Dysfunction chic: Metro Atlanta eyes Europe as a model

Hold off on those archery lessons. The overwhelming defeat of the transportation sales tax doesn’t mean metro Atlanta is about to make a rapid descent into some unwashed, dystopian future.

Civilization will still function, as will the lights and plumbing. Only our goals have changed.

On Monday we were still a region that would occasionally overlook racial and financial divides in order to do a little business and make a little money as the economic engine of the South. But on Tuesday, we adopted a new ambition.

We set our sights on becoming a miniature version of Europe. We’re aiming for dysfunction chic.

This is a thought that belongs wholly to Steve Anthony, a lecturer on political science at Georgia State University and longtime aide to the late House speaker Tom Murphy. But it feels right enough to pass along.

“Consider a relatively large geographic area, made up of many governments, each with a different political culture and, in some cases, heritage,” Anthony wrote in an email. Daily border crossings by residents, all for the sake of commerce, are the rule.

“Layer over this scene the ridiculous notion, held in each zone, that each area can exist by itself,” he wrote. And then guess where you are. It could be the European Union. But with Tuesday’s vote, it could be metro Atlanta, too.

Forlorn Clayton County might be our Greece. Cobb County and the Chattahoochee River could be a stand-in for France and its Maginot Line. Gwinnett County would be Belgium. And corporate-heavy Atlanta, the wallet of the region, where all commuter trains not only run on time but are the only trains around, would be Germany.

“It’s galling to the other countries in mainland Europe that it’s Germany that holds all the economic cards. [Germans] were using that and lording it over the other counties. They’ve kind of relented, lately,” Anthony said over the phone. “Atlanta’s the same way. Everybody hates Atlanta.”

And like Germany, Atlanta holds the economic cards.

Across the water, the fight to save the euro has become an opportunity for the French to offer unasked-for policy advice to the Spanish. Debt-racked Greece receives daily memos on paper-clip use from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In metro Atlanta, a similar dynamic was created by the $8 billion project list drawn up by a small army of elected officials, to be paid for over 10 years by the sales tax. The assumption was that democratic courtesy would prevail. Everybody gets something, but no one gets everything.

Instead, the project list became an opportunity for residents of one area of metro Atlanta to express their discontent with priorities adopted elsewhere. A resident of midtown Atlanta could vote no because of the antipathy that Cobb and Gwinnett hold for rail. And who knew that residents of Cherokee County cared so deeply about the merits of Atlanta’s Beltline?

Leadership offers another parallel. Europe has failed to find the right man or woman to unite the region. President Nicolas Sarkozy might have been that person, until French voters deposed him for cooperating too closely with Atlanta. Er, Germany.

In metro Atlanta, we are still in search of a Republican champion of infrastructure. Yes, tea party skepticism surrounding the need for public investment is one reason for a dearth of GOP leaders willing to stump for greater spending on roads or rail.

But the architects of this referendum share the blame. They built failure into Tuesday’s vote, by creating a climate hostile to anyone willing to speak up for the transportation sales tax.

When the vote was first scheduled for the July 31 primary, strategists focused on the conservative Republican electorate that was sure to show up. But primaries attract the most fervent followers of both parties – few of whom are likely to look kindly on bipartisan efforts.

By holding the referendum in a primary, TSPLOST supporters virtually created their own opposition. Whether Democrat or Republican, candidates up and down the ballot were rewarded for opposing the measure.

Yes, Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, benefited from his outspokenness with 59 percent of the vote over his challenger. But so did DeKalb County Commissioner Lee May, a Democrat who represents the southern portion of his county and beat three opponents with 68 percent of the vote.

Yet there is hope for metro Atlanta, if we just look east. My friend Anthony at GSU notes that Europe has a history of coming together. Granted, it has required world wars or the occasional Mongol invasion. But it has happened.

