T-SPLOST backers identify future transit users

I was reading through the Untie Atlanta pro-T-SPLOST website yesterday for the umpteenth time, when I noticed this in the “Myths and Facts” section of the “Crisis” page:

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Untie Atlanta screen shot

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Read that again, with an added emphasis on certain words: “Building transit has the potential of taking the cars in front of you off the road.”

Hmmm.

I could’ve sworn I’d read something like this before…

Oh, yes. This was it:

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Onion Transit headline

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And in which publication did that headline appear?

Onion logo

– By Kyle Wingfield

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86 comments Add your comment

DeborahinAthens

May 30th, 2012
6:04 am

If you build it, they will come. I’ve lived and visited many cities with world class mass transit. While living in NYC, I didn’t even need a car. In Paris, there is no place that is not accessible by the subway system. When I visit Chicago, I take the train into the city and get around nicely with no car. Our system sucks. When I was in college in the sixties and early seventies, we had a chance to install a modern, spoke and wheel mass transit system. I remember asking my father why Atlanta couldn’t build a monorail out to Gwinnett where we lived. He said it would bring the “bad element” out of Atlanta. The powers that be, the good ol’ boys of the DOT, with their political connections have made sure that the ignorant people in this state are fed the BS so that they keep money flowing to the road projects. Follow the money. I refuse to believe that the people stuck for hours on I85, I 75, 285, 20, etc. etc.,etc. would not choose to ride mass transit if it was convenient and affordable.

Road Scholar

May 30th, 2012
6:09 am

Well….it does. Have you checked the transit ridership, esp buses since the recession began and when the price of gas increased? Some people are married to their cars; others are open minded enough to use it, if only occasionally.

I once viewed multiple closed focus group sessions with a facilitator and different groups from around Atlanta. Those who used transit (and had cars) said it was cheaper, reduced stress (esp during rush hour), and used time on the rail/bus to read, sleep, or do other things. Granted there are people who drive and do the same… but they are usually included in accident reports and block the road once they crash! The attendees who drove cars said the sessions/info increased the likelihood of using transit.

Out by the Pond

May 30th, 2012
7:13 am

I would use Marta but I seldom go down town. I could not find any project on the list that would help me one bit.

Cutty

May 30th, 2012
7:17 am

I would love to have additional transit options, but the way this was concocted I’m voting no. Atlanta/Fulton is again treated like some plague, instead of the capital city it is. When the suburbanites who are the cause of roads like the connector needing to be repaved every two years pay the same additional Lenny tax that I do, then we can talk.

They clog the roads during morning and afternoon rush hour, but believe they shouldn’t have to pay anything to help maintain the roads they use. Nor do they believe they should pay anything for MARTA. Even though you’ll catch a good number of their cars in train parking lots. Screw them.

dc

May 30th, 2012
7:42 am

fixed rail is a ridiculous waste of money in Atlanta. Buses are the only viable public transit option, since the residents and commercial/retail areas are so spread out.

Each county should decide what is best for itself, and fund and build it. The state should take care of the cross county arteries, using existing gas tax money. Counties that want “multi county” bus systems should agree with each other, and fund it.

Why our govt gets away with (and convinces us to agree) “special use” taxes to pay for what our current taxes should already be funding is beyond me.

Don

May 30th, 2012
7:46 am

I wonder how many of 10,000 daily GRTA Xpress riders thought they’d be on the bus before they started the service?

I remember the same thing being said in LA before they started down the rail transit/commuter rail path a couple decades ago. Most people who voted for it did not plan to ride, but they hoped everybody else would!

BUT, somebody’s making four million trips a year on Metrolink. I wonder who?

Hooey

May 30th, 2012
7:55 am

It’s a fantasy that additional money spent on mass transit will ever seriously reduce congestion in a metro as spread-out as Atlanta. TSPLOST is just a slush fund for politicians and government employees who’ve all long-since proven they can’t be trusted with the taxes they already get.

md

May 30th, 2012
8:04 am

“I remember the same thing being said in LA before they started down the rail transit/commuter rail path a couple decades ago”

Interesting, considering CA is in the midst of their own battle over the many billion dollar train to no-where……where they will be gunning for more of OUR tax dollars too.

And comparing the ATL to large dense older cities such as NY and Paris is a bit bogus…….

Tiberius - Banned from Bookman's and proud of it!

May 30th, 2012
8:04 am

Saw a local analysis of what our county will pay in extra taxes over the next 10 years if this is passed, and how much we’ll get in direct transportation improvements.

$290 million vs. $118 million.

Again, why should we vote for T-SPLOST?

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

May 30th, 2012
8:10 am

98% of dummycrats approve of taxes, for others.

Unfortunately, that^^ is not satirical.

