Dueling T-SPLOST Press Releases; Untie Atlanta vs TEA Party Cage Match

June 14, 2012 13:30 pm

by Charlie · 80 comments

And the war of T-SPLOST words is heaing up. 

Debbie Dooley and Julianne Thompson weigh in on behalf of the TEA Party Patriots weigh in as the now defacto voice of opposition to the tax, while CTM a/k/a Untie Atlanta uses Dooley’s suggested Plan B for an increase in gas taxes against the opposition.  We’ll post them in that order, and then let frequent commenter Last Democrat In Georgia have a long conversation with his or her self:

TSPLOST – THE UNFAIR TAX

Tea Party Leaders Blast Pro-T-SPLOST Campaign As Being Promoted On Falsehoods

Atlanta, GA – Atlanta Tea Party Leaders Debbie Dooley and Julianne Thompson blast the pro-T-SPLOST campaign as being deceptive to metro-Atlanta voters.

Thompson stated, “Citizens for Transportation Mobility, the high dollar public relations arm of the pro-T-SPLOST political campaign has shown in their recent attacks that they are worried and desperate. Recent polls show that voters are becoming more educated on this tax, and that this referendum is going to fail. A new Insider Advantage Poll shows 47% voting against it, and only 32% favorable to the tax. In addition, the poor public relations strategy for this tax has been built on false promises to the public, which are being brought to light.”

She continued, “The Atlanta Tea Party has always supported tax reform, with the vast majority of our activists supporting a consumption tax over what is currently in place. Both Debbie and I have stated on multiple occasions that that infrastructure improvements and traffic relief must be addressed, however, the project list created by regional roundtable does nothing to relieve traffic congestion. It does nothing to bring in new jobs. It does two things: It creates the largest tax increase in Georgia history, and it creates a bailout for a failing MARTA. This project list is fiscal irresponsibility at it’s worst.”

The Tea Party leaders point to a recent study by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation that states, “Proponents are campaigning hard. Unfortunately, the plan barely translates into improved regional mobility. Operating in an if-you-build-it-they-will-come fugue, regional leaders allocate more than half the expected funds to expensive transit projects, most of which would not offer congestion relief within 10 years, if ever. ”

On April 16, 2012, the Atlanta Journal Constitution released Politifact’s Truth-O-Meter found Atlanta Regional Commission’s claim of T-SPLOST creating or supporting an additional 200,000 jobs mostly false.

Dooley stated, “Although we support a consumption-based approach, we have made it clear repeatedly that until elected officials earn our trust by showing they are fiscally responsible with the tax dollars they have now, they should not be given more. Elected officials must prove they have made cuts in other areas such as cutting all tax-payer funding to build a new, nearly half a billion dollar stadium for the Atlanta Falcons, and other such government waste. The impulse should be to cut in others areas in order to fund projects that are high priority.” 

Dooley continued, “The Atlanta Tea Party believes that users of roadways or mass transit should be the ones to pay for maintenance, expansion and upgrades. In other words, a consumption based tax that would only impact users of roadways. T-SPLOST does the opposite. It takes the majority of the tax revenue to fund mass transit-related projects which will be used by less that 5% of the people paying the tax.”

“During these tough economic times, people can barely make ends meet. The damage this tax will do is far reaching”, said Dooley.

Both Thompson and Dooley stated, “Many people do not realize that T-SPLOST will also tax food and prescription drugs. And for single mothers trying to put food on the table and for senior citizens barely able to make ends meet, this is a travesty.”

Thompson added, “The negative economic impact for the taxpayers will be significant, as there is no funding in place for the long-term maintenance of the projects. Be certain that this T-SPLOST will be merely the first in a long line of taxes imposed on the citizens of metro-Atlanta under the false premise of economic development. Add to that the new tax on food and prescription drugs this would create and it is easy to see that T-SPLOST is truly the UNFAIR Tax.”

And for MAVEN’s shot back at Dooley:

 Tea Party leader wants gas taxes raised

Dooley publicly supports a never-ending tax with less public accountability

 ATLANTA, June 13, 2012 –National coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots Debbie Dooley endorsed raising gasoline taxes this week, which would result in a never-ending tax hike with no specified project list and no citizen oversight committee regularly reporting on how the tax receipts are being used.

Speaking at a forum on the upcoming Regional Transportation Referendum hosted by the Civic League for Regional Atlanta, Dooley supported raising gas taxes while at the same time being critical of the Department of Transportation for management of current gas taxes.

“We support increasing the gas tax, which has not been done since 1991,” Dooley said at the forum, which was first reported by the Saporta Report. “There are other service fees. Telecommuting, which could be encouraged via tax credits. We could have van pools set up, like Microsoft did in Redmond, Wa. …There are a lot of solutions and alternatives we would recommend.”

Unlike the July 31 transportation referendum, raising the gas tax would be a permanent tax increase with no specific sunset date. In addition, higher gas taxes would go into the general transportation budget instead of citizens being able to specifically vote on what projects will be funded. This would lead to taxes collected in one region being available to be spent around the state rather than the money staying in the region where it is raised. The referendum also calls for a five-member citizen oversight panel that will file yearly audits on the progress of the projects funded. Raising the gas tax would not result in this level of citizen oversight and accountability.

This follows previous Tea Party comments supporting more toll roads in the region. Julianne Thompson, another leader in the Tea Party Patriots movement, pressed for more tolling when appearing on a panel hosted by Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“We have been waiting on the opposition to come up with their ‘Plan B’ and we now see that they want to build more toll roads, raise gas taxes and take away the power of citizens to vote on a specific project list,” said Che Watkins, campaign manager for the advocacy group Citizens for Transportation Mobility. “We are frankly shocked that a Tea Party leader would advocate for higher permanent taxes with less public accountability.”