So that archery lesson might make sense after all.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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96 comments Add your comment

JP

August 4th, 2012
9:20 am

If you’re saying that had more Democrats come out this might have passed then you’re just fueling the anti-Atlanta furor you say is at play because you would have to count on the heavy Democrat demographic of Atlanta and perhaps Dekalb county. (FWIW, I agree that some anti-Atlanta furor was at play.) I think it’s easy to cast aspersions on the Tea Party but it doesn’t explain it at. Look at the 2010 elections. People are simply tired not just of taxation but of projects like this that look so broad. This thing really looked like the stimulus. It looked like they called in everyone’s wish list and put it on paper. That was one of my incentives to vote no. The other thing that killed this was the 400 Toll booths and that had nothing to do with the Tea Party and everything to do with politicians screwing their constituents.

Weetamoe

August 4th, 2012
9:33 am

JP gives the best explanation in the clearest expression of specific reasons that I have seen anywhere in this paper. A good model for ajc employees to follow.

Dumb and Dumber

August 4th, 2012
9:51 am

This is a much better take on the vote than Wingfield’s post that the vote indicates we are thinking more “metro” than “Atlanta” and are “becoming a decentralized region” — we are not thinking as a “region” at all. We’ve become a balkanized conglomeration of petty fiefdoms that are either apathetic about our neighbors or hold them in contempt.

Gov Deal was right when he said that this vote was designed to fail by Sonny Perdue –problem is that Deal does not care enough to lead on transportation. Nothing will come out of his office (remember Perdue’s only transportation project in the region? He turned HOV lanes into toll lanes with $110 million of federal money. Now that’s leadership, not).

Kasim also bears some blame — by choosing the Beltline instead of building the commuter rail hub in downtown and working with Cobb County to build westside light rail — he was thinking provincially, not regionally. The beltline transit is years away from making any sense.

Although the usual racial contempt for MARTA still exists (some things never change) the biggest reason the vote failed is that- NOBODY trusts the state, not the legislature, GDOT, GRTA and certainly not the Governor. Under Gov Deal we are in for 4 to 8 years of zero leadership — until someone who cares about metro Atlanta takes office as Governor — we will stay a balkanized region,

Now its time for Mayor Reed to start focusing on the city, not the Port of Savannah, the city itself has a lot going for it (walkable neighborhoods, universities, job centers, world class airport, etc.) but it also has its problems. Mayor Reed come home! And get to work — pandering to the GOP Governor and legislature is not going to help the city — there is too much contempt for the city (and MARTA) for that to work.

Veteran Observer

August 4th, 2012
9:59 am

I have voted for every Splost for transportation and education but not this one! I live on Peachtree and run companies in Marietta and Canton so I have a major stake in this area! I am also a member of the tea party and a life-long Republican. I have spoken with many other business owners and we all opposed this for the same reason! The Republican leadership in the legislature has failed us on this issue! Marta is a failure and should be phased out and a new Atlanta Regional Transit Authority established with representation determined by population of each political entity included! We the taxpayers have spent at least a 100million dollars over the last twenty years researching this and it is time to act! The real traffic issues are in the suburbs and a new authority board with shared power to plan and act for everyone could unite the entire metro area and fix this over time with a true construction schedule in which everyone could see their part of the plan and know for sure when they would get relief! It would also eliminate all the suburban counties bus lines which are also losing money because of duplicate services and bureaucracies! Political barriers would be eliminated and the suburbs would not feel like it was taxation without representation! Yes an intermodal transportation hub would be built but maybe the downtown hotels could live without their trolley line for awhile!

suibne

August 4th, 2012
10:12 am

sorry. nothing will correct the failure of urban communities to correct blight. Nothing Because what is required flies in the face of all socialist, leftist, progressive theory and we know urban communities will never give up that platform. Suffer. Learn to enjoy it.

Jack

August 4th, 2012
10:24 am

I’d vote for a 1% sales tax that would be used exclusively to hire more police and build more jails. Atlanta has to rid itself of panhandlers and gangs before expecting anyone to vote for more MARTA expansion. There was a time when I could walk on downtown Atlanta streets and not fear for my life; not anymore.

Bob Loblaw

August 4th, 2012
10:29 am

@ Veteran Observer:

Pick a Party. TEA or Republican. They are not the same.

