Your morning jolt: The traffic jam resumes over a transportation bill

The state Capitol is full of workaholics. So when conference committees don’t work beyond rush-hour – this is a sign that the conferees are at an impasse.

Despite reports of a breakthrough, that’s what happened last night with efforts to move a transportation funding bill out of a conference committee.

We understand that the deal killer is a provision that would allow one-half of a one-cent sales tax to be used for MARTA operations.

House opponents to the provision are led by Speaker pro tem Jan Jones of north Fulton County. The Atlanta Regional Commission is warning that without the guaranteed income stream, MARTA won’t be able to qualify for additional federal funding.

Festivities are allegedly to resume this morning.

Grover Norquist, leader of Washington-based Americans for Tax Reform, gave Republican lawmakers dispensation to vote last week for HB 1055, the conglomeration of tax increases, fee increases and future tax reductions designed to balance the state budget through much of next year.

But under no circumstances should that be construed as an endorsement of Gov. Sonny Perdue – with whom Norquist has had a seven-year feud — or the hospital bed tax that started the ball rolling, Norquist says.

Buzz Brockway of PeachPundit has the letter sent to GOP lawmakers who signed ATR’s no-new-tax pledge, which includes this:

Our recent statement that HB 1055 does not violate the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is being misconstrued by some as an endorsement of the hospital bed tax increase. It certainly is not.

We have opposed Gov. Perdue’s hospital tax since our letter on January 20, when we noted that HB 307 was a toxic mix of high taxes on Georgians and increased dependence on federal bailouts. We sent an alert to the entire legislature on March 24 reiterating our opposition to that bill.

HB 307 subsequently underwent a number of changes. It was amended in the Senate to include the elimination of the insurance premium tax. ATR remained opposed, as the tax cut was to be triggered by a $500 million reserve buildup and did not fully offset the hospital bed tax increase. We thank those legislators who worked to defeat that proposal.

When HB 1055 was amended by the House to include the hospital bed tax, the elimination of the statewide property tax, and tax reductions on retirement income, this was a net tax cut on Georgians. The reserve buildup requirement does not exist in HB 1055; the tax cuts begin on January 1. When fully phased in, with the hospital bed tax expiring in three years and the statewide property tax completely eliminated in 2016, HB 1055 represents a net revenue reduction for the state – and a net tax reduction for Georgia citizens.

The Norquist letter also includes this jab at a governor who has accused ATR of being an attack dog for hire:

For those of you that opposed the hospital bed tax from the beginning, ATR appreciates your work on behalf of taxpayers. You faced considerable pressure from a Governor that has repeatedly fought for high taxes.

So take heart, Preston Smith and Judson Hill. Your bills may be dead this session, but you have a friend in Mr. Norquist.

Travis Fain of the Macon Telegraph latched onto behind-the-scenes machinations involving SB 529, the bill that anti-abortion supporters would like to use to mount a constitutional challenge before the Obama administration has a chance to make a permanent imprint on the U.S. Supreme Court:

Apparently there was a push [Tuesday] to pass the abortion bill without language referencing sex or race. It would still make co-erced abortions illegal, but wouldn’t broach the subject of a protected class, which means no court case, which means no eventual Supreme Court challenge to Roe v. Wade.

Georgia Right to Life is fighting this.

“We want this bill to not only have an impact in Georgia, but in the United States,” GRTL legislative director Mike Griffin said.

…. I understand the House leadership polled the Republican caucus on this bill [Tuesday] morning, and that Ralston is involved in the back and forth on the bill. We’ll have to see what comes out of those discussions.

The dog not barking: HB 1184, the governor’s bill to permit the sale of health insurance policies from out-of-state companies not governed by Georgia mandates, is not on the Senate calendar for today, the 38th of the session.

Give his support of health care reform, Republicans have been eyeing U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, the Democrat from southwest Georgia, as a prime target for replacement.

But this from WALB-TV doesn’t help:

A Republican who says he’s running for the 2nd District Congressional seat, says his party’s chairman should resign. The chairman says he agrees.

Lee Ferrell says 2nd District GOP chairman Don Cole is supporting Ferrell’s opponent, Mike Keown. Ferrell says that violates the rules.

