Poop or Get off The Pot

It’s that time.  Time to decide the fate of light rail in Georgia.  And perhaps for another Decaturguy v. Rep. Davis fight.

The chairman of the state Department of Transportation’s intermodal committee says it’s time for the agency to decide once and for all whether to bring commuter rail to Georgia.

The DOT board has been mired in a “roads vs. rail” debate, centered on the state’s proposed first commuter rail line, a 26-mile stretch between downtown Atlanta and Lovejoy in south Clayton County.

The state has about $109 million in hand to build the line, but the project has stalled because no one has stepped forward to cover operating costs.

42 comments

  1. rugby_fan says:

    I am not sure what the man from Decatur thinks about this.

    He seemed to be fairly apathetic about this issue every other time it has been brought up.

    I kid, of course.

  2. griftdrift says:

    Oh up on the exit itself is amazing but eff the people actually on the interstates.

    I remember when driving south out of Atlanta didn’t involved a 90 minute backup.

    At 2:00 in the afternoon.

  3. Erick says:

    The Eagles Landing thing pisses me off to no end. How much money was spent to improve it and by the time they improved it, the damn thing was experiencing worse traffic than before.

    It’s crazy.

  4. Decaturguy says:

    Road improvements such as adding lanes and intersection improvements do nothing but encourage more traffic and before you know it, makes traffic worse.

    How many times do we need to flush money down the toilet, to continue on with the theme, before we learn that we need alternatives to everyone driving their own car everywhere all the time. We are going to, ultimately, destroy our region’s prosperity if we don’t.

  5. Demonbeck says:

    Poop or Get off The Pot

    Jason Pye // Apr 30, 2007 at 5:04 pm said:
    Oh…I take that exit every morning…and it’s amazing.

    LOL

  6. Here is just a few recent articles on transit and rail from around the country. Enjoy!

    Illinois Transportation Authority Wants $10 Billion Subsidy Raise

    Seattle’s ‘Sound Transit’ to Cost Nearly Double Original Estimate

    Free transit offered to lure commuters away from destroyed highways San Francisco! Yes, this is where Mr. Ford left MARTA to go!

    FasTracks costs running into the red – Denver
    Draft analysis puts price tag almost 65 percent higher than intended.

    MA Grappling With Ways To Solve Transit Funding Crunch – Boston
    Fixing problems may require new taxes

    State won’t subsidize Tri-Rail forever, official says – Pompano Beach, Florida

    Commuter rail plan draws fire – Concord, NH
    ”The senior House Republican on state finances – Rep. Neal Kurk – said a proposed bill (SB 75) gives the authority too much unchecked power, too little government oversight and too easily may commit the state to a financial disaster.”

    Get real. The costs being heralded by the supporters are not giong to cover it and they never do. The rail will add more cars to the roads than it will take off. All the while diverting funds away from the needed road building. We must not be fooled by the special interest groups that make false claims about the cost or even the effectiveness of commuter rail.

  7. Jason Pye says:

    I-75 has always experienced backups at Eagles Landing, at least as long I’ve lived in Henry County. The new bridge at Eagles Landing Parkway has improved traffic by leaps and bounds.

  8. griftdrift says:

    For people getting on and off at Eagle’s landing. Not for the millions of the rest of us just passing through. At least that’s my view.

    My expectation now is that I will come to a grinding halt as I merge from I-675 to 75 going south and that I should expect to come to a grinding halt somewhere between the Tanger outlets and exit 218 northbound.

    Saturday after Thanksgiving? It happened at Johnston Rd. That would be the first exit North of Forsyth.

    But maybe we just don’t have enough roads yet.

  9. Jason Pye says:

    It has been that way for as long as I can remember.

    I remember leaving work at O’Charley’s (Hwy 138 location) in 2002 and heading to band practice (to Jodeco Road) and getting stuck at the I-675 and I-75 merger.

  10. joe says:

    When I moved to the Atlanta area 3 years ago, traffic dictated that I find a house near I 675. All of the other traffic sucks. It doesn’t matter if you are N,S,E or W, it is Atlanta.