While the per-gallon excise tax on gas has not been raised in decades, the per dollar sales tax on gas rises and falls every six months based on the average price of gas. On Friday, Governor Nathan Deal halted a scheduled increase in the gas tax because of drivers’ frustration with high gas prices. The gas tax Dooley wants to raise would need to be increased by 25 cents per gallon to raise an equivalent amount of funds for transportation as the July 31 referendum will raise.

Also, Dooley advocated for telecommuting tax credits and van pools, which have been available in the Metro Atlanta region for years. While these programs are worthy and should be continued, they are not new ideas and cannot be counted on by themselves to solve Metro Atlanta’s traffic congestion.

Charlie June 14, 2012 at 1:45 pm

I’m told a point of clarification is in order. The original post identified MAVEN as the group behind Untie Atlanta. The advocacy group is actually something called CTM.

MAVEN can only re-educate. I’m looking forward to their summer camp.

Bridget June 14, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Fair question: For all of these orgs that are only chartered to educate vs advocate…is it really considered education if only pushing for a specific vote versus relaying neutral information for both sides?

The CIDs for example…can tax money be diverted for advocacy?

Calypso June 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm

“The CIDs for example…can tax money be diverted for advocacy?”

No, but the rub lies in defining advocacy. Sorta like the old adage about pornography. “I can’t tell you what it is, but I know it when I see it.”

Bridget June 14, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Well, there’s only one CID in Metro Atlanta that chose not contribute. My question – how does one know what it looks like and the others do not?

In your pornography scenario – they know what it looks like, but they don’t care and keep staring – behind closed doors of course.

rrrrr June 14, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Actually I thought one could tell by the happy ending….

Three Jack June 14, 2012 at 2:02 pm

What a tangled web these folks weave; Supposed conservatives in a battle over how to raise taxes.

Again this points out the undeniable need for TPP to have a professional spokesperson with the skill to avoid stepping in it as happens so often with the current folks in charge.

CobbGOPer June 15, 2012 at 10:39 am

“Supposed conservatives in a battle over how to raise taxes.”

It’s more like supposed conservatives in a battle to get taxpayers to raise their own taxes so said conservatives can deflect the blame when all these transportation projects end up half-finished and in need of more taxes in 2020.

Sorry for the run-on sentence.

bgsmallz June 14, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I’m skeptical of anyone who says they can fix it without spending money. I’m also skeptical of big business, the governor’s office, the current leadership of the NAACP, and the Sierra Club.

So, in times like these, I turn to the one person who I can trust….Clark Howard.

saltycracker June 14, 2012 at 4:38 pm

You mean the Clark guy that wants to travel anywhere in metro Atlanta for $2.50 and advise us on how to avoid the metro sales tax ?
Disclosure: C.H. fan…..most of the time

rrrrr June 14, 2012 at 2:27 pm

“This would lead to taxes collected in one region being available to be spent around the state rather than the money staying in the region where it is raised.”

This from the PRO “T-SPLOST” group? Cause that’s WHAT their plan DOES!

Our Governor has chosen NOT to allow a 1 penny tax on fuel to take effect because it’s the “wrong time to increase expenses due to the economy”, but supports a 1 penny tax on EVERYTHING you will buy in GA. for 10 years?

For a program that claims to UNTIE Atlanta region traffic when per the ARC it WON’T have any reduction on commute times – thus no effect on businesses locating to GA.? Which is why this whole adventure began…

And folks think Debbie needs to improve HER speech patterns?

Calypso June 14, 2012 at 2:34 pm

“Our Governor has chosen NOT to allow a 1 penny tax on fuel to take effect because it’s the “wrong time to increase expenses due to the economy”, but supports a 1 penny tax on EVERYTHING you will buy in GA. for 10 years? ”

My point exactly.

saltycracker June 14, 2012 at 4:40 pm

+ 1%

CobbGOPer June 15, 2012 at 10:41 am

He doesn’t want to be responsible for raising your taxes. He wants you to do it to yourself.

It’s a poorly played Jedi mind-trick.

debbie0040 June 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm

When I speak on T-SPLOST I am speaking on behalf of Atlanta Tea Party, not Tea Party Patriots and I make that clear. Sometimes people choose to ignore that.. Atlanta Tea Party did register as a ballot committee..
Three Jack, I did not step into anything. CTM completely twisted our stance.. Julianne and I are not paid for ANY of our work on behalf of the tea party. We are volunteers. You are always critical of the tea party.

rrrrr, the tax Gov. Deal decided not to increase on fuel was not 1 penny, it 8/10 of 1 %

debbie0040 June 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm

I made it clear at the event I spoke at that I was representing Atlanta Tea Party …. CTM knew that but chose to ignore it….Atlanta Tea Party and TPP are two entirely separate legal structures. TPP does not address state issues..

CTM is pretty desparate because support for T-SPLOST dropped almost 18% in one month and is rapidly losing ground with Democrats…

ted in bed June 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm

18% in on month ….. looks like folks are waking up to the facts that this is a 16+% TAX INCREASE whose projects will require massive continued funding for operations and maintenance paid for by future Georgians.

Any TSPLOST advocate that claims this tax increase is only for 10 years is a liar. There is no prohibition against this being renewed. Like all of the other SPLOST’s this is going to be a permanent tax.