Ferrell said “Mr. Cole, I ask you to resign this day for the benefit of the republican party. How can we defeat Congressman Sanford Bishop while the Republican party has corruption itself.”

Ferrell and four other Republicans are seeking the nomination to challenge Sanford Bishop.

Republican Party Chairman Don Cole says he is stepping down as chairman, but it’s not because Lee Ferrell called on him to….

He says at the time he threw his support behind Keown, Keown was the only announced candidate. Now he is going to step down as party chairman to work full time for Keown’s campaign.

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

52 comments Add your comment

zeb

April 21st, 2010
8:42 am

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
US essayist & poet (1803 – 1882)

Daedalus

April 21st, 2010
8:55 am

With the demise of C-Tran and the upcoming slashing of MARTA service will signify that we have passed the high-water mark for transit in metro Atlanta.

Although the State will help fund suburban commuter bus service (GRTA) that serves outlying counties that will not pay for their own transit (Forsyth, Douglas, Cherokee, etc.) the State won’t help MARTA. However the GRTA funding comes from federal funds. Soon those funds will dry up an GRTA bus service will need either infusion of state funding or will be significantly reduced.

We can then return to our natural ’single-occupancy vehicle’ method of commuting with the commensurate traffic congestion. Since GDOT cannot manage its money either, we won’t be building any new roads in metro Atlanta (but will have plenty for South Georgia and Blue Ridge, etc.).

Charlotte, Raliegh and Miami are all investing in transit with state support and will attract businesses that care about the quality of life for its employees. Florida is builidng inter-city rail with agressive state funding that helped it win almost a billion in federal matching funds.

That will never happen in Georgia.

The Georgia GOP suggests that you learn to enjoy your car and maybe buy some books on tape to pass the time sitting in traffic because they are not going to do anything about it.

Don Juan

April 21st, 2010
8:55 am

Why is Jan Jones opposed to this? Fact: MARTA is more efficient, and in better financial shape than GDOT. Maybe the republicans who are so opposed to public transit should be worrying more about GDOT than MARTA. The issue can’t be raising taxes, as the republican-led assembly has already set a precedent by taxing folks while they’re sick in the hospital. How low can you go GA GOP?

Morrus

April 21st, 2010
9:07 am

Vote out the incumbents and start over

Atlanta resident

April 21st, 2010
9:21 am

Yoo hoo! Tea partiers!

When you whine about “THROW THE BUMS OUT,” I’m sure you mean the state GOP, right? Right? Because THIS is what lousy government looks like.

Whacks Eloquent

April 21st, 2010
9:25 am

Daedalus,

The difference is that North Carolina and Florida are much more cosmopolitan. The rural areas of those states have very little influence over the political landscape anymore, because they have big cities scattered around the state. Georgia is monopolar, and the rest of the state has Atlantaphobia. Yeah, I just made that up. Like it?

Unfortunately, the rural politicians have up until recently held a strangehold over the higher positions in the General Assembly. It seems to be shifting now, as is rightful and inevitable with the growth of the Atlanta metro area. Rural Georgia will not go along without screaming and kicking. And our governor is one of those rural politicians. Luckily, I think the next governor will be more Atlanta-focused, as both likely candidates Barnes and Oxendine are from the metro area. The rural contingency has not and does not like to admit that Atlanta is the driving engine for the state, they want to hold onto the good ol’ boy ways. It is not a matter of GOP vs Democrat, either, there are plenty of the good ol’ boys in both parties that still need to be replaced with more intelligent thinkers. Georgia will not succeed until it truly embraces Atlanta as its driving force.

Area CPA

April 21st, 2010
9:26 am

To Jan Jones, Jill Chambers, and other Metro-Area legislators who demonize MARTA:

I just took MARTA to work this morning. I’m a well paid tax professional who works to minimize his employer’s tax burden. Believe you me, my time is much better spent going through email and reading tax updates on MARTA than sitting for two hours or more each day in Atlanta’s insufferable gridlock traffic.

By taking such toxic, anti-transit stances, you are sending the message that you would rather see your productive citizens spend their valuable time stuck in traffic instead of carrying on the business activities that fuel Georgia’s economy.

Please change your stance and support not only the expansion of MARTA rail, but also of commuter and high speed rail throughout Georgia.