George P Burdell

August 4th, 2012
10:29 am

Steve Anthony’s analogy is interesting, but using it as an explanation for the failure of T-SPLOST is silly. Voters were motivated by the impact on their wallets. Businesses that backed T-SPLOST were motivated by money as well: the opportunity to shift the impact of business growth onto voters rather than the businesses that create the impact. If business groups think that improved infrastructure is so critical to business growth, then business should be willing to pay for the infrastructure impact that a specific project has. Let me guess the answer from business leaders: don’t tax us, someone else should pay. What a surprise that voters would answer “We’re not paying either”.

Johns creek

August 4th, 2012
10:30 am

Clearly the political elite was too smart by half.

Veteran Observer

August 4th, 2012
10:48 am

The Tea Party is irrelevant in most elections and votes including this one so why would I limit myself and my involvement in the political process! They are relevant in opposing some issues like socialized medicine! But your obviously exclusionary attitude will eventually doom our movement to failure! Some fringe Tea Partiers will not support any tax and I do not support that narrow view!

Ga Values

August 4th, 2012
10:58 am

Atlanta is Germany, bull. Germany lives on their own income. Germany’s President is not a crook. Althouh Berlin’s new airport is 2 years behind it is not run by crooks like Reed’s corrupt cronies.

Amy

August 4th, 2012
11:07 am

Does no one else think this way: (credited to Dumb and Dumber…which may defeat our argument…)

choosing the Beltline instead of building the commuter rail hub in downtown and working with Cobb County to build westside light rail — he was thinking provincially, not regionally. The beltline transit is years away from making any sense.

The funding dedicated to the Beltline was my only reason for voting no. The Beltline is not a transit solution, it’s a nice to have and can no way justify half of the forecasted tax.

DannyX

August 4th, 2012
11:10 am

“The real traffic issues are in the suburbs and a new authority board with shared power to plan and act for everyone could unite the entire metro area…”

You make some valid points Veteran Observer however the suburbs got into this mess themselves. Fulton and DeKalb have had a one percent transportation sales tax for 40 years now. The northern suburbs refused to join marta AND refused to add a sales tax for transportation to build their own system of roads and freeways. At the same time suburban governments allowed developers to develop all of the land leaving no room for expansion of freeways. Suburbanites are now stuck in traffic and still don’t want to pay for any fixes.

On top of that our state government has been completely useless. Democrat, Republican it makes no difference. The rest of the state is also part of this “Europe.” There is outright hostility towards the metro area, they laugh and make fun of the problems here yet gladly take 35% of our gas tax revenue. Of course there are problems, money needed to fix things is being stuffed in their pockets, what a racket!

Leadership has been nonexistent at the state level. Governor Deal is now a part of that tradition, instead of finding real solutions he is running away from the problems, pretending TSPLOST was not severely flawed. He seems intent on letting the metro Atlanta cash cow run dry, afraid to be a leader. Of course the suburbs will help re-elect him, once again proving they are their own worst enemy.

Suburbanites don’t want TSPLOST, toll roads, toll lanes, MARTA, rail, are ok with 35% of their gas tax revenue leave the area and don’t have the land to build new freeways. No wonder they are stuck in traffic.

ByteMe

August 4th, 2012
11:17 am

The problem all along was the 10-year lifespan of the tax. You can’t sell bonds on that revenue stream, the bond market won’t accept it. So they couldn’t do any larger projects, like transit out to Kennesaw, that would require more than 10 years to complete.

If Atlanta is like Germany… Germany is considering bailing out of the Euro instead of funding all the deadbeats in the neighborhood. Think that analogy through….

Michael #1

August 4th, 2012
11:20 am

Lets face it, these are hard times. Gas prices on the rise again, food prices going up and these are essentials. Anything that looked like a Tax at this time was doomed to failure. And the Tea Party might think they are behind the defeat, but I dont even bother to listen to D. Dooley.

GaBlue

August 4th, 2012
11:27 am

Nice column, Mr. Galloway! Food for thought.

Now, if we can just get us some of those kick-azz European-style trains that go absolutely everywhere one might want to go, at regular intervals, on time (and clean!), Metro Atlanta might actually become the world-class cosmopolitan city we seem to think we are!