Our grand-kids and their grand-kids will be paying this tax and for its resulting costs.

bgsmallz June 14, 2012 at 4:15 pm

‘Any TSPLOST advocate that claims this tax increase is only for 10 years is a liar. There is no prohibition against this being renewed. ‘

I’m sorry, but that is just dumb.

That’s like saying that a 1 year lease on an apartment isn’t really for 1 year because you might decided to renew….well, actually it’s saying that anyone that calls that lease a ’1 year lease’ is a liar.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your “Plan B”.

saltycracker June 14, 2012 at 4:45 pm

BG – not exactly – this ain’t no lease – you own the apartment – are you going to walk on it ?

Plan “B” is to go back to the drawing board until you get it right.

Not raising the fuel tax tells us DOT don’t need no stinkin’ money or was that just a silly political move so we couldn’t cry more taxes ? Raise it and spend it where we should.

ted in bed June 14, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Not exactly. When your apartment lease is up, you move AND you don’t need to continue paying for maintenance of the carpet and the operation of the oven. All these fancy roads and “transit solutions” cost money to operate and maintain.

To your point though. You can point to how the tolls on GA 400 were lifted when the bonds were paid off as promised. Oh. Sorry, that didn’t happen. GA400 is the road map for how this 1% Sales Tax will be permanent. Government will always have a nice story about why their revenue stream shouldn’t end.

As for the importance of these projects. If they are so critical why isn’t the DOT waiving their rules/regulations so these projects can be done quicker and cheaper? Why didn’t the Transportation SPLOST’s from each of the county’s cover these ‘critical needs’?

Here is the deal, the 1% will be used to INCREASE the bureaucracy and will INCREASE road building costs which in turn will reduce and likely eliminate road building anywhere else in the state. It would be cheaper for Georgia to send the road builders a billion dollars than this charade of public works projects.

Mark my words, we’ll pay more per-mile for construction of these projects than we have at anytime in our state’s history. Think Boston’s Big Dig without the clam chowder. Historians will point to this and proclaim it a bigger fraud on the citizens of Georgia than the Yazoo land scandal (which by the way was only $500K).

CobbGOPer June 15, 2012 at 4:43 pm

“Government will always have a nice story about why their revenue stream shouldn’t end.”

They won’t need a nice story. What will happen is we get to 2020, and approximately half of these projects will be finished (and the rest half-complete or not even started). They’ll start screaming “We CAN’T end the TSPLOST now, we won’t be able to maintain the completed projects or finish the started projects, and these others will never even get constructed!”

Needless to say, you know the projects that will be completed first will be the ones in Fulton and Dekalb (the transit heavy projects, right?). And with an ever increasing amount of the TSPLOST money getting used for maintenance on completed projects, the other metro counties (Cobb, Gwinnett, Henry, Douglas, Fayette, etc.) will have to take the lead on their own projects, and likely have to raise local taxes to pay for it. So they’ll end up not only paying the TSPLOST tax, they’ll end up having to pay another local tax just to get their transportation projects funded fully.

It is all a scam to implement a perpetual stream of DOT revenue, so the legislators can remove some of the current money going to DOT to use for other things. Like buying Arther Blank a new stadium.

Three Jack June 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Debbie,

If you call advocating a tax increase to oppose a different tax increase ‘not stepping in it’, then you prove my point.

As I have stated many times, I appreciate all that you and the other volunteers do on behalf of taxpayers. But you step in it when you come out strongly on a given issue or endorse candidates. You cannot separate your various rolls within the TPP, ATP or GTP…you represent them all when you speak out. I’m with you 100% in opposition to TSPLOST, but I would never offer to support a separate tax increase as a means to oppose another….maybe you need to sign a pledge or something to protect yourself from yourself.

rrrrr June 14, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Thank you for the precision, lest CTM claim inaccuracies.

As a practical matter, I rounded up on the smallest physical denomination available from my checking account…

After years of buying gas in full dollar denominations rather than gallons.

Jackster June 14, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Debbie,

I personally think it would be a great public service if ATP would compile a list of organizations, individuals, and any other entity who has contributed to the drama that is TSPLOST. They need a time out.

These folks should be in the time-out chair, and any time they make a comment… like Gov. Deal’s smug little remark about, “Look what we’re doing up there on 400″ (gag) on Fox 5 the other night … the punch line should be, “You are still in time out from your TSPLOST effort – please be quiet before you can come out”.

debbie0040 June 15, 2012 at 6:08 am

Three Jack, I support the gas tax increase only as a last resort AFTER elected officials have cut out all waste and show they act fiscally responsbile with our tax dollars . I would never support the TIA project list. Elected officials need to cut first-not tax first. There also needs to be different funding sources as well-not just taxes to pay for needed road improvements. They should not put all their eggs in one funding source basket..

http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/news/2012/jun/13/political-notebook-dooley-fires-back-on-tax-issue/
She said her organization supports a gas tax hike only if elected officials prove they can use the tax dollars wisely, there is no other option to raise money for road projects, and the increase comes only after gas prices have decreased.

#”They have run a misleading campaign from the beginning,” Dooley said of the Citizens for Transportation Mobility campaign.

Jackster, we are compiling a “Wall of Shame” for our web site that shows the elected officials and candidates that support T-SPLOST.