  11. TM2000 says:

    Mr. Davis what the heartland institute doesn’t want you to know is that a lot of that $10 billion in the state of Illinois is going towards enhancements and extensions.
    http://www.rtachicago.com/CMS400Min/uploadedFiles/2-8-07-%20MBC%20Strategic%20Plan%20Press%20Release__FINAL.pdf

    As for Denver’s case, I support the project, but I do not support further taxes without voter approval first. And these days you can never know for certain where the price of resources like steel, sand, concrete, or asphalt will go with emerging economies in Asia and around the world.

  12. The bridge at Eagles Landing has had a dramatic impact on this interchange! We are currently in the bidding stages for a auxiliary lane between I-675 and E.L. and just recently I was approached about moving funding from the Jodeco interchange that is already approved and doing an additional lane both north and southboud from Hwy 155 up to I-675.

    So whats the point of this discussion?

    TM2k I am glad to see someone support voter approval!!!!

  13. TM2000 says:

    You are absolutely correct Mr. Davis. I do not support tax hikes unless the voters get to have a voice in it.
    One thing I would like to see more of in Henry County and regionwide is more HOV lanes. It really does amaze me that the state is not starting on more until next year considering we have had them for 11 years now. If my college studies took as long as those of the GA DOT or other government agencies, my great- grandchildren would be able to attend my graduation ceremony.

  14. TM2000 says:

    Another question Mr. Davis, and on another topic. I have listened to some of your radio broadcasts and you have spoken of Governor Perdue’s tax breaks for conservation in a positive tone and I know you are an avid rider of horses. How do you feel about the Governor’s proposed $50 million?

  15. The $50 million is not land conservation, it is land investment. It is one thing to encourage smart independent land conservation and another for the State to start buying up land. The better question is where they are buying land and why!

    There is a bigger problem right now with spending. The budget when I took office was $16.3 Billion and now it is $20.2 Billion plus and Billion in bonds! We need to prioritize better and start reversing the size of government.

    We could start by not implenting NEW big government wastes like commuter rail. And we could consolidate some of the numerous transportation agencies and stop the never ending flood of planning, replanning and planning to plan. We need to start expediting projects to help curve the increasing cost of construction.

  16. TM2000 says:

    OK your answer to the land question is a little vague. Are you saying that you support independent land conservation but not new state parks?

    I would support both of those. Parks are great places, and the United States has many to boast about. People come here from across the globe to see Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. Georgia is a state that is lagging in parks compared to other states.

    Also on another note, if you want to talk consolidation and downsizing, consider this idea. At the federal level, the Departments of Energy, Interior, and Agriculture should be merged into one Department of Natural Resources.

  17. TM2k, my point was not to say I dont support parks but rather that we need to prioritize. I like your consolidation idea for the Feds!

    Government will grow as fast as you let it and right now it is exploding! The 08 budget added $55 million in yearly salaries for NEW employees and this does not include teachers!

    I support SR 20 and I believe this was a missed opportunity for us to lead into major tax reform by reducing the ability of govt to grow! “It is time to check and reverse the growth of government, which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed.” Ronald Reagan

    I dont know how I got to this point on this thread about commuter rail but this has been some good debate. I will be on with Tim Bryant at 1340 WGAU Athens talking about the budget and the veto in the morning around 9:15 am.

    Good night.

  18. TM2000 says:

    I do believe that teachers deserve a generous salary and I believe that the lottery has been a great investment for education. However there comes a point where it just comes down to bribery with the high salaries.
    What are your priorities? Mine definately include parks and from what I have read, the Governor’s program is for buying land. We do need more parks in Georgia. Panola and Arabia Mountain are a great example of money well spent.

  19. griftdrift says:

    Rep. Davis. Thank you for participating. Please understand that part of my persona is a little snark goes a long way.

    But I do have a serious question.

    I have lived in the Northwest Atlanta area for over twenty years. I also have a farm in far south Georgia. For those reasons I have travelled the area of I-75 around Hudson Bridge Rd at least a dozen times a year, both ways, for a long time. All of my impressions are based solely on observations during those travels.

    My observation is that once the new ramps were added with their proximity to the I-675 merge, traffic became much worse. What was simply a difficult merge that caused some slowing turned into a nightmare of weaving traffic causing backups as far as back as I-285.

    Interesting lymy hair dresser who lives in the area and reflects Jason’s opinion. She says under the old design it was impossible to enter the interstate system Now, she raves about how easy it is.