The Georgia Republican Party

April 21st, 2010
9:28 am

Transit and job growth in Atlanta is stoopid! We need to revert this state to rural dirt farmin’ and brush movin’, just like our pappy did! Cities are dumb and make our head hurt. Derp.

Whacks Eloquent

April 21st, 2010
9:31 am

How short a memory you all have – those blaming all of the state’s ills on the GOP. The Democrats controlled the state until 2006! Since friggin’ Reconstruction! Come on, this is more a matter of good ol’ boy politics. Kick them out, regardless of their damn party, and put in some intelligent people. We can argue liberal vs. conservative later, once we have intelligent people representing each side, which I personally don’t think we have right now!

Yes the GOP is being dumb about MARTA and transit, though I think the bill that allows regional voting on projects will help. But the backwards rural politicians are fighting it of course! Been down to south Georgia lately? They have 4 lane highways linking all the main towns, and maybe a few cars on each. But this has been going on for decades! I am asking Georgia voters to look past party affiliation and vote for a candidate that can think for themselves, don’t just vote party lines b/c you love or hate Obama!

Georgia is racist

April 21st, 2010
9:32 am

I wondering why the Tea Party not protesting against the Georgia Republicans who destroying our state.

Whacks Eloquent

April 21st, 2010
9:36 am

The Tea Party movement is mostly focused on national issues, with the hope of restoring responsibility to national politics. Local politics are another mess entirely…

Not A MARTA Fan

April 21st, 2010
9:39 am

The only problem with a sales tax to fund MARTA Operations is this…..in a year, or maybe even less, of receiving funds from the new tax, MARTA will come back and say….”This is not enough” and will be in the same state they were in before the tax….Folks, believe me, this will happen.

Not A JOB GROWTH Fan

April 21st, 2010
9:42 am

Cutty

April 21st, 2010
9:45 am

Eloquent- We know who controlled the state for the longest, but the repubs came into power saying how things would change. Instead, the totally closed democrats out on policy regarding transportation.

“When fully phased in, with the hospital bed tax expiring in three years and the statewide property tax completely eliminated in 2016, HB 1055 represents A NET REVENUE REDUCTION FOR THE STATE – and a net tax reduction for Georgia citizens.”

Exactly what we need right now.

Whacks Eloquent

April 21st, 2010
9:52 am

Cutty @ 9:45

I would disagree with Norquist’s notion that net revenue will decrease. If the economy continues to rebound, there is no reason to believe that growth in the state, especially in the metro area, will not resume. Maybe not at its previous torrid pace (I rather hope not actually), but the influx of new residents plus the lowering of our 10+% unemployment should raise the income tax revenue at least to levels we saw a few years back. I also assume that is why the hospital tax is given a sunset, but I fully expect it will probably extended anyways.

UGA dude

April 21st, 2010
10:04 am

Unfortunately, Georgia has almost always been a one party state (the switch from Dem to GOP didn’t leave us with much “in between time” as a balanced two party system). However, at least when the Democrats led, it was a coalition of quite conservative people, moderates and liberals, urban and rural, white and black, etc. Georgia’s Governors would live by the rule of “keeping us off the front page of the New York Times.”

With the GOP in control, you have a myopic, very right wing, uncompromising, base constituency that demands temporary tax cuts now as it’s primary goal, even at the expense of our world class university system. Meanwhile, they keep Georgia on the front page of the New York Times with voter ID laws (a divisive solution to a non-problem), and articles like I read while traveling abroad last week that headlined “Georgia to become the only state or territory without an Arts Council.”

I guess Georgia finally ran out of luck. For decades we have been able to separate ourselves from the likes of Alabama and Mississippi. Not anymore. George Wallace would be proud. I am not.

Georgia Historian

April 21st, 2010
10:06 am

While I agree with some of what “Whacks Eloquent” is saying… his/her time line is a bit off. Republican Governor Sonny Perdue won in 2002 and brought the State Senate with him. The Democrats were able to hold onto the State House for a brief two more years under the short tenure of Speaker Terry Coleman. Therefore the GOP has been firmly in control during these past several miserable years.