USA1 June 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Is it true that if the TSPLOST were to pass then gasoline purchases would not be taxed the extra penny? If so, are transit supporters aware of this fact?

debbie0040 June 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm

USA1, Transit is not taxed the 1 % either but the tax is levied on the first 5,000 of car purchases

422 (d) Any tax imposed under this article shall be at the rate of 1 percent. Except as to rate,
423 a tax imposed under this article shall correspond to the tax imposed by Article 1 of this
424 chapter. No item or transaction which is not subject to taxation under Article 1 of this
425 chapter shall be subject to a tax imposed under this article, except that a tax imposed under
426 this article shall not apply to:
427 (1) The sale or use of any type of fuel used for off-road heavy-duty equipment, off-road
428 farm or agricultural equipment, or locomotives;
429 (2) The sale or use of jet fuel to or by a qualifying airline at a qualifying airport;
430 (3) The sale or use of fuel that is used for propulsion of motor vehicles on the public
431 highways. For purposes of this paragraph, a motor vehicle means a self-propelled vehicle
432 designed for operation or required to be licensed for operation upon the public highways;
433 (4) The sale or use of energy used in the manufacturing or processing of tangible goods
434 primarily for resale; or
435 (5) For motor fuel as defined under paragraph (9) of Code Section 48-9-2 for public mass
436 transit.
437 The tax imposed pursuant to this article shall only be levied on the first $5,000.00 of any
438 transaction involving the sale or lease of a motor vehicle. The tax imposed pursuant to this
439 article shall be subject to any sales and use tax exemption which is otherwise imposed by
440 law; provided; however, that the tax levied by this article shall be applicable to the sale of
441 food and beverages as provided for in division (57)(D)(i) of Code Section 48-8-3. (emphasis added).

USA1 June 14, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Thanks. I had heard that was true but had not been able to verify it. I can’t say I’m surprised that exemptions were made. If I were a transit advocate and TSPLOST supporter I’d be upset with the fact that gas purchases were exempt.

The Insider Advantage poll is good news. Apparently they didn’t poll Chris’ “peer group”.

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 14, 2012 at 5:32 pm

“We’ll post them in that order, and then let frequent commenter Last Democrat In Georgia have a long conversation with his or her self”

Thanks for the shoutout, Charlie!

By the way, did I mention just how much I LOVE (okay, loathe) T-SPLOST?

Hey, T-SPLOST goes great when poured over HOT lanes! :)

Rick Day June 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I will vote NO on this tax that benefits road builders.

We need 21st century solutions, not more cronyism.

seekingtounderstand June 14, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Could you send a note to the world leaders meeting in Mexico next week because they plan on increasing infastructure spending big time……………
I would love TSPLOST but just can’t stand the thought of those greedy good old boys stuffing their pockets with more tax dollars………so i am voting no just from lack of trust that the money will go to help the folks sitting in traffic.

Scott65 June 14, 2012 at 6:48 pm

I have a big problem with this phrase

“The Atlanta Tea Party believes that users of roadways or mass transit should be the ones to pay for maintenance, expansion and upgrades. In other words, a consumption based tax that would only impact users of roadways. ”

Well, I don’t have kids so why do I have to pay tax for schools (take a look at your property tax bill if you don’t know that its the majority of your bill). Also, the people who send their kids to private school…why should they pay?
The reason we ALL pay is that it makes our region attractive to companies that want to relocate here, as well as many other reasons that include quality of life issues. Skilled workers wont relocate to areas with bad schools.
The same arguments can be made for transportation. Companies like to relocate where there is transit available. I’m with you on the ethics part, but the TIA has way more oversight than just giving gas tax money to the DOT (none of which is allowed to go to transit…btw)

wicker June 14, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Scott65:

“Companies like to relocate where there is transit available.” Given the choice of transit and jobs and no transit and no jobs, they’d choose the latter. Or at least they’ll keep PRETENDING that at some point the jobs will come merely by virtue of continuing to elect GOPers, who are apparently capable of spontaneously generating jobs merely by virtue of ideology.

wicker June 14, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Telecommuting and van pools. What works for Redmond, Washington (population 54,144) will work for a metropolitan area with a population of 5,268,860. Sales taxes are bad, but gasoline taxes and toll roads are good. Opposing the existing project list is good, but failing to bring up an alternative project list or a realistic method of funding it is better.

When T-SPLOST fails, no alternative will emerge. Kyle Wingfield has already put up his “We don’t need a transportation solution anyway … the traffic isn’t really that bad” column. No one on the opposing side is going to put up their own plan with a project list and a realistic funding mechanism. And everyone knows why.
1) It will include more taxes and more spending.
2) The “and it creates a bailout for a failing MARTA” coded dog whistle language points out the other barrier. Because Atlanta is centrally located, because so many people either leave the city or come into the city or pass through the city on their way to work and back, and because of of Fulton County’s unwieldy size and shape (and adding DeKalb to Fulton compounds this) you aren’t going to come up with an actual traffic solution without heavily involving – and thereby helping - the despised Atlanta and MARTA.

An OTP political leader may be able to get away with proposing something that does 1) or 2), but not both. That’s why went T-SPLOST goes splat, it will be silence from most – including Wingfield’s “traffic isn’t as bad as they say it is” stance – and toll roads/van pools from the rest.

debbie0040 June 15, 2012 at 6:21 am

wicker, how realistic that the 600 million dollars for the Atlanta Belt Line (trolley cars) will relieve traffic congestion? How about the projects that are already being funded and begun by Georgia DOT are also in the project list. Why were projects put in the TIA project list that already had funds allocated for them? If TIA passes that DOT money will be diverted to other crony projects. Stop being deceptive

The City of Atlanta should be spending money on bailing out MARTA, not helping build a billion dollar stadium for the Atlanta Falcons. The people that ride MARTA should pay for maintenance and expansion. They should have instituted fares based on length of travel long ago and raised fares. The people in Fulton and DeKalb pay the MARTA tax so they should receive rider discounts.