    Given all I know, my personal impression is the needs of a very fast growing section of Henry County were addressed at the sacrifice of those simply passing through.

    Do you have some study or traffic counts that might change my mind?

  20. Jason Pye says:

    To determine if there will be one blade of grass left in Henry County?

    I had a discussion with a friend about development in Henry County not to long ago. He showed me the statistics that showed only 30% of Henry County has been developed.

    There is plenty of greenspace here. There are plenty of parks.

    Our problems are due to poor management and politically connected developers who used their connections to get ahead.

  21. griftdrift says:

    Why should we show restraint on exclamation points when they have been so effective in the past? You just want him to use more costly, ineffective ellipses!

  22. jsm says:

    I grew up in Clayton County, and my dad worked downtown until around 1996. We never had the kinds of traffic problems that occur now in Henry County, and I would imagine our population was as dense as Henry is now. In the early 90’s I was able to drive from my house in Riverdale to Ga Tech, or the reverse trip, in 30 minutes during rush hour.

    It seems to me that a real change in overall thinking–the BIG picture–is necessary to solve traffic issues on the I-75 corridor going South. I spent almost 3 hours one recent Friday driving from my former office in Alpharetta to a wedding rehearsal right of the Hwy 81 exit. I determined then that I would never want to move back to that side of town.

    Now that I’m in the Gainesville area, I think there is a real opportunity to develop a route from the train station here to downtown using existing Norfolk Southern lines that Amtrak currently uses. Looking at the map linked below, I wonder why similar possibilities are not available from other areas near Atlanta as well.

    http://www.dot.state.ga.us/dot/plan-prog/intermodal/rail/Documents/PDF/Metro_Atlanta_Rail_Map.pdf

  23. Jason Pye says:

    You must have completely avoided Mt. Zion becase I remember traffic being a serious issue in the 90’s. I worked and went to church in that area…and I too grew up in Clayton County.

  24. jsm says:

    I went to church where Alan Vigil Ford is now located, and I do remember the traffic along the retail corridor of Mt. Zion Rd. I was able to by-pass it on Battlecreek Rd. when I needed to. Whenever I venture into Henry Co. these days, all the “back roads” seem to be just as clogged as the main roads. It does get frustrating trying to get around.

  25. Jason Pye says:

    What back roads are you taking? I live near the Square in McDonough and I make it around there fairly easily, as well as the rest of the county.

  26. Bull Moose says:

    The problem is that there is TOO MUCH politics in transportation decisions.

    What we need is HIGH SPEED RAIL with convenient on/off access points.

    It would be seperate from MARTA.

    You can’t pave roads to reduce traffic. You have to think outside the box.

    HIGH SPEED RAIL.

    Have a train run from Savannah to Macon to Atlanta. Have shorter trains running from various outposts into Atlanta (again seperate from MARTA).

    It will be expensive, but it’s smarter than continuing to pave our way into oblivion.

  27. jsm says:

    It’s been years since I lived down there, and I’m sure there are plenty of back roads I don’t know or remember. I think we’re getting off topic, though. I was originally referring to routes that would be an alternate to I-75, such as Jodeco Rd. or Hwy 81/20 from Tara Blvd.

    I will readily admit that my drive home nowadays from Gwinnett is no better. I avoid I-85 at all costs.

    I’d like to see rail routes developed, if possible, that connect Amtrak routes to MARTA or even provide rental of small electric cars at stations for local travel. It might not take time off my commute, but it could allow me to work or take care of personal business during the commute time while easing road traffic and petroleum consumption.

  28. jsm, interesting comment about Amtrak. I have asked numerous times why GDOT did not try to use the existing rail lines that are already rated for passenger service. The Bremen, Austell, Atlanta, Buford, and Gainesville corridor (which is the current Amtrak route) would not need to be upgraded. They could simply purchase some used rail cars and engines and give it a go a couple of times a day. They could have their “experiment” to see if it works with a greatly reduced cost. But as is the problem with the Athens line, the lines are full with freight traffic and are only making an exception for the once a day north and once a day south Amtrak train. The other thing is the service costs still don’t work even without improving the rail line. There you have it!!!! That was for you Decatur!

Comments are closed.