Grover Norquest is a DC idiot

April 21st, 2010
10:10 am

If I catch any of my state legislators signing Grover’s stupid pledge, I will lead a campaign to oust them. I will raise money, campaign, take time off from work, the whole nine yards. Grover Norquest is a nut and his policy ideas don’t work in a national economy and will be lethal to a state economy. Go back inside the beltway hole you came from please Mr. Norquest.

The Georgia Republican Party

April 21st, 2010
10:15 am

Grover Norquist has SUCH credibility! Let’s make him King of Georgia.

Paddy O

April 21st, 2010
10:18 am

Hey, Zeb – tell me what kind of jobs Ralph W. Emerson has had. The people who interact with the government fully expect that a “foolish consistency” is a mandate, otherwise, how they get treated will be different than their neighbors, and that violates the US Constitution.

Paddy O

April 21st, 2010
10:24 am

the Repubs are giving you what they promised – no new taxes. However, that does NOT mean they will address a single problem that actually affects your daily life – generally, they desire to MAKE GOVERNMENT APPEAR INEPT; in this fashion, the voter will demand more tax cuts because the government is NOT working. However, in truth, it is the Georgia Republican party that is inept. Your taxes in Georgia are LOW. The local government, primarily the cities, which the repubs love to interfere with for not practical reason except it gives them cover for not actually addressing the big state problems, are actually the most fiscally efficient (especially those cities under 20,000). We still don’t have additional revenue for local transportation, we still don’t have any new reservoirs constructed, we still don’t have any meaningful mass transit, we still have state mental health hospitals run as gulags, we still have peanut processing plants going uninspected and poisoning American nation wide. A proud heritage these Republicans have. Remember, a white Georgia Democrat is very, very very fiscally and socially conservative. I miss Tom Murphy and Nathan Dean.

Paddy O

April 21st, 2010
10:27 am

Georgia Historian: You know darn well that the elimination of the old 1954 state flag is what got all the democrats run out. Fail to deliver for the majority of the populace, and you will NOT be re-elected, regardless of how inept your competition is.

Paddy O

April 21st, 2010
10:28 am

No more than 3% of the population would miss the arts council. Let it die, and let the arts actually run off a market system.

Jason

April 21st, 2010
10:31 am

@Not A MARTA Fan,

MARTA isn’t asking for a new sales tax, it is asking to be able to make use of the sale tax ALREADY IN PLACE for operations. The state has had a restriction on those funds since MARTA was created to force the agency to use 50% for capital expenses. Early on that was ok as MARTA was expanding. But it no longer makes sense. If you have a five bedroom house that you can’t afford to keep clean, do you continue to use money to add more bedrooms or do you redirect that money to keeping the house you have clean? According to the anti-MARTA folks, you keep building more and more rooms even though there isn’t enough money to keep the rooms you have in good shape.

If you’d bother to look up the actual data instead of repeating what your neighbor’s friend’s cousin’s boss’s sister told you at the backyard bbq, you’d know that year after year after year after year MARTA provides rail service at the lowest cost per passenger mile of any transit system in the US. Most years it it in the top five in the world. You can get the data yourself from the Federal Transit Administration but I doubt you’ll put in the effort to educate yourself. Instead you’ll keep listening to commentators who reinforce your inaccurate view of the world, thinking that the more of them you listen to, the more informed you are.

Facts people… they matter.

P.S. To all the people who believe the lie that bus and train drivers make six figure salaries, all MARTA salary data is public. You can even find on MARTA’s website the minimum and maximum salaries for each job category. The only way a train or bus driver can make $100,000/yr would be to work hundreds and hundreds of hours of overtime per year.

P.S.S. To those who still want to blame the union because that’s instinctively what you blame everything in this country on, MARTA does have a union but it does not have the right to strike. Without the right to strike, it is nothing more than a professional society. It can’t force wages up or change work conditions because it has absolutely zero power.

P.S.S.S. The Lord commands us not to bear false witness. There is no exclusion in that commandment for those who are pushing the agenda of their favorite political party or cause. Give some really deep thought on that before responding on any of these blogs… or even when passing on information offline. Is it really worth risking burning for an eternity in the flames of hell to win some political points on Earth?

