The Traffic Problem

Todd Tibbetts, a Peach Pundit reader and small businessman in Gwinnett County has an op-ed it today’s Gwinnett Daily Post about solving the traffic problems in Metro Atlanta.

Instead of following the 80/20 rule, our state legislature should reverse the funding formula and spend 80 percent where roads are needed and then split the remaining 20 percent among the Congressional districts. By phasing this plan in, the state can close the gap over the next 10 years and bring traffic relief to the areas where it is desperately needed.

Next, the state needs to consolidate our transportation bureaucracies under one tent and give control to the governor, thus putting the accountability on the governor. Consolidating Georgia Department of Transportation, Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, the Atlanta Regional Commission, the State Road and Toll Authority and others under one organization would give us the ability to develop a long- term vision, plan and road map to mitigate traffic congestion.

The 80/20 rule he is talking about is the one where 80% of transportation dollars in Georgia are divided equally among the congressional districts and 20% goes to special projects.

I don’t necessarily agree with going in Todd’s direction of 20/80, but I could go for a 60/40 or maybe even a 50/50. We should not forget that there are metropolitan areas outside of Atlanta with growing traffic problems too.

12 comments

  1. Bill Simon says:

    I don’t know how big of a problem traffic is in Macon, but I have the solution for the Atlanta-metro region’s problems: Starting at I-285, go out 10 miles (+/- 1 mile) and build an outer-perimeter….then, go out another 10 miles and build another perimeter, and so on, and so on until you have enough concentric circles of pavement around Atlanta that it will look like an expanded version of Hartsfield airport and its concourses.

    Sure, sure….some private land will have to be condemned, but, really, aren’t we all put on this Earth to sacrifice ourselves for everytone else?

  2. Chris says:

    Bill’s plan will also make Atlanta look like a big target from space.

    In all seriousness tho, I’m told that is what Beijing is in the process of doing.

  3. Doug Deal says:

    If a congressional district has an equal number of people, doesn’t it make more sense to divide the money up the current 80/20 split then to reverse it?

    If it was by county or some other region defined soley by land area, then there is a point. But why should one group of 650K people get more money than another group of 650K people just because they are living in Atlanta?

  4. stephaniemills21 says:

    Doug,

    yes, but when you consider the cost of purchasing land in metro atlanta vs the cost in peach county, etc the cost of building a mile stretch of highway is astronomically different.

  5. Doug Deal says:

    Steph,

    You need to buy more land in the country. A congressional area outside the Metro might be a fifth of the state, while in the metro region, it might be about one county, say 1/100th of the state. To service the same constituency. It might be cheaper per acre, but it’s a whole lot more linear distance, meaning more land for the right-of-way to service the same number of people.

  6. stephaniemills21 says:

    Doug,

    With all due respect, i call BS. To build a one mile stretch of a road in atlanta will still cost more than a ten mile stretch in S. Georgia. Also, how much time have you spend driving around this state? I can tell you have I have traveled to 143 of the counties (not just through them, but stopped and spent time) and that while there is some need for repair and new roads in rural georgia the need is not nearly as great as there is for updating and such in metro atlanta as well as for public transit (which i presonally prefer to more roads). I cannot tell you how many times i have been driving down some rural highway and gone 30 minutes without seeing another car. For the most part I believe the rural network of roads is pretty damn good. It is not too hard to get from one rural community to another and most times there are more than one way to get there.

    Now, not too big of a fan of the rural congressional districts losing out 80% of their money. And am with Erick on the split being more equitable, but even with an 80/20 split not all of that 80 would go outside the district. If CD 2 needed a new road, or improvements on a road and the improvement was deemed a high priority by the DOT then it would come out out of their 80.

    No matter what formula we use, it remains that the current system is not meeting the needs of the state. The traffic in metro area costs us billions and billions of dollars every year in lost productivity, increased pollution, etc. Doing what we can to alleviate that will only help everyone.

  7. Demonbeck says:

    Under the current plan, the DOT takes 20% off the top for “projects of statewide importance” (ie: Atlanta projects) and then splits the rest up to Congressional districts. Metro Atlanta now has – what 6? – of our state’s congressional districts.

    Atlanta is already getting too much if you ask me.

  8. we’re negotiable; we have spending problem; a tax increase is unacceptable; the proof is in cash flow…

    Thanks Buzz and we’re on the same beam. I had elected officials last year ask me if I’d settle for 50/50. My response is we’re negotiable as long as we look at doing more for fast growing areas.

    This and the fast growth 20 billion dollar budget are fine examples that we don’t have a revenue problem… WE HAVE A SPENDING PROBLEM. And, we have a Republican controlled House, a Republican controlled Senate, and a Republican Governor all of whom many of us worked hard to elect so that we could obtain the majority.

    Bottom Line: A transportation tax increase is unacceptable and we need legislative leadership and fiscal responsibility on transportation issues. We’re almost done with this session, and nobody at the Capitol will step up to make the formula changes that will be best for the state’s fast growing communities (including fast growing areas in South Georgia). So, we will continue to encourage changes to the formula.

    As it relates to transportation resources, if we keep doing the same thing, we’ll keep getting the same results and I’m not satisfied with the same results.

    The current system is backwards and set up to reward slow and no growth areas with much more cash (taxes) coming in than going out. However, if you live in a fast growing area, you will have more cash (taxes) going out than coming in. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that those taxpayers sitting in traffic are paying more into the gas tax formula than the few cars driving on 4 lane highways in rural communities.

  9. kendrial says:

    I think that Marta needs to be expanded and privatized. Now Marta operates only in counties that are willing to provide a portion of their sales tax for it’s funding. In expanding the system more people would be willing to use Marta if they could walk or get take short bus to the station. Now the Marta is so far away they might as well drive the whole distance. I am also, in favor of a train system for the state of GA. Would it not be great to take a train down to Savannah?

  10. Demonbeck says:

    Todd,

    One could argue that there are som many cars on the road in Atlanta, because there are so many roads in Atlanta.

    Improve the roads outside of Atlanta and enable those areas to grow and prosper as well.

Comments are closed.