Although, to be fair, that would be a great disappointment to the many among us who take pride in mediocrity and being at the bottom of all the important lists. Bless their tiny, selfish little hearts.

Non-Partisan

August 4th, 2012
11:32 am

Failures due to: Fiefdoms, turf battles, racial hostilities (my own city has been dubbed, “Too White” – now that’s the spirit!), lack of political leadership, head in the sand, pay-back to contributors, ad infinitum.
As I read a comment in the AJC, this whole mess could have (and no doubt would have) been planned, thought-out, sold to the metro area if only those who actually know how to plan, design and build transportation projects had been in charge. As someone above stated very characteristically, this was no more than a wish list for the ‘powers-that-be’ and not for the rest of us.
As for Amy’s comment, ditto me for the Beltline as a reason and add the utterly worthless Gwinnett Bus System as the other “black hole” for wasted tax dollars.

Cutty

August 4th, 2012
11:34 am

Why pay legislators to have the public do their job? Create a tax to pay for all transportation projects and mandate that it sunset in 20 yrs. This referendum just made everyone a transportation expert and was doomed to fail.

DeborahinAthens

August 4th, 2012
11:44 am

I stopped voting for Republicans years ago. They refuse to lead, are held hostage by the Tea Party. Their hypocrisy is overwhelming. They cannot raise taxes because their Right Wing constituents will crucify them. Meanwhile, the roads are crumbling, the bridges are becoming unsafe, and traffic is horrific. These same backward thiinking people want jobs (but not until Obama is gone, so he can’t get credit) and want businesses to come to the state. They are so intensely stupid that they don’t realize that one of their mantras, “let the free market decide/take care of the problem” is going to bite them in the rearends, big time, because, when transportation becomes too much of a problem, and too costly for companies, they will move their businesses elsewhere. That is the free market. Deal always has been and always will be a crook. He removed an engineer with excellent credentials to put one of his cronies in charge of projects for the coming years. When there is a way for the corrupt crony capitalists to make money, we will get something done. Maybe.

Metro Mensa Man

August 4th, 2012
11:48 am

GABlue: I was with you on this until you felt it necessary to belittle “the many among us who take pride in mediocrity, etc.” If you just made your point (as others have here) and not resorted to the tedium of criticism it would have made a better statement. You are, of course, entitled to your opinion.
As for your comment on European-style trains, etc., I can only add that 8 years of living and working in various European cities with ‘that great transit’ one can come away with the notion that it can be done for every city. Not so! Let me say that 7-8 dollars per gallon for gas + (now) as much as 23+% VAT and other forms of taxation make it easy to build transit. A lot of European cities, however, have aging transit systems that are beginning to crumble with age as many were built by the Soviets during occupations; the cities/states now, however, are strapped for funds. Other – and more pressing – problems are on municipal agendas now.
There is no way on earth, without a massive tax increase and/or a financial method provided for funding, that a “European-styled transit system” could be built in Atlanta. And, I might add, the financial part of it would pale in comparison to the social and political problems that would sure surface early on.

European in Atlanta

August 4th, 2012
12:01 pm

Most European countries developed a top-notch and efficient public transportation system, comparing them to public transportation in Atlanta is hysterical. Even by greek standards.

Iconoclast

August 4th, 2012
12:09 pm

If transportation improvements are good for business, perhaps the business community needs to self-tax (passing through those costs in price increases) and band together like the CIDs to “be the change they see in the world” or at least the fabric of transportation systems that sustain and grow share value.

Iconoclast

August 4th, 2012
12:11 pm

..but that would be trickle down economics at work. And the theory always seems to fall through in practice.

Faaarrr Right

August 4th, 2012
12:11 pm

DeborahinAthens @ 11:44a.m.;

I stopped voting for Republicans years ago. Hmm. Would you like a large tin star, a small golden one that your can put on your forehead, or go all out and have a statuette made showing that this was accomplished by you? Please post your preference and some one will get in touch with you before you decide to go further to the left.

If you think for a minute that putting a socialist, leftist Democrat in as Guv. one who promises to raise taxes will do the job, you are indeed void of any brains. Yeah, that would do it. Every voter in Georgia would go for that. No crucfixtion, just plain .30-cal.