DJ

April 21st, 2010
10:35 am

Ray Boyd is the answer…let’s get Ray Boyd elected…listen to this interview yesterday regarding the GOP Oath.
The link: http://www.statesboroherald.com/multimedia/1223/
(The interview with Mr. Boyd starts at 38:38)

Whacks Eloquent

April 21st, 2010
10:45 am

Jason @ 10:31

I am not a MARTA expert. I do ride it quite bit. I did not know this:
“MARTA provides rail service at the lowest cost per passenger mile of any transit system in the US.”

I have wondered why they don’t run it more like the Washington DC Metro system, where the cost is based on the distance you travel. Going from L’Enfant to Union Station won’t cost as much as going from the Pentagon to Silver Springs. Makes complete sense to me. Why is it that somebody who wants to travel from 5 Points to Georgia State has to pay the same as somebody riding from Doraville to the Airport? In fact, I’d say double the MARTA fares to/from the airport to take advantage of the tourist traffic. Allow an exemption of some sort for workers. But seriously, has MARTA even ever looked at graduated fares? With the Breeze system they have in place now, I am sure it could be implemented.

Scott

April 21st, 2010
10:51 am

Jan Jones…what a disappointment you are. She didn’t get her racist Milton county so fine she will screw everyone else… FIRE her. She is as irresponsible as the rest of them

Daedalus

April 21st, 2010
11:00 am

Whacks Eloquent — I think your timing is off. The GOP took over the state in 2002.

So what transportation (or water infrastructure) investments have been made in the metro area by the GOP since then?

Zero. The 316 interchange project started long before the GOP took over. The only big project on the horizon is turning the HOV lanes in Gwinnett into toll lanes — but that is being done with federal funds. If you look at that project (costs $110 million) it will not include new interchanges, on/off ramps or any other infrastructure. Its just the installation of cameras and software to charge folks to drive in the existing lane. Makes you wonder who is getting the big payoff. There will be no toll booths. You will have to get an account from GDOT to use the lane and deduct the costs from your account (I don’t think the 400 ez-pass will work on it either). The best part is that the state estimates that the revenue from the toll lanes will not even cover the costs of operating the system — let alone paying for the $110 million in costs to implement it. Now that’s a great example of good sense government — GOP style.

I don’t expect the Georgia GOP and the rural legislators to give a rats-behind about Atlanta. I just want to point out that in the 8 years they have been in power the GOP has been wholly ineffective in dealing with growth issues. You cannot blame the dems forever. At some time the GOP will have to take responsibility for governing this state (hello Lake Lanier?). The suburban counties in metro Atlanta will continue to vote for the GOP and, as you say, the rural legislators will continue to ensure that the tax dollars generated in metro Atlanta will be used to subsidize the rest of the state.

The GOP loves to demonize MARTA and Atlanta — but GDOT is unable to deliver the goods and the GOP ignores infrastructure and both get a pass … because they are not Altanta and MARTA.

Defend the GOP all you want. They will stay in power for a long time on the strength of cultural wedge issues and sticking it to metro Atlanta. Just don’t expect everyone who is not a republican to believe the talking points.

Meanwhile, enjoy your car.

Scott

April 21st, 2010
11:00 am

Call Jan Jones…tell her what you think!
# at the Capitol…
# 340 State Capitol
# Atlanta, GA 30334
# 404.656.5072

Whacks Eloquent

April 21st, 2010
11:04 am

Scott,

Did you realize that Georgia has the 2nd highest number of counties in the nation? No wonder we are bogged down with stupid politics. I thought the Milton Co idea was stupid, will they try to recreate Campbell county too? (For those who don’t know, Fulton was consolidated from 3 counties in the 1930s – Fulton, Campbell and Milton) I think consolidation of gov’ts is the way to go. Cuts overhead costs and duplicate jobs – and they just spend their days arguing with each other over jurisdictions. Arizona is a bigger state and only has 15 counties. We have 159…why? Texas has 254, but they are about 5 times larger than us, and 2.5 times the population.

Scott

April 21st, 2010
11:05 am

@Daedalus

Thanks for correcting Whacks Eloquent, but he will still continue to use those figures as incorrect as they are. I have seen them corrected numerous times yet he still uses them. My question is this…If no money has been spent of these projects, where has the money gone, and why are we in such a hole???

