Archive for the ‘transportation’ Category

Introducing a new traffic mascot: Mr. Stan Still

The hard-sell TV campaign for the transportation sales tax in metro Atlanta begins next week, we’re told. In the meantime, the so-called educational side of the campaign is staking out some off-beat Internet territory with a series of lectures from a Mr. Stan Still.

Uh-huh. Watch here:

The press release from the Metro Atlanta Voter Education Network informs us that the video is funnier if you’re not a crusty old man:

With 40 days remaining until the Regional Transportation Referendum vote, MAVEN is continuing to educate voters across the region. The organization has partnered with COLLYDE and Green Tricycle Studios to produce a four-part series on Mr. “Stan Still”, a fictional Atlanta commuter helping metro Atlantans cope with our legendary traffic.

“Our hope is that our Gen X / Y peers will catch wind of this comedic series and help push the satire virally- not just for laughs in their inboxes, but more than anything, to spur the younger generation to be a part of critical …

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Birmingham-Atlanta-Jacksonville rail line ‘economically feasible’

Chances are, this isn’t what people had in mind when they ask about Plan B. From the Associated Press:

A consultant’s study for Georgia transportation officials found that high-speed passenger trains connecting Atlanta with Jacksonville, Fla.; Louisville, Ky; and Birmingham, Ala.; would be economically feasible.

Morris News Service reports that consultant HNTB presented the study’s findings to Georgia’s State Transportation Board on Wednesday.

The study identified possible train stations in Griffin, Macon, Savannah and Brunswick on the route through Georgia.

Officials say the feasibility study was the first of many steps in setting the final course of the train routes and securing funding.

The routes discussed Wednesday were studied after an earlier study showed the feasibility of a route from Atlanta to Charlotte, N.C. That project is now in the stage of estimating the environmental impact of possible paths.

The original article by Walter Jones of Morris News Service can be …

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The transportation sales tax as part of a United Nations plot

If you’ve been shopping for a sizable reason to vote against metro Atlanta’s transportation sales tax next month, but have been unable to find one that’s XXL or larger, try this on:

The tax and the people behind it are part of a United Nations plot called Agenda 21.

Laugh if you like. The topic is now center stage in Cobb County, as part of the debate over the penny sales tax, and the contest for chairman of the county commission as well.

Those who aren’t hardcore GOP will need a bit of background. Agenda 21 is also known as the “Rio Declaration on Environment and Development,” and was adopted in 1992 at a conference in Brazil.

In most languages, the report is a vacuous U.N. document that declares the need for a “sustainable” world environment. But to a certain segment of those who speak Republican, it is a secret declaration of war.

At the state GOP convention in Columbus last month, delegates overwhelmingly condemned Agenda 21 as an attempt to “outlaw private property and …

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The ARC and transit as playthings of the United Nations

The somewhat peculiar question on the table last night – and I’ll admit to being the one who placed it there – is whether the transportation sales tax and the Atlanta Regional Commission are an extension of United Nations-endorsed ideology.

The location was Marietta. The event was the last of three candidate forums hosted by the Cobb County Republican Women’s Club, and the featured attraction was the race for chairman of the Cobb County Commission. Yours truly served as moderator and inquisitor.

The challenge to GOP incumbent Tim Lee is closely tied to the fortunes of the transportation sales tax vote in that county. Running most strongly against Lee is Bill Byrne, the former commission chairman — a definite “no” vote on the tax. Financial consultant Michael Boyce and retired businessman Tim Savage are also in the contest.

On Sunday, the Marietta Daily Journal had quoted Byrne as saying that the ARC – the primary planning agency for metro Atlanta — was adhering to the U.N.’s …

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Your morning jolt: 25 business groups pin down candidates on transportation tax

The Metro Atlanta Chamber is coordinating an effort to identify legislative candidates on the July 31 primary ballots who support – or oppose – the transportation sales tax that will be decided the same day.

A letter sent over the names of 25 business groups and chambers of commerce – many of which can be counted on for regular campaign contributions through their political action committees – opens with these paragraphs:

Your response is kindly requested to better inform these and other businesses, organizations and voters as they make decisions about which candidates to support during the 2012 election cycle.

We believe the regional transportation referendum is the only option available to address metro Atlanta’s traffic congestion problem. We also believe the project selection process was an open and collective effort by local elected leaders and thousands of citizens across our region. We believe this is our best opportunity to improve and expand our transportation …

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Your morning jolt: Unwind your underwear about that naughty-or-nice list

The Internet tubes in Georgia are buzzing this morning with a claim by Nolen Cox, chairman of the Lowndes County GOP, that Gov. Nathan Deal is collecting names of those in support of, and opposing, the transportation sales tax up for a vote on July 31.