I, for one, would love for you to post where you read the comments you laced your prosaic diatribe with. Any politician in GA who opposes creation of jobs “because bin Obama may get credit for them.”? (You are brain dead if you believe that even if you read it somewhere which I doubt.)

“..they are so intensly stupid..” (I’d like to review the test results that you read confirming this.)

“..let the free market…” (Do you seriously believe the free market cannot do the job as it has for dozens upon dozens of years?). Let’s get rid of the FM and see how well off you and yours will be afterward.

“..Deals always has been and always will be a crook…” (I don’t believe I would be making a statement like that in public, unless, of course, you were able to hide –as the rest of us do, incidentally – behind a blog on an editorial.

…”corrupt, crony capitalists?… My goodness, guess who is re-writing the book on crony capitalism? Does Solyndra come to mind?

Chill out.

GaBlue

August 4th, 2012
12:18 pm

Metro Mensa Man,

I appreciate your comments clarifying “European style” transit. I was speaking generally, but reality lives on specifics, so thank you. You’re absolutely right, and whatever improvements we see here will come as the result of what WE can do in terms of demanding action from those we elect to represent us, and holding them accountable (as opposed to ignoring our officials — while they do whatever the heck they want — and then complaining that government doesn’t work.)

As for my comment on taking pride in mediocrity, if you are NOT one of those people, then I wasn’t talking about you!

Iconoclast

August 4th, 2012
12:23 pm

The only problem I have with the former “big tent” party, is the Faaarrr Righters slipped in and kicked out the center poles. It’s no longer a tent, but a parabola, and it seeks to deflect the power of big government out of everyone’s life but yours.

Bernie

August 4th, 2012
12:39 pm

Aiming for DYSFUNCTION! Attlant and Georgia has suffered from DYSFUNCTION since the arrival of the GOOD SHIP JESUS” !

Chris

August 4th, 2012
1:12 pm

Let’s all take up a collection for poor Jim and the other AJC employees. I hear that the $100K that Cox spent promoting the failed TSPLOST was taken directly out of their bonus pool. The Christmas party has been canceled and they’re threatening to take away the free coffee.

Oh the horror!

Lil' Barry Bailout (Vote American)

August 4th, 2012
1:29 pm

And who knew that residents of Cherokee County cared so deeply about the merits of Atlanta’s Beltline?
———-

Very few in Cherokee County asked to be chained to Atlanta’s delusional thinking on the belt line or MARTA. And who in Atlanta knows anything of or cares about Cherokee’s transportation needs?

Sam

August 4th, 2012
2:50 pm

Whether you live in Cobb, Cherokee, or even Henry and Rockdale counties (I live in Roswell, n. Fulton), we’re all in orbit around Atlanta. Does Canton have a 50,000 seat baseball stadium? Does Marietta have the equivalent of Philips Arena? The Georgia Dome?

Without the core of Atlanta, Cherokee, Gwinette, Cobb and Fulton counties would be po-dunk and relatively poor rural counties. Most people wouldn’t even be here were in not for the gravity well of Atlanta and its facilities, including the world’s busiest airport. And the same holds true for much of the wealth of the entire state of Georgia.

Like it or not, over half of Georgia’s population is a part of Greater Atlanta, Metro Atlanta. And the only way to solve our massive traffic problems is for people to approve of an equally massive, METRO rapid rail!

Building more and wider roads IS NOT THE ANSWER! Building better, more efficient, faster, and modern rail IS THE ANSWER! Get it through your heads: We cannot maintain our status as a world-class Metropolis if we keep sprawling out in every direction, and relying on the soon-to-be-incredibly-expensive-to fuel and operate automobile for all of our transportation needs.

Real major players on the world stage have impressive rail, from New York City, to Paris, London, Moscow, Tokyo and Singapore. Stop thinking like a bunch of Daniel Boone isolationists, and start thinking like the Metro-POLIS citizens that in reality, you are!