Another Voice

May 30th, 2012
8:11 am

@DeborahinAThens … you don’t remember the 17+ mile backup on I-85N (due to tractor-trailer accident) the night before Gwinnett had a referendum on joining the counties that support MARTA? As I recall, they turned it down …. 70% voted against. I wonder if the influx of people from other states, let alone other countries, is enough to get support of another 1cent tax.

I’ve lived in cities with great mass transit, and used it. When I can, I use MARTA. But …. until the ridiculous 50% rule is lifted, and until we get real regional transit, not this 2-county system with random feeder buses under the guise of “GRTA”, we will never have a regional transit SYSTEM. Which is completely stupid. We lose high-paying jobs because companies won’t locate their brainpower here … just the logistics (read muscle / hourly jobs) work.

Get a clue people. Regional transit is what we need. And with GDOT in charge, never gonna happen. Too much cronyism with people who lay asphalt.

If the GaDOT had ever proven to be frugal, intelligent or even ethical, I might consider it. No way am I letting them get more money to build more roads.

A Conservative Voice

May 30th, 2012
8:15 am

Any vote for T-SPLOST is just another vote for a “Jobs Program”. IMO, the majority of the tax funds collected will be use for Administrative Expenses. Just another “friends and family” program……mark my word, in ten years, not a single project would be completed if the tax is approved. Just another SCAM folks, don’t fall for it.

JDW

May 30th, 2012
8:27 am

@Kyle…the strange thing is that having lived in a city where there is transit and it works you should know better. You should know that it works and you should know that to build it takes a long term concerted effort….I guess quoting The Onion works better for you, whats next you planning to stream Stephen Colbert?

@@

May 30th, 2012
8:27 am

T-SPLOST again!!??!!

J/K

L.A. has a rapid transit system

San Francisco has a rapid transit system

New York has a rapid transit system

Bridgeport Connecticut has rail transport

Washington D.C. has rapid transit

Boston has public transportation

Chicago has public transportation

…and YET, they’re counted among

10 cities with the worst traffic jams.

Why is that?

schnirt

jd

May 30th, 2012
8:41 am

Just as good as “Expanding highways will not solve Atlanta’s traffic problems, but will slow down the worsening…”

iggy

May 30th, 2012
8:46 am

TSplost? No, I dont think so.

jm

May 30th, 2012
8:46 am

:) good humor kyle

I think the plan should be 25 or 30% transit…. but that’s me

iggy

May 30th, 2012
8:51 am

TSplost? No, I dont thnk so.

md

May 30th, 2012
8:56 am

“Expanding highways will not solve Atlanta’s traffic problems, but will slow down the worsening…”

So will moving…….worked for me. One would be amazed at the quality of life away from the heavily populated urban cities. As usual, sitting in traffic is a choice……..

Julia

May 30th, 2012
8:56 am

I worked at the airport for a number of years, and that train was ALWAYS full, coming and going. oh, silly me, living in Decatur and working at the airport. Find a job closer to home. the nerve of me, depending upon mass transit to get around, It is not the responsibility of the tax payers to fund my transportation needs.

yes, that is snarky. it was intended as such.

southpaw

May 30th, 2012
9:00 am

Finn @8:03 – Bookman covered Trump yesterday. Go post your off-topic comments on his blog.

Don @7:46 – I used to drive 70 miles (35 to work, 35 back home) every work day. But with the price of gas, I’ve found that it’s cheaper to ride GRTA and MARTA. Plus, I save wear and tear on a 20-year-old car.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

May 30th, 2012
9:05 am

You Cons elected a governor with known ethics issues. We hope you don’t trust him and his cronies with more tax dollars.

Of course, you can fool some of the people ALL of the time.

The High Evolutionary

May 30th, 2012
9:10 am

If you ever vote for higher taxes, especially if you play little or none in the first place, you should be removed from the gene pool.

the red herring

May 30th, 2012
9:15 am

you can’t force people to use mass transit. even if you tax them to death. I’ll never vote for a SPLOST that raises the sales tax above 7%. it is simply too much taxation. marta was great during the olympics but is otherwise is underused for the amount of money it consumes.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

May 30th, 2012
9:27 am

Another example of people wanting everything to work properly, everything maintained properly but nobody wants to pay for it.

People will bi$c% and moan all day about things they don’t like, how our infrastructure is turning into a cesspool, and how it all should be improved. But then you tell them what it will cost, they decide they prefer to just wallow in the cesspool until someone else comes along who will pay for it.

Guess what folks, the interstate system didn’t just appear overnight! Free out of thin air!