Cox cites this communique from Valdosta City Manager Larry Hanson to members of that fair city’s elected leaders:

Mayor and Council:

Governor Deal has requested a list of all elected officials who support T-SPLOST. He is willing to make a commitment to campaign for the reelection of any local elected official who will publicly support T-SPLOST. How should I respond?

If each of you could respond to me I would appreciate it and I will merely pass it along. I want to be sure I say this was presented in no way as a threat or a negative, just as a commitment to help and support those who support T-SPLOST…

Somebody’s building a naughty-or-nice list. But it’s not Deal. Via spokeswoman Cindy Miller, a group affiliated with the …

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Your morning jolt: A fierce abortion debate in north Georgia

State Rep. Doug McKillip of Athens, author of an aggressive measure to shorten the period during which Georgia women can seek an abortion, last night faced Republican primary challenger Regina Quick in a debate sponsored by the Oconee Chamber of Commerce.

Tim Bryant of WGAU (1340AM), who moderated the confrontation, sent over a clip of the sound this morning – which featured a detailed discussion of HB 954.

At the outset, McKillip – who was briefly chairman of the House Democratic caucus — ascribed his switch to the Republican party and his sponsorship of the anti-abortion measure to a religious conversion.

Quick emphasized her six-years’ service on the executive committee of the Clarke County Republican party, but also mentioned that she grew up in a bipartisan household, with a union-member father and a GOP poll-watching mother – perhaps a nod to Democrats now supporting her.

HB 954 was one of the most contentions bills of the session, and the first major piece of …

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Your morning jolt: Georgia jumps to national lead in foreclosure rates

The buried lede – at least as far as this state is concerned – in the new housing report by RealtyTrac:

Georgia leapfrogged past Arizona, Florida, California and Nevada to post the nation’s highest state foreclosure rate in May, the first time since February 2006 that Georgia’s foreclosure rate has ranked highest among the states.

Banks have opened foreclosure actions on one in every 300 homes here. If you’re looking for impact, cast your eyes no further than the DeKalb County school board, which is still struggling with plummeting property taxes. More context from the Associated Press:

LOS ANGELES — Lenders initiated foreclosure proceedings against more U.S. homeowners in May, setting the stage for increases in home repossessions and short sales – scenarios that could further weigh down home values in coming months.

Default or scheduled-home-auction notices were filed for the first time against 109,051 homes last month. That’s an increase of 12 percent from April and up 16 …

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Nathan Deal: ‘I never pledged away my First Amendment rights’

Gov. Nathan Deal on Wednesday evening gave his strongest endorsement yet of a sales tax for transportation, pushing back against those who have criticized him for betraying a no-tax pledge by declaring that he hadn’t signed away his First Amendment rights.

At issue is a Americans for Tax Reform pledge that Deal signed in 2010, as a candidate for governor, that said he would “would oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

On the 18th floor of an Atlantic Station building, at a rally of corporate fundraisers, Deal – with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle at his side — offered this defense:

”First of all, the pledge relates to new taxes that were going to be initiated by legislative action. And as you know, the only tax reform and tax changes that have been initiated since I’ve been governor have been to cut taxes. Last year was a major example of that, to be able to eliminate the sales tax on energy for manufacturing, so we can create more jobs. To increase by $2,000 the …

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Newt Gingrich’s ‘special introduction’ of Mitt Romney will be a private affair

Atlanta markets itself as the ATL. A better nickname would be the ATM.

Four major GOP fundraisers will be draining cash from the area today. And unless you’ve got a well-stocked wallet, you’re not invited.

U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss are hosting a fund-raiser for their Republican colleague Scott Brown, who’s attempting to fend off a challenge from Democrat Elizabeth Warren. And Georgia’s House Republicans will have Speaker John Boehner of Ohio in town.

But neither Brown nor Boehner will be at the largest event, a 6 p.m. bash at the Cobb Energy Centre that will feature a “special introduction” by Newt Gingrich of Republican presidential champion Mitt Romney. So far as we know, it’s the first joint stage appearance for the pair since that long-ago debate in Arizona.

It will also be a very private moment, limited to those willing to shell out at least $1,000 for the privilege. The Sunlight Foundation tells us that donors are being asked use the bundler code of …

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