As far as jobs go, look at the new job announcements Gov. Deal made since October. Under 10% of the jobs created are inside the 285 perimeter or near mass transit.

Unfortunately, TIA depicts that attitude I have seen from the Legislature in the past few years- Tax first not cut first. Before voters are asked to raise taxes, all possible cuts need to be made and the government operating lean. That has not happened

GTKay June 15, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Debbie, what crony projects are talking about? Be specific. When you throw out “crony projects” and “starving seniors, single moms, and children” it makes you sound like part of the current administration-symbolism over substance.

debbie0040 June 15, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Try the Atlanta Belt Line at the tune of 600 million dollars. How is that going to relieve congestion?

Speaking of the current administration, President Obama and supporters of T-SPLOST have something in common. You both support bail-outs and both like to raise taxes.

GTKay June 16, 2012 at 8:20 am

That was one of the projects submitted and voted on by the round table – a group of very diverse individuals from all over the region. They must have seen benefits to their region in the list while not agreeing with everything on it. Their are projects on the list in all parts of the region. But that is part of a list that has not been funded yet, so what are the “other crony projects” that you’re talking about. And who are the cronies?

No, I don’t like bail outs and I don’t like to raise taxes unless necessary. And I believe the most important taxes are the local ones. Let’s send less to Washington and keep more of our tax dollars here in our own state and counties to pay for the things that impact our lives. Let Washington do the things we can’t, like defense , and let Georgians take care of the issues that specifially affect our state and local citizens. Our transportation system is underfunded, and it will hurt us in the long run.

Be careful about painting people who don’t agree with you with such a broad brush. You don’t have the market cornered on what it means to be conservative.

Jackster June 14, 2012 at 10:20 pm

The more I talk about it, the more I really do want to make MARTA something less than a punchline, but the less I want to put my faith in the DOT and a VERY complicated, convoluted, and otherwise over sold PR stunt.

I am still not quite understanding why some of these projects were not already on the table to be completed… responsible planning means you are going to do SOMETHING to deal with growth.

And there’s the issue of legal challenges – I will be taking bets on the size and scope that is the gigantic waste of money on legal challenges if this tax passes a region, but fails a county.

Big Tuna June 14, 2012 at 11:13 pm

The cronyism argument is getting so old. Farmers grow crops, plumbers fix toilets, surgeons repair injuries and road builders build roads. We happen to live in a free society, so anyone posting here is welcome to get in the game and competitively bid some road projects.

Who amongst would consult an electrician for treatment of a tumor?

Bob Loblaw June 15, 2012 at 9:48 am

Because you know, Debbie Dooley is an experienced transportation policy expert, as is Mrs. Thompson. Not only that, but she’s obviously a master of both public administration and taxation. She has a long record of success in all things government.

Not.

Why does anyone listen to these people? She can’t even get straight which TEA party she represents. There are more TEA parties than counties in GA. Would someone at least give them the Cliff’s notes on American Government?

CobbGOPer June 15, 2012 at 10:46 am

Thanks for the thoughts, Bob. Now that we’ve heard from Governor Deal’s press office about how stupid we all are because we’re not transportation, public administration, or taxation experts, does anyone else have a comment?

Or should we just shut up and vote the way your ‘experts’ would have us vote, Bob?

Go tell Brian Robinson your trolling for the day is done.

debbie0040 June 15, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Really Bob? You really want to go there do you?

I am as experienced in transportation matters as Toby Carr is and I do believe Gov. Deal appointed him as Director of Planning for the GA DOT.

Bridget June 15, 2012 at 5:58 pm

When someone can’t attack your argument, they start attacking you personally. That’s when you know you’re getting to them.

Bob Loblaw June 15, 2012 at 11:00 am

You can shut up and vote the way they are telling you to if you wish.

Bob Loblaw June 15, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Insulting Toby Carr is no way to prove you have any idea what on Earth you are talking about when, for instance, you were discussing the percentages for transit vs. road construction that “only 20% of the T-SPLOST revenues should go to transit”. Point being, where did you pull that number from?

The planning director’s job is to take the available capital investment type projects to the Governor for his or her selection to submit the list to the General Assembly in the annual budget. In other words, the folks at DOT, using data-driven criteria codified in SB 200 in 2009 (were you around politics then or still on the couch?) give the planning director the lists and the Governor makes the call. The planning director needs to be someone the Governor trusts. Toby apparently has earned that trust and also has a resume chock-full of state and federal positions and the job of Executive Director of the GA GOP that have prepared him for that role.

Unlike you.

debbie0040 June 15, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Can you please elaborate on Toby’s resume chock-full of state and federal positions that would have prepared him for such a high level job in the GA DOT? I would like to learn more. Can you educate me?

debbie0040 June 15, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Toby is a political crony. He is a very nice guy but he is a political crony. YOU are the one that started the insults. I did not insult Toby, either. I just pointed out facts.

I have been active in politics since 1976 before you were born. 2009 was the year the tea party movement was started and I was one of 22 on that first call to plan the first round of tea parties in the U.S. and in September of 2009, I spoke at and help organize the 9-12 March on D.C. that drew almost 2 million people to D.C.

I know as much about transportation as Toby does . I probably know more because I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night… :) I consider it a badge of honor that I have not earned Gov. Deal’s “trust”.

I was wrong about the 20% number for mass transit. It should be more like 5 % maximum because that is the percentage of commuters that ride mass transit..