“Look Martha, there’s a cloverleaf interchange in our corn field?”

ragnar danneskjold

May 30th, 2012
9:36 am

Ha. Nothing punctures leftists self-righteousness like an Onion reference. I salute.

ajm

May 30th, 2012
9:40 am

Another myth. GA 400 and I 285 West are two terrible bottlenecks. Well, you can’t prove it by me. For years I’ve used GA 400 and I 285 W to get to work in Cobb county. I’m on these roads at various times during the morning, usually between 7:00 am and 9:00 am. I get on 400 at Holcomb Bridge, stay in the right lane, and have no trouble getting to I 285. The new Shoulder Lanes slow me down, though. DOT has added two additional “merge points” between Holdomb Bridge and North Springs Station. Plus, the new merge points result in lots of additional lane changes, which will cause accidents. Other than that, no problems.

Bryan -- MARTA supporter

May 30th, 2012
9:41 am

@ dc May 30th, 2012 7:42 am

Rail transit works great here. Honestly are you expecting someone in Doraville who works at the airport to take all buses? That’s a 40 minute train ride. I wouldn’t even want to imagine how long that trip would be with only buses. The problem is that people think that all rail transit has to look like NYC’s subway system. Atlanta is a different type of city. The fact is that it is a city where people are going to drive. But a lot will drive to the rail stations and ride from there. MARTA works great the way it is because the stations have ample commuter parking. If you are going to compare MARTA to a rail system it is more like the Long Island Rail Road than the MTA subway in New York. MARTA moves 500,000 people daily in a service area of only 2.5 million. Yeah some people from Clayton, Cobb, and Gwinnett may drive to the stations but primarily it is still just Fulton and Dekalb using it.

tiredofIT

May 30th, 2012
9:50 am

“And comparing the ATL to large dense older cities such as NY and Paris is a bit bogus” You got that right, Atlanta is a crap city.

JV

May 30th, 2012
9:52 am

Great piece Kyle. I’m going to fill up my vehicle at lunch today using the .20 cents off from points on my Kroger card. Yes, Kroger… a non-government entity. T-SPLOST: (Taxportation Spending Program Looting Our Suburban Treasury)

ByteMe

May 30th, 2012
9:53 am

Plan B:

Put a $2 toll on the interstates leading into and around the city. Use the money to fund expanding MARTA further out and to all major “centers” in the region (along with commuter parking lots at each stop). Once the MARTA build-out is complete, raise the amount to $4.

Raise gas taxes by $0.20/gal to fund new road projects around the metro area.

Flush GRTA, ARC, MARTA governing boards and replace them with a single ELECTED regional transportation board responsible for managing tax revenues and all transit assets within the region. Yeah, ok, that one has no chance in hell, since it takes power away from the state legislature.

allen981

May 30th, 2012
9:53 am

oops…

Bottom line, everyone says that if we don’t build trains, transit, and a few roads, we’ll limit future growth.

And, what, pray tell, would be wrong with that? I’ve lived in Atlanta since I was born in 1951, and the idea that this city is somehow better off now than 55 years ago (sorry, don’t remember the first 5 years) is ridiculous.

We had neighborhoods, a sense of community, and some constancy in our lives then. So, let’s assume Atlanta’s population stays about the same…my guess, this will be a far more livable city in the years to come.

By the way, we also had a near world class transit system, as defined by current standards, until the mid-1960s. Atlanta Transit trolleys were plentiful, passenger trains operated from two (not one) downtown passenger terminals, and buses were clean and on time.

Of course, the whole thing was a massive money loser. Georgia Power owned it from the early 1920s and ridership began a dramatic decline in 1946 (cars were cheap, and even with relatively few roads, people wanted the freedom of a car…and still do).

So what’s different about transit today that will make it palatable to folks? Nothing, absolutely nothing.

Oblama

May 30th, 2012
10:03 am

We need mass transit to send all the illegal alien drug pushing thugs home.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

May 30th, 2012
10:10 am

Reminds me of the Democrat voters mantra: “Raise taxes on someone else!”

Democrats: Greedy, non-transit-using hypocrites.

Kyle Wingfield

May 30th, 2012
10:12 am

JDW: Yes, I know transit works…when certain conditions are in place. For starters, the population density in Brussels (the city where I lived, in case other readers are unaware) is almost 10 times that in Fulton County and more than six times that of the most densely populated metro Atlanta county (DeKalb).

Kyle Wingfield

May 30th, 2012
10:23 am

Oblama: This post is about the T-SPLOST. There’s a post from yesterday about Obama and Romney, so comment there if that’s the topic you’re interested in.

Jefferson

May 30th, 2012
10:25 am

Cute, I label you.

Kyle Wingfield

May 30th, 2012
10:28 am

Same goes for you, Finn. Post about Trump on a thread about the presidential election.