Scott

April 21st, 2010
11:08 am

I dont think it should be looked at as R’s vs D’s…we as voters need to step up and ask hard questions to the questions that matter, and whoever can deliver needs to be elected. Its the current “non” leadership that needs to go. They call all the shots in our state government it seems…way too much power if you ask me. Maybe THATS what needs to change…as well as meeting longer than 40 days

Georgia resident

April 21st, 2010
11:11 am

Our governor, in lieu of helping improve Atlanta’s water conservation, held a public prayer for rain.

Kinda all you need to know about the GOP and infrastructure improvement. Just pray it done, I guess.

Scott

April 21st, 2010
11:12 am

@ Whacks Eloquent

On the # of counties, I agree with you whole heartily. You have Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) who says his district shouldn’t have to participate because they dont have to deal with the traffic. He is pandering to a base of anti-Atlanta voters in Forsythe and Cherokee Co’s, but I am sure some of them work in Atlanta and have to drive

Whacks Eloquent

April 21st, 2010
11:13 am

Daedalus @ 11

I don’t want to defend the GOP…I want to replace them with true fiscal conservatives. the social issues you refer to are asinine. blue laws need to go. If a conservative Democrat is available for me to vote for, I very well may do so. too bad most conservatives abandoned the Democrat party because of the liberal hijacking they have seen. I hope that we can get some northern-style Republicans into office, no frills and no stupid social-issue distractions. I voted for the Libertarian gov candidate last time around, I may this time too.

Part of the problem we have is the uneducated populace. National politics is entirely too dominant, and people just go and vote the party line because they are too damn lazy to research the individual candidates. Thus the primaries now become crucial, and the 5% of voters that participate in them.

get rid of the good ol’ boys! happy to see the likes of richardson, burkhalter et al retiring, maybe there is some hope…

Whacks Eloquent

April 21st, 2010
11:15 am

Scott,
“Thanks for correcting Whacks Eloquent, but he will still continue to use those figures as incorrect as they are.”

I quoted no figures. Quit making stuff up…
I will only concede that yes the Georgia Assembly partially went to GOP in 02, rest in 04. Big deal.

North Georgia Voter

April 21st, 2010
11:18 am

Patty O… you make sense in much of you posts, but there is part of that arts funding issues that a lot of folks have missed. By killing the arts council in Georgia instead of just scaling back, we actually cost ourselves money. The national funding will stop without that entity. Since Georgians still have to pay federal taxes, our money will actually fund the arts councils of our more progressive and “job-friendly” neighbors in Alabama and Mississippi (never thought I’d write that sentence).

Whether you or I like it, corporations and small businesses really do look at the arts and culture scene as a big part of the calculus when deciding where to move. To be the only state or territory without an arts council is not something to be proud of. Killing the council costs us money, and costs us current jobs and future jobs. Please don’t advocate for that.

T-Steel

April 21st, 2010
11:36 am

Whacks Eloquent is 100% on point. We as citizens of Georgia should not CARE one iota about party affiliation in state. We should only care about the issues that deeply affect all of us. And transportation is one. Whether you a far left, far right, or something in between, metro Atlanta gridlock keeps us all united in frustration and anger. Metro Atlanta is the engine of Georgia plain and simple. This doesn’t mean rural Georgia is without merit. But you have to prioritize. And right now, metro Atlanta traffic snarls are killing the entire state. I love the freedom of driving my car… when I lived in Michigan. But here in metro Atlanta, I dread my car. And that is positively un-American! Commuter/light rail takes traffic off the roads and has less of a footprint than building new roads. What happened to the American spirit of ingenuity and “nothing can stop us”. I guess China and the Dubai has it. They just build it! We need to do the same.

The Georgia Republican Party

April 21st, 2010
11:46 am

“What happened to the American spirit of ingenuity and “nothing can stop us”.”

Too scary! Might involve socialism!

DJ Sniper

April 21st, 2010
11:48 am

Whacks Eloquent has a point about GA being divided into way too many counties. All of these counties want to be their own separate entity, doing their own type of business and not wanting to work together for the common good. Hell, you even have division within the counties themselves, so it’s no small wonder why this state can’t get on the right track.

Also, I do believe that arts funding did get restored as of yesterday.

Not A MARTA Fan

April 21st, 2010
12:03 pm

Jason, this is what it says in Jim Galloway’s article….

