett is there because they didn’t want any6 part of MARTA or any new taxes. They refused to pay extra all these years and now claim DeKalb is being unfair! Now they want DeKalb to pay up!

Remember…NO NEW TAXES!!!!

Mike

October 8th, 2011
10:15 am

Kyle, obviously you have never driven on I-20 or checked the traffic cams during rush hour, but traffic is pretty bad between 285 and Stonecrest Mall exit. The heavy rail extension would serve an area with heavy traffic and at least the people there WANT some type of alternative. If Cobb and Gwinnett want an alternative other than HOT lanes, then they need to start showing it! Also, you can complain about the Clifton Corridor, but the Emory/CDC area is the largest job center in Atlanta that has no direct interstate access AND no transit access. The traffic around that area is pretty bad and a MARTA rail extension is much needed.

Also, it’s obvious you have never been to a Roundtable meeting, because if you did go and asked the question: “Why is more transit not on the list”? The answer is… “From what we have gathered, if we increase the transit portion more than 55%, we will lose the suburban vote”. Well, there you go! So why not give the transit projects to the people that want it (in-town communities/Fulton and Dekalb) and give road projects to Cobb, Gwinnett, etc? That is probably why the project list looks like it does.

If more people in the suburbs wanted commuter rail, they would 1. vote people in who could make it happen and 2. express how they feel to their local officials… but clearly they haven’t done that. I also agree commuter rail makes sense for Cobb, Gwinnett, Cherokee, etc… the Beltline makes sense for the city of Atlanta and continued MARTA heavy rail expansions make sense for Fulton and Dekalb.

Finally, a lot of you have some nerve to complain about the Beltline and MARTA repairs/expansions on the list… did you forget that Fulton and Dekalb have been paying one cent for MARTA for over 30 years and if this transportation tax passes we will be paying TWO cents while everyone else will be paying only one? For TWO cents we better get portions of the Beltline funded and MARTA repairs/expansions!!!

DannyX

October 8th, 2011
10:23 am

You want to complain about something not being fair? Something that has robbed the suburbs of far more transportation dollars?

Look at how the state divides the gasoline tax. Now that’s highway robbery. It is not divided by need. What metro Atlanta puts in, metro Atlanta does not get back. Far from it.

Adrian Thorpe

October 8th, 2011
10:54 am

Here’s the problem:

MARTA should already be im most places that we are trying to extend it now. The Cobb line should be built. Same for the Gwinnett line. A line to Emory should be there already too. The I-20 line … built already. But because of the racist people of that time so worried about “crime” they voted no. No vision for the future. Now the same type of people are putting down transit to focus on roads, which obviously hasn’t worked. Most major companies move into an area based on a number of figures, which do include transit, specifically rail transit.

I don’t support light rail transit. It’s slow and requires a transfer to the MARTA rail that is already there. That will discourage riders. As much as I want expanded transit the new tax isn’t going to pass. We need a tax just for transit. If these surrounding counties want to keep being stuck in traffic let them. Someone said once you get inside 285 traffic opens up. Yeah… because of MARTA! I favor a tax for Fulton and Dekalb. Let’s support MARTA. Pay 2 cents and get them some money since the conservative suburbs and the state won’t. Let have an expanded rail network and better bus system where it is needed in Fulton/Dekalb. Let those idiots be stuck in traffic. Let’s make them pay to come into the city and their buses. Stop coming to Atlanta for your jobs and entertainment. Stay in the burbs and see how your quality of life falls.

@ Bryan the MARTA Supporter

Adrian Thorpe

October 8th, 2011
10:55 am

@ Bryan the MARTA Supporter: couldn’t agree with you more

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October 8th, 2011
11:06 am

As long as our conservative, right wing political leaders are in charge NOTHING will happen to help relieve traffic in this city. Why? Because those near-sighted leaders hate Atlanta and want to strangle it to death.

JV

October 8th, 2011
11:51 am

TSPLOST will never pass in Gwinnett. “Voting” citizens there have been screwed over by their commissioners for years and just do not have any trust in this. Previous SPLOST monies have been wasted and there are SPLOTS on the upcoming ballots other than TSPOLTS. Getting SPLOTS to death so to speak.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: Thee Magnificent!!! mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

October 8th, 2011
11:53 am

Yep, it’s the American Revolution all over again, uh-huh:

Stinking up Wall Street: Protesters accused of living in filth as shocking pictures show one demonstrator defecating on a POLICE CAR

See socialist sicko here

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/10/08/article-2046586-0E481DB700000578-865_634×366.jpg

So who’s side are you on?

Just askin…

Hillbilly D

October 8th, 2011
12:02 pm

From an AJC article

Gov. Nathan Deal said Friday that he felt compelled to act swiftly to reduce tolls on the just-opened I-85 express lanes, because if the project fails, it could endanger plans for more HOT lanes on other congested highways.

If the HOT Lane project fails, why would there be any need for more HOT Lane projects? Other than the Federal money and it’s corresponding high paying administrative job, I can’t see a one.

Politi Cal

October 8th, 2011
12:29 pm

Someone needs to tell your new “editor” that the current lineup of writers on the opinion pages pretty much sucks. Sorry.

Dusty

October 8th, 2011
1:10 pm

Well, let’s see.

I am fully against paying any more taxes including TSPLOST.

I think the protestors in NYC should be called “the losers and abusers of freedom”. Send ‘em to south Georgia to dig onions.

I’m cool to the “hot” lanes and will not use them. Let’s hope Gov. Deal will kill this turkey before Thanksgiving.

Other than that, I’m heading to the hills next week to admire the red and gold leaves. Just love those mountains!!

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October 8th, 2011
4:29 pm

The liberal left wing ruling loons of Atlanta are too good at committing suicide for anybody to assist in its death.

Sheila

October 8th, 2011
4:37 pm

Spend money where the congestion is greatest? What a concept!!!

TSPLOST is going to fail because the politicians could not hold that simple idea in their mind. Instead they see the money fro the new tax as a honey pot to spend on local pet foolishness.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: Thee Magnificent!!! mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

October 8th, 2011
4:38 pm

Recently, Cain hosted his own radio talk show in the Atlanta area, potentially giving him a built-in base of supporters in Atlanta’s conservative suburbs.

A local black man who beat all the odds and became successful, one would think that the Atlanta newspaper, the Urinal, would be wall to wall following his rise in the polls and on the national stage, after all they do harp on themselves being “balanced,” but no, they instead ignore him like the plague.

Says a lot, in so many different ways, don’t it?