Is the Chamber using undue influence?

Not to provoke a blog war between Decaturguy and Rep. Steve Davis, but Rep. Davis has up a post with some articles linked about the Chamber of Commerce possibly skewing light rail studies to make the rail lines seem better than they are.

I’ll say again, in my own research of the matter, provoked by the Decaturguy v. Rep. Davis back and forth, there seems to be more evidence nationwide that heavy rail systems connecting in to metro systems like MARTA are cost effective and potentially profitable than light rail commuter systems.

22 comments

  1. Rusty says:

    If you listen to this podcast, you’ll note this quote from Brian Pilger, Vice President for Transportation at the Metro Atlanta Chamber.

    The Metro Atlanta Chamber has about 4,000 companies, representing about 700,000 or 800,000 employees, and two thirds of those companies say that traffic is their number one impediment to doing business.

    I expect the Chamber and Rep. Davis will be at odds for quite some time.

  2. Chris says:

    Normally I side with the Chamber, but in general the Chamber likes pork, and lets face it, the Atl-LoveJoy line and the BrainTrain are nothing more than pork projects earmarked from the federal and state budgets.

  3. Roadkill says:

    I’d rather they spend the money for a rail line than for professional (!) fishing tournaments.

  4. Icarus says:

    Chris, normally agree with you, but since I still havn’t received any cookies, I’ll disagree with 1/2.

    The Atl-Lovejoy line is a train to no-where. I realize the plan is to ultimately link ATL and Macon, but then Erick, Vic, and Doug could get here without sitting in traffic in Henry County. We don’t need that.

    The brain train, however, could have decent long term potential. I’m not sure it would work too well as currently proposed, but I think it’s going to be easier to get a train through that section of DeKalb than building any new roads, and Gwinnett could use some real transportation alternatives.

  5. Nicki says:

    Oh, bullshit. Rail lines, strategically placed, are a good investment. The Brain Train, in particular, is likely to be fairly successful. And Lovejoy is fine except that it goes to Lovejoy — it doesn’t make much sense to me not to send it to more of a regional center.

  6. Doug Deal says:

    Rusty ,

    The members of the chamber have it within their power to stop the traffic tie-ups without pork.

    How about staggering work times from 6-3 and 10-7, so that everyone is not trying to be downtown at 8:30?

    How about offering employees 4 day work weeks, or allowing people to switch a weekday to a weekend?

    How about allowing more people to work at home or at sattelite offices, instead of having to commute?

    There are a number of things businesses can do to reduce the traffic problem with little cost, but generally refuse. Instead they want the tax payers to pay for it.

  7. TM2000 says:

    This message is for representative Davis.
    Even though you and I disagree on the issue of passenger rail I think we can find agreement on the issue of getting trucks off the road by upgrading freigh rail infrastructure. All of the major rail companies are doing this now. In fact, the US DOT will soon decide on 5 “corridors of the future.” There are 14 finalists and one if the finalists is the CSX Washington DC-Miami corridor (I-95 corridor). If this I-95 corridor is selected then there will be no single tracks (all double track or more) for 1,200 miles and they will close 1,700 at grade crossings (virtually all of them). And the part you will like about this is the fact that it’s all financed through government loans and public-private partnerships. When you consider all the major shipping ports on the eastern seabord from DC to Miami, you’d have to agree that it would be foolish not to select this one as one of the 5.
    http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2007/042007/04292007/278084

    Norfolk Southern has a similar proposal for the Crescent Corridor from New Orleans to DC.

  8. Harry says:

    “Hopefully loans.”

    Hopefully, indeed, but I doubt it. As we know from school, the incestuous relation between transportation and government goes back to the beginning.

  9. Jason Pye says:

    You’re absolutely right, Will. Let’s privatize the roads.

    But paying for the rail companies to increase their capacity is corporate welfare.

  10. NewnanYankee says:

    One correction, Erick… Commuter rail systems are NOT light rail. They are most decidedly heavy rail. They must meet strict Federal Transportation guidelines to share the rails with freight traffic. While they are not the same as MARTA’s heavy rail system, they are indeed classified as heavey rail.

    Point of note, commuter rail systems tend to be cheaper to get up and running than any other rail system on a per mile basis. This is because they reuse a lot of existing trackage and the main cost is some bare-bones suburban stations and the rolling stock. In the case of the Georgia rail plan, most of this money was approved years ago. Our legislators are fighting over how to come up with the operating subsidy only.

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