I will provide you links of material we use . Ever heard of Georgia Public Policy Foundation? Read the articles below ad see what they have to say. I guess they are uneducated as well… As well as Reason Foundation and other experts.

Benita M. Dodd: TSPLOST – Is it about mobility? Or about money?

http://mdjonline.com/view/full_story/18268051/article-Benita-M–Dodd–TSPLOST—Is-it-about-mobility-%E2%80%88Or-about-money-?instance=secondary_story_left_column

http://www.gppf.org/article.asp?RT=16&p=pub/Transportation/120608Transport.html

Some of our reasons we oppose it

Of 3.2 billion dollars allocated for transit, roughly 768 million is going for operations and maintenance during the ten year period of T-SPLOST. Where is the money coming from for maintenance and operations after the 10 year period? The pro T-SPLOST crowd has stated that the tax can be renewed by voters. T-SPLOST is a tax trap that voters will be asked to renew every 10 years. MARTA Chief Executive Beverly Scott warned in September of 2011 that even if T-SPLOST passes, MARTA will still face 2.3 billion dollars in unfunded maintenance needs over the next decade. MARTA has lost 500 million dollars every year for the past few years and is very heavily tax-payer subsidized. T-SPLOST will greatly expand MARTA.

Violates Home Rule – Counties can vote the T-SPLOST down but if the tax passes the collective vote of the counties in the region, your county will be forced to pay the tax. Counties that had already voted no to MARTA years ago will see an expansion of MARTA /mass transit into their counties.

Inequitable Funding Distribution – Atlanta is a jobs center and should receive a higher percentage of funding distribution per population than other counties but not the large percentage they are receiving under T-SPLOST. According to Baruch Feigenbaum of Georgia Public Policy Foundation, Atlanta should receive 8 -10 % more than their population because of them being a jobs center and other counties should receive 1 -1.6% less. Atlanta receives 268% of the T-SPLOST project funding per population.

Project list includes 52% for mass transit related projects-yet only 3.5 – 5% commuters use mass transit. In MARTA’s 2011 Comprehensive Report, they show that although population has surged in the 10 County Metro Areas, ridership has declined 7% for trains and 23% for buses.

In a November 21, 2011 opinion article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a former member of the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission – Wendell Cox, wrote “A recent Brookings Institution report highlights the scarcity of competitive service. Only 3.4 percent of metropolitan area jobs can be reached by transit in 45 minutes by the average employee. Even the most effective transit systems — New York, San Francisco and Boston — provide access to only around 10 percent of jobs. And, unless transit agencies are permitted to print money, there never will be enough to do much more.” He also stated, “Atlanta is one of only four major metropolitan areas with a one-way work trip travel time of more than 30 minutes. This is primarily the result of metro Atlanta’s less-than-robust freeway system and a low-capacity arterial street system. If Atlanta is to become more competitive, it will be necessary to speed up car travel.”

“Proponents are campaigning hard. Unfortunately, the plan barely translates into improved regional mobility. Operating in an if-you-build-it-they-will-come fugue, regional leaders allocate more than half the expected funds to expensive transit projects, most of which would not offer congestion relief within 10 years, if ever. ”
— Benita Dodd, VP, The Georgia Public Policy Foundation

Reason Foundation released a report in 2003 titled “Density in Atlanta: Implications for Traffic and Transit”. This report analyzed the commute patterns and mass transit in the Metro Atlanta area compared to other regions. The report found that the population density needed to effectively support mass transit expansion in Atlanta is 7800 per square mile. According to the latest estimates, Atlanta only has 4105 population density per square mile. The metro Atlanta area is too spread out for ridership in mass transit to increase enough to be self-supporting and not reliant on tax-payers to subsidize it.

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 16, 2012 at 1:20 am

“The metro Atlanta area is too spread out for ridership in mass transit to increase enough to be self-supporting and not reliant on tax-payers to subsidize it.”

Although the Atlanta Region on its face appears to be too spread out to support transit, it is the seemingly actively politically-encouraged willful lack of investment in the less-that-robust freeway system and the disjointed and discombobulated low-capacity street and surface road network that Benita Dodd and the GPPF cites that has kept transit alive as an option in the road-infrastructure and transportation mobility-challenged Atlanta Region.

I wholeheartedly agree with you that this half-hearted, poorly thought-out and shameless base money grab commonly known as T-SPLOST is the absolute wrong way to go about making these much-needed and long-overdue investments in our very-much lagging, increasingly outdated and almost obsolete transportation infrastructure.

But short of any much-needed and truly massive but almost politically-impossible investments in our once-cutting edge but now increasingly outdated freeway network, transit (preferably self-funded) will always remain and will always have to be a required transportation option as the Atlanta Region just absolutely does not have anywhere near the adequate road capacity to handle the traffic that it is currently handling and, even worse, what it is projected to handle in the future.

Take I-85 Northeast out your way as an example. I-85 Northeast between I-285 and the Hwy 316 split handles over 300,000 vehicles daily and even though the road was just recently modified between Pleasant Hill Rd and Old Peachtree Road to handle the heavy evening rush hour traffic outflow and the “merging madness” from 316 Westbound to 85 Southbound during the morning rush hour with the reconstruction of the I-85/316 Junction, traffic on I-85 Southbound still severely bottlenecks during morning rush hours where the 10 lanes of reconstructed I-85 SB reduces down to only 6-7 lanes south of Steve Reynolds.