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

August 4th, 2012
3:00 pm

It’s simply amazing that folks aren’t clamoring for transit, what with the highly efficient, superbly operated, self sustaining MARTA right in our own back yard. Who wouldn’t want some more of that?

Sam

August 4th, 2012
3:03 pm

@MetroMensaMan- Our very expensive roads and bridges are crumbling here as well. Everything man builds, whether rail or roads, eventually “crumbles”. The taxes we pay for roads and to subsidize car travel are enormous, so what’s the difference between that expense and the acknowledged expense of rapid rail?

And our roads are seriously over-capacity. Or haven’t you noticed?

Sam

August 4th, 2012
3:06 pm

@Lil Barry- I take the train from the North Springs station to Five Points 4 days a week and I’ve never had a problem with the punctuality of the trains. The only problem I’ve seen is one time a train (that I wasn’t on), broke down between Medical and Buckhead stations, which held up the line for about 20 minutes.

Are you suggesting that our massive, concrete nightmare of over-capacity, seriously congested roads are more efficient?

Metro Mensa Man

August 4th, 2012
3:31 pm

GABlue: No argument here. I agree with you and I wasn’t trying to garner support for my side of the argument and, of course, was not trying to pick a fight as I feel you weren’t. No I’m not one of those people you profiled.

Sam: I feel as thought it would be a drawn-out contest to determine the difference of the two expenses. Of course, we need roads and rapid rail is a bonus, but, over time I would think that the less we pay for road maintenance will outweigh the cost of rail maintenance, even though in that respect there are many, many more miles of road way than rail and truth be known (having had the opportunity to work on a similar project with a now-defunct RR) with rail, there are enormous expenses associated with that believe me.

Note: Not to “take up” for the GA DOT or dispute that roads in Atlanta are as you say, corectly, over-capacity, you are absolutely right. BUT, Atlanta went through a population explosion right after the Olympics that the city nor state was prepared for. For the years that Atlanta (and it’s metro) rolled along, building roads when needed, there came a more immediate need for new transportation and, sadly, the city and state were pitifully “out to lunch” for that, ergo the ‘over-capacity.’
I don’t have the answers but that doesn’t mean I should bury my head in the sand and I (and the rest on this blog) most likely are not ready to do that either. There is an answer.

yuzeyurbrane

August 4th, 2012
3:36 pm

Your analogy is a little stretched. I think it is fair to say metro Atlanta is the economic engine that drives Georgia but this is not really the point pushed by TSplost proponents.

hiram

August 4th, 2012
3:47 pm

The racial aspect invalidates Galloway’s analogy of Atlanta and Europe. Atlanta’s transportation problems began in 1751, when Georgia became the last of the 13 colonies to legalize slavery. A little over 100 years later, shortly after the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and the 1865 defeat of the Confederacy, Atlanta’s black population , by 1866, equaled the whites, and the racial divide that has persisted every since, is the overwhelming factor in the lack of a feasible transportation plan, no matter what other reason you assign to it. It is the 800 pound gorilla in the room.

This book goes a long way in explaining how Atlanta got to where it is today:

“White Flight: Atlanta And The Making Of Modern Conservatism” Kevin Michael Kruse

http://books.google.com/books/about/White_Flight.html?id=c5763Zgu4_oC

“White Flight: Atlanta And The Making Of Modern Conservatism”

http://books.google.com/books/about/White_Flight.html?id=c5763Zgu4_oC

duke

August 4th, 2012
4:01 pm

The only thing that has ever held the US together is our shared Christian faith. Anyone could have predicted, and many of us did predict, that the suppression of Christian speech in the public square would result in a fragmented culture. The architects of this multicultural nonsense are the international socialists. They favor mass transit, because it concentrates the peasants into crowded cities, where we ride the bus or train to our factory jobs. Then the wealthy elite can enjoy the views from their vast country estates, and can drive the uncrowded highways in their luxury automobiles. That is going to be a much more difficult sale in America than it has been in other countries. This was founded a Christian nation, and it will remain so until Christ returns.

Gary Coffman

August 4th, 2012
4:26 pm

When comparing Atlanta with Germany, it is worth remembering that every few decades the world has had to go over there and bomb them back to the Stone Age.