“We understand that the deal killer is a provision that would allow one-half of a one-cent sales tax to be used for MARTA operations”.

That sentence does not reference the one cent sales tax already in place…..it implies that an additional one cent sales tax would be added.

You must be a MARTA Employee afraid of losing your job.

To be real honest, I wish MARTA would go away.

Not A JOB GROWTH Fan

April 21st, 2010
12:16 pm

Yeah, because nothing brings jobs to metro Atlanta like sitting for four hours on the Connector.

John

April 21st, 2010
12:25 pm

Those legislators who are unwilling to handle the changes necessary to make MARTA a more integral, efficient, and well-funded part of the Atlanta solution are only doing so because that would require them to actually *do* something other than funding tax breaks and kickbacks for them and their retard supporters.

John

April 21st, 2010
12:26 pm

My blood BOILS when I think about how inept this state has been in handling issues of dire consequence – such as MARTA.

John

April 21st, 2010
12:31 pm

@ Not a MARTA fan:

Yes, the legislation up for proposal now does levy an additional 1 cent on Fulton & Dekalb, in addition to the existing 1 cent they are already paying. This is why those in Fulton and Dekalb, as well as others, have urged lawmakers to work an appropriate funding model for MARTA into the transportation solution.

Since they are hindering the prospects for future MARTA funding, the only thing that anybody in Atlanta can really see is that this is another powergrab by state legislators to exert their influence and break the ability of Atlanta to compete regionally for jobs and businesses. The quality of life will diminish and like the thousands in Clayton County who have been left abandoned by lack of transit funding, jobs will be lost and lives will be adversely effected by their lack of transportation solutions.

Base

April 21st, 2010
12:36 pm

The GOP legislature fails again.Vote them out!

The Georgia Republican Party

April 21st, 2010
12:38 pm

Yeah, well, so what. Hey, that sounds cool!

“VOTE REPUBLICAN 2010:
Yeah, well, so what.”

Road Scholar

April 21st, 2010
2:03 pm

WHACKS: It appears that your transportation arguments do not hold water….now that’s another subject that Gov Sonny and his Repub cohorts have ignored. Why do you think you have to swipe your MARTA card when entering and exiting the train station? Yes, swiping it when going in pays the fare. It also registers the beginning location of your trip. And swiping it upon leaving the station? It registers the end of the trip, and the distance travelled! Remember the old gates? They opened when you approached them. These have to be activated to record the trip.
MARTA has been researching a distanced based fee for the trains ever since the fare gates were changed.

“I don’t want to defend the GOP…I want to replace them with true fiscal conservatives….”

I want someone with a brain, who has a vision for Atlanta, the other cities, and rural Georgia; I also want him/her to be able to explain WHAT and WHY in the proposals , laws, etc that is needed to grow the state. I’m fiscally conservative, but we must spend money to spur jobs, invest in infrastruture (see jobs), and right size government. We also need to regulate, by inspection, our banks, agricultural products, etc. Do you trust your children to do the right thing always?

We also need someone who can forge a team (notice not party) that will work together, discuss issues, and formulate real solutions. Enough of abortions, guns, microchips…BS.

Did anyone notice an editorial about an abortion bill that description didn’t use sex of the person. I wonder how many men got an abortion lately!!!

Scott

April 21st, 2010
2:42 pm

Lets clear something up. Fiscal Conservative does not mean spend no money. It means spend money wisely. Under that definition the legislature fails the test. Transportation/infrastructure funding generates up to 4X the amount in revenue and facilitates greatly increased private sector revenue (and the taxes they pay) as well. Transit is an investment. Too bad its not seen that way

rdh

April 21st, 2010
3:14 pm

MARTA funding shortfalls could be fixed completely by an 80 cent fare increase, making all riders pay full fares, and cutting operating costs including Union salaries. Instead, MARTA looks for money from the state … from people who neither live nor work in the area.

It amazes me that MARTA advocates EXPECT money from Dahlonega (i.e. ME) , or Albany, or Rome, or St. Mary’s to save them rather than raising money from the people who can use their services (their patrons and the citizens of the counties that they service). Every part of the state has their own transportation problems. Why should MARTA’s financial difficulties come before my own county’s transportation problems?