I don’t see any proposals to help increase the capacity of I-85 SB between Steve Reynolds and I-285 by adding lanes to that often tortured stretch of I-85. Instead, the state actually made things WORSE with their idiotic HOT lane experiment by pushing all of the two-person carpools out of the HOV-2 lanes and converting them to HOT/HOV-3 lanes. On top of that, they actually had the audacity to proudly BRAG and (briefly) boast about what a major accomplishment they had just pulled-off in making things much worse, that is before they fully realized the extent of public anger and dissatisfaction with the even bigger mess that they had created.

And even in the seemingly unlikely event that GDOT was to propose doing something that was actually helpful, like ADDING lanes to I-85 in the form of a two-way 4-lane or reversible 2-3 lane roadway that is elevated over the I-85 right-of-way or even adding a complete upper-deck that was elevated over the existing roadway, they would likely be disdainfully ridiculed, intimidated, bullied and shouted down in utter contempt by a coalition of the left-wing media (the AJC and company) and anti-road greenies and environmentalists and the anti-infrastructure factions who have a political and social agenda to fulfill in seeing Metro Atlanta literally choke to death on its own severe traffic congestion and increasingly wholly inadequate transportation infrastructure.

seekingtounderstand June 15, 2012 at 9:38 pm

The best thing that could ever happen to Atlanta is to close Marta. Why is there not a diversity requirement for employee’s if they receive any government money. The Marta Headquarters has zero diversity. Do we not have laws to protect us against this?

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 16, 2012 at 2:00 am

“The best thing that could ever happen to Atlanta is to close Marta.”

I agree that MARTA is horrifically mismanaged, but closing down MARTA and potentially flooding an already almost completely rush hour-gridlocked and virtually impassable Downtown Connector with roughly about 100,000 more cars would NOT be a good thing.

As to the reason why MARTA may not be all that diverse, as well as the continuing black domination of the government of the City of Atlanta (and Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties) government is as a result of the white-flight out of the City of Atlanta during the 1950′s, ’60′s and 70′s (and later South Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties) to the suburbs and exurbs.

On top of that, one can just see whites tripping over themselves to drive buses for MARTA through predominantly black areas in Fulton and DeKalb counties, not to mention the political upheaveal that would ensue as a result of attempting to pass a law attempting to force MARTA to hire more whites into management and staff.

If the state really thought that lack of diversity and poor management were all that pressing of an issue then maybe the state should go in and takeover and run MARTA themselves and iron out those issues for the better.

But then again, how can the State of Georgia ever be realistically expected to turn around and competently run and nurse MARTA back to bureaucratic and operational health when they have actively and gainfully ran their own GDOT completely into the ground?

Keep-in-mind that we are talking about the same State of Georgia who has taken GDOT, which was once one of the most highly-regarded state roadbuilding and maintenance agencies in the country, and proceeded to gleefully into a complete laughingstock and just a mere incompetent shell of its former glorious self.

debbie0040 June 16, 2012 at 7:22 am

MARTA should get their fiscal house in order before they ask tax-payers for more money to bailout the financial mis-mangement that has gone on in past years and to expand it further. For starters, they should institute distance based fares and down sizethe bloated staff they have. The tax-payer money Mayor Reed is using to help build a billion dollar stadium for the Falcons should have gone to help MARTA. The 20 million dollars that went to Go Fish should have went toward road improvements and the list goes on and on.

Gov. Perdue and the legislature should have cut, cut, cut to find money for transportation improvements before they passed the TIA monster that asked tax-payers to raise taxes. They decided to ask tax-payers to tax. tax. tax instead to raise needed funds for transportation improvements.

TIA violates Republican principles :

Takes away local control and cedes it to a regional entity and creates another layer of government. I thought the GOP believed in local control and less government.

We have enough taxing authorities already – yet TIA creates another one that many feel is un-Constitutional

Punishes counties that don’t pass the tax and re-distributes the wealth (transportation tax dollars)

It is taxation without representation. Voters in counties can vote the tax down but if it passes the collective vote of the region-voters in counties that turned the tax down are forced to pay the tax. Can anyone say King George ?

I encourage elected officials that voted for TIA to come out and oppose it now. To quote Gov. Jindal – It is never too late to do the right thing.

Whenever I hear this song from the disco era, I think of elected officials that support T-SPLOST. Instead of cutting, they are asking for More, More, More of your tax dollars.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTsTIS-8III

Scott65 June 16, 2012 at 11:35 am

I miss disco…lol

Scott65 June 16, 2012 at 11:38 am

Here’s another disco era song for you…SHAME (Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxNqRFBqWzU

Scott65 June 16, 2012 at 11:44 am

one more…couldnt resist…Love Train, O’ Jays
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9w6p4gYHd-E

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Not only are you indeed very much correct Ms. Dooley about all of the numerous shortcomings of this T-SPLOST, but there are much better and much more effective ways than this lazy, uninspired, half-hearted, half-a**ery better known as T-SPLOST to fund critically-needed transportation improvements and upgrades.

Other ways such as the utilization of distance-based user fees in the form of tolls on major roads and an increased fare-structure that could actually help pay for the costs of constructing, operating, maintaining, SECURING and expanding mass transit infrastructure like MARTA and other transit systems.

…The more one uses the roads or the transit lines, the more one should pay. If one does not use a given transportation infrastructure, like a major road, an expressway or a rail or bus transit line they should not have to pay for it!

Public-private partnerships, like the kind that the state was originally going to use to finance a huge chunk (up to $300 million) of the cost of construction and continued operation and maintenance of the I-75/I-575 NW HOT Lanes before cancelling that method of finance back in December, can also be used to finance a substantial chunk of the cost construction of implementation and continued upkeep of transit lines and would work much better to finance transit infrastructure than road infrastructure.

