Higher Taxes for Transportation

11- Alive has an update.

Hat tip to Representative Steve Davis who also sends word that the Barrow County GOP passed a resolution asking the legislature to deny tax increases for the Brain Train or, at a minimum, require a referendum to approve higher taxes for the train.


  1. Dennis O’Hayer is a badass. I usually skip local television news, but he does a good job with his reports, particularly this one. It would’ve been nice to see a little discussion of the alternate strategy that the Chamber’s been advocating — the local option sales tax scheme — and that’s awaiting debate in the Senate, however.

  2. Progressive Dem says:

    The Barrow County GOP? Are they an elected body? Have they held public hearings and listened to experts on both sides of this issue? WTF! WGAS?

    Meanwhile, Sunny Boy sits on his hands (although a thumb maybe somewhere else) and does nothing about the most important economic development issue facing the State and the most important quality of life issue facing metro Atlanta.

    I thought the GOP was the party of business? The Georgia Chamber and Metro Chamber want more money spent on transportation. GOP leadership is way out of touch with their constituency on this. The busses running from Gwinnett to downtown are packed!

  3. Flatpickpaul says:

    I have participated in the Get Georgia Moving Coalition, a diverse group of concerned organizations coordinated by the ACCG. Regarding transportation funding needs in Georgia, the group would like to all, particularly legislators, to be aware that…1) Georgia is the third-fastest growing state in the nation, but ranks last in per capita transportation spending.

    2) Only 3% – 5% of GDOT’s budget remains for projects that add any new capacity to the state’s transportation network after costs such as operations, maintenance, federal match and debt service are covered.

    Absent a more perfect option, we hope the senators will vote yes on SR 845.

    More selfishly, if the Barrow GOP and Rep. Davis had their way, their respective counties and residents can stay stuck in traffic on GA 316 and elsewhere, get tangled and mangled in accidents and sprawl all over the map while Athens/Clark, Oconee and Gwinnett Counties, along with the counties between Atlanta and Macon get a great transportation option once commuter rail gets up and running. It will happen. It’s not a question of if, but when, and how long are Georgians and its leaders willing to stay stuck in traffic while every other major metropolitan area and region in the country moves forward with robust transportation systems and leaves Georgia and its golden goose (Atlanta) in the (red) dust?

  4. Harry says:

    I can’t believe the gravy train is still getting a serious hearing. The cost per passenger mile is astronomical.

  5. Dave Bearse says:

    I’m a strong proponent of increased funding for transportation, but I vehemently oppose SR845 because it authorizes a state skim of 10% of a “local” transportation sales tax. A locally approved and paid tax contingent on pyaing a tribute of 10% of the tax to the Gold Dome is idiocy, and any metro Atlanta representatives that support it with the “tribute” should be turned out of office.

  6. Flatpickpaul says:

    Harry, the highest value from a transportation standpoint (the economic development opportunities notwithstanding) for commuter rail service is in its ability to provide a high-capacity peak-period solution that doesn’t make things worse in order to make them better.

    According to a 2007 Texas Transportation Institute Report: “Figuring the cost of idling gas and how people value their time, the 60 hours per year the average driver in metro Atlanta spends stuck in traffic, cost the average Atlanta-area rush-hour traveler $1,177 in 2005, for a total of $2.6 billion areawide.”

    These projects seem expensive because they are capitol-heavy on the front end (though much less so compared to comparable capacity of new highways). Comparable capacity of new interstate would cost $1 billion more than rail capacity.

    When extrapolated to 30-years, current estimates on capital costs per rider of about $10, and operating costs of about 40-cents per rider on the Athens line, and $12 capital per rider on the Macon line and operating costs of about 80 cents.

    Let’s not forget that a person using commuter rail service is 25 TIMES safer than one driving an automobile.

    Finally, a 1999 case study (Miller, Robison & Lahr) found that for each 1% of regional travel shifted from automobile to public transit increases regional income by $2.9 million, resulting in 226 additional regional jobs.

  7. Icarus says:

    I predict that this year, we will fund a study of all the above studies. It will give us something like the Real Clear Politics moving average.

    Then next year, we can study the general public’s reaction to the above study.

    The following year, we will determine that the study was run improperly, and launch an investigation into those who conducted the study. It will be emphasized that we will start no new studies until the study house is in order.

    After a two year investigation of the studies, we will need a year or two to study the investigation report.

    When that study is complete, we will, of course, need a study to see if the results of the original studies are valid.

    Before that study is complete, the earth will be hit by a meteor, and we will all be killed.

    …while we were sitting in rush hour traffic, of course.

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