Sam

August 4th, 2012
4:26 pm

@MetroMensaMan- I think “burying our heads in sand” is exactly what Atlantans and Georgians have been doing for the last 40 years with regards to the transportation “big picture” of Metro Atlanta and the whole state in general.

Don’t get me wrong. I do think the trains and the stations should be much cleaner, and the trains more comfortable.

Truth be told, I wish Atlanta AND Georgia were really more like Germany. (Of course, people are going to read “racism” into the above statement.)

As you may know, on the autobahns, there is only a “suggested” speed limit between the cities. If a motorist is coming up behind you in the passing lane, and you don’t move your ass over, then you’re the one who gets the ticket.

That’s the way it should be here. Not just Atlantans, but Americans in general seem to think that “Keep Right Except To Pass” is a suggestion. It’s not, it’s the law, but it is not enforced anywhere in this country that I’ve ever seen. (I travelled all over the country for 8 years for my former job, by car.)

If everyone obeyed the “Keep Right” law, Atlanta’s gridlock would probably be 40% less congested.

But, Americans are “free”. Free to be stupid.

Yudont Nomey

August 4th, 2012
4:48 pm

Or maybe it was just an all around bad idea. If you can get the Tea Party and NAACP to agree that something is bad, then it must really be bad.

Last Man Standing

August 4th, 2012
5:00 pm

Veteran Observer:

“The Tea Party is irrelevant in most elections and votes including this one”

This statement indicates that you need much more practice at observing.

Jo

August 4th, 2012
5:23 pm

Thamks, well written Jim. JP sounds like a tea party guy trying to explain himself for voting against something that was needed The tea bags will need to explain themselves for years to come although I am sure they have all kinds of excuses that are valid only in their altered reality. As a small busines owner, after the vote, and seeing the dysfunction of this city, I am looking to move my company HQ somwhere else. This means Atlanta will lose some jobs but we canjot sit in the traffic anymore like we do now. People are jealous of Atlanta it seems but i cannot allow myself nor my business beheld by the dysfunction.

Lil' Barry Bailout - Vote American

August 4th, 2012
5:23 pm

Sam: I take the train from the North Springs station to Five Points 4 days a week and I’ve never had a problem with the punctuality of the trains.
———-

And you’re not paying your “fair fare”. Your ride is subsidized by taxpayers who never use MARTA.

findog

August 4th, 2012
5:42 pm

Bob Loblaw,
Republican and Tea Party is the same as Christian and Mormon. You can say they are not all the same but half would argue they are…

John Ellison

August 4th, 2012
5:43 pm

Build sidewalks and bike lanes all over metro Atlanta. It would save money and improve our quality of life.

Willie

August 4th, 2012
5:53 pm

The idea that the city of Atlanta is the disciplined, hard working, well run component of the regional union is a … Well…unique perspective.

All analogies break down sooner or later. This one seems to have fallen apart before you got it off your keyboard.

Old Farmer

August 4th, 2012
6:02 pm

If there is a dollar bill attached to it, it won’t be long before a Republican sniffs it out. Don’t worry too much Jim. There are a lot of good, Republican businessmen out there just salivating over all the government money they can get their hands on.

findog

August 4th, 2012
6:14 pm

We are a republic not a democracy. The elected leaders in Georgia fail to make the hard decisions, or raise revenue, so we suffer for the fools we have elected.

Old Farmer

August 4th, 2012
6:23 pm

This whole Metro Atlanta T-SPLOST was a corporate welfare scheme. It didn’t matter that the projects were not coordinated. They just wanted our tax dollar to pay for corporate welfare. It was all about the politicians and their well connected contractor friends.

Even though I am a Progressive, my hat is off to the Tea Party for exposing this deal for what it really was. I’m glad it lost.

scott

August 4th, 2012
6:26 pm

Atlanta,s deep,deep,deep.racial divide keeps it from being a great american,cosmopolitan city..it will never be a Seattle ,San francisco,Vancouver,..until it gets rid of its 1950,s backwater mentality,and its southern attitudes..its 2012 and in the metro aAtlanta area folks are still holdin on to 1950,