Road Scholar

May 30th, 2012
10:31 am

Out by the Pond: No Project? Do you grow your own food? Make your own clothes and TV’s? Freight movements are one of the biggest problems with congestion. So you don’t mind paying more for those since it will cost more due to congestion?

Ti: You never leave your County? See above also.

Oblama: Give it up!

A Realist

May 30th, 2012
10:31 am

I basically don’t like the tax, but will vote for it. It is a chance to do something, instead of nothing.

Living in the city – I’ll give it ONE chance to pass. The project list could be better, and I applaud those that actually hammered it out – that could not have been easy. There is good, and there is bad – and that’s what compromise is all about. Unfortunately, the current political climate (and education level of the electorate) has fostered the concept that everything has to be done ‘My Way’.

If the ‘What’s in it for me?’ crowd turns this down, and comes up with another list 2 hears hence, you can bet it won’t pass either.

As for me? I’ll stay in the city. We’ll continue improve our internal infrastructure, transportation and parks. Sorry ’bout that for those competing internationally for that next gallon of gas and hoping for a miracle that will reduce their time behind the wheel.

allen981

May 30th, 2012
10:31 am

Transit ‘works’ only where governments directly support the systems with massive infusions of tax dollars, and where population density is extreme. Of the world’s major rail routes, all but one have average trip lengths of less than 200 miles (the TGV, Marseille to Brussels, is the exception).

Is there anywhere within 200 miles of Atlanta worth a $50 billion train? Birmingham? Chattanooga? Very little point to point traffic exists…

allen981

May 30th, 2012
10:33 am

And light rail from Cumberland to downtown? That’s a complete, sad joke. Put in a dedicated bus lane on I-75; works the same.

md

May 30th, 2012
10:34 am

“But a lot will drive to the rail stations and ride from there. MARTA works great the way it is because the stations have ample commuter parking.”

I tried that for awhile….didn’t work. The limited stations at the end of the lines were not convenient. By the time I sat in traffic getting to a station, it was just as easy to stay in the traffic to my destination. Then, after my car was vandalized for the 2nd time in the Marta lot and Marta said once again “so sorry charlie”, I stayed in the car until I arrived at the better solution…..leaving.

A Realist

May 30th, 2012
10:34 am

And since so many people don’t really understand that roads are subsidized from the Federal general fund…..

Oblama

May 30th, 2012
10:35 am

O.K. Wingfield. Mass transit planned by the politicians in Atlanta who have their own special interests, friends and relatives to take care of is like turning the airport over to them and doubling the budgeted cost of the new hub. In other words, they look after their own.

Kyle Wingfield

May 30th, 2012
10:35 am

allen981: I think you’re mixing two distinct subjects when you talk about the T-SPLOST, with local transit projects, and intercity rail.

And btw: Marseille and Brussels are a lot more than 200 miles apart. Perhaps you meant Paris to Brussels.

DannyX

May 30th, 2012
10:37 am

So all of you Republicans/conservatives agree, the Republican plan to raise taxes is a disaster.

The Republican dominated legislature and Republican governors want you to vote for the biggest tax increase in Georgia history. You all hate the plan.

Republican legislators came up with the plan, and voted for it. The Republican governor signed the bill. Suburban Republicans dominated the committee that determined the project list. The new governor is campaigning for it.

Now all you Republicans are crying about the whole mess. All your Republican politicians are a mess. You Republicans are a mess.

Its very fun to watch!

Road Scholar

May 30th, 2012
10:40 am

ajm: No problem with SB SR 400 to WB I 285? Yeah, right! You better stay in the right lane the whole way because if your in lanes 3 and 4 from the right, you have to cross the backup on the other ramp and thread your car through the “picket fence” of cars waiting for the loop ramp. And at what speed do you travel on SR 400 after 7:30 am?

Also, on your return trip, how do you like the left lane drop and merge? Easy? Safe? I’ve heard of people in the King and Queen bldgs watching for the daily wreck there, with some, upon hearing the crash, just dial 911.

Admittedly the question may be can I 285 or SR 400 “Take” the traffic trying to access it; sometimes the problem is downstream due to congestion there. Are you aware of the studies being done to modify I285?

iggy

May 30th, 2012
10:43 am

“I basically don’t like the tax, but will vote for it. It is a chance to do something, instead of nothing.”

Cant see it being much of a help, but tossing dead cats at a forest fire is also doing something, instead of nothing as is tossing ones hard earned dollars strait into the toilet.

Waste, waste, waste. Someones brain has taken a well deserved vacation.

@@

May 30th, 2012
10:43 am

As for me? I’ll stay in the city. We’ll continue improve our internal infrastructure,

I’ve got friends in Atlanta. They’re paying $200.00+ a month to improve Atlanta’s water/waste system. I pay a whoppin’ $16.00 a month.