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 16, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Increasing the state’s gas tax in Georgia should only be an option if all in-state drivers and in-state vehicles are totally exempted from the increase, thereby effecting a gas tax increase only on out-of-state drivers and vehicles.

Exempting in-state drivers and vehicles from a gas tax increase would effectively target the out-of-state users who increase the maintenance costs for in-state taxpayers, like the heavy freight trucks that inflict the most wear-and-tear on our roads or the out-of-state tourists and vacationers who clog up our already maxed-out and overcapacity roads with ridiculously-massive amounts of interstate traffic enroute to-and-from Florida and the Gulf Coast during vacation and holiday periods.

While being exempted from the gas tax which would only be levied on out-of-state road users, in-state (and out-of-state) drivers could do their part to more effectively finance the cost of critically-needed road infrastructure with distance-based user fees on existing major roads and tolls on all new expressway lanes.

Transit users could more effectively finance the cost of much-needed transit infrastructure with user-fees in the form of the distance-based and zone-based fare structure that you speak of.

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm

“The tax-payer money Mayor Reed is using to help build a billion dollar stadium for the Falcons should have gone to help MARTA.”

It’s not just Mayor Reed that is using the Hotel-Motel Tax to help finance the construction of a new billion-dollar stadium for the Falcons, but it is also the state as it is the state legislature that quietly extended the Hotel-Motel Tax two years ago…Two years before anyone even noticed…As it is politicians of all stripes, black, white, left, right, Democrat and Republican, that see sporting events in a technologically cutting-edge new football stadium as a birthright in a luxurious clubhouse that they think that they are completely entitled to, on our behalf and on our dime, of course.

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 16, 2012 at 1:43 pm

“The 20 million dollars that went to Go Fish should have went toward road improvements and the list goes on and on.”

That $20 million that went to build fishing ramps in the middle of this state’s most severe drought, EVER, as part of Sonny Perdue’s idiotic and, quite frankly, disgustingly sick and completely twisted “Go Fish” initiative should have probably gone to build a network of man-made reservoirs for water supply (and maybe flood control) given that Metro Atlanta nearly ran out of water a few years ago and continues to have intensely-severe water supply concerns.

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 16, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Sonny Perdue = Disasterous idiot and one of this state’s absolute worst-ever governors.

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 16, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Sorry, did I say that out loud?

Scott65 June 16, 2012 at 11:17 am

First off…we seem to be throwing around these numbers coming from Benita Dodd which use GLARINGLY wrong numbers to make totally bogus premises. If you guys want me to go back and rehash this I can. It will take me some time to go back and find all of it.
However, I believe everyones opininion here is valueable and hyperbole towards anyone isnt particularly helpful. Debby…the beltline will aid congestion because it will take people that live ITP off the roads to make simple trips (to the store to doctors appts, etc) which relieves congestion for those who come here to work or pass through here to get to work. It will also make MARTA more attractive to suburban people because they will be able to get closer to where they actually work in several cases. Is it perfect, no. I would have liked to see a Cumberland-Perimeter Center leg as that would serve a more densely populated area. As for ridership. The 2010 census puts the ridership number for MARTA at 11.7%. This does not include CCT, only MARTA. That translates to 400,000 trips during the M-F work week. If you allow cuts in service that will happen if this goes down…these people will most likely take to their cars and things get worse. 2% cut is 8,000 trips PER DAY. So, as you see, that would make things much worse. The 50/50 rule is why the future maintenace numbers you site are what they are. This is a stupid rule that is only applied to MARTA, in fact no other major transit agency in the country suffers under such a rule. As for tax oversight…theres a hell of a lot more built into the TIA than if the money goes to the DOT. I agree there has been gross mismanagement in the past at MARTA and the DOT…I would also say that MARTA has really cleaned up its act (its had to due to constant scrutiny)…I cant say the same for the DOT (only because I dont have particular knowledge to back it up one way or another). None of us are professional city planners (that I know of)…which is why the legislature punting this to a vote IMO was shirking their responsibility to appropriate funds (thats their job believe it on not). Less go fish, horse parks, and other Sonny Do projects would have helped us. I will go dig up links to the stuff I just posted if requested…but its a beautiful day and I’m going to spend some time enjoying it.

Scott65 June 16, 2012 at 11:32 am

Ridership numbers (actually 470,000)
http://www.apta.com/resources/statistics/Documents/Ridership/2011-q3-ridership-APTA.pdf

Benita Dodds 5% number
…as for this 5% of commuters use transit. Its wrong. It comes from a “free market” anti-transit “think tank” so its fair to say they have an agenda and show bias. They actually show nowhere how they came to that #. The real number is close to 11.43%.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._cities_with_high_transit_ridership

I also think BRT should be an option in lots of places before rail…That is REAL BRT not what we tend to think it is… this is BRT if you care to check it out

My guess is that most people posting here dont really know what BRT actually is. Here is a link that really explains it well.

http://vimeo.com/19806003
Ok, think thats all of it but sure someone will correct me (justified or not)… get outside now and get some sunshine!!! (a good source of Vitamin D…lol) but wear sunscreen!

Harry June 16, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I’m questioning the denominator of the 11.43%, and maybe also the numerator.

Scott65 June 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm

you can question all you want but its a fact, and is backed up with facts that are cited. You can question that the earth isn’t flat, or that the sun orbits earth…but you’d still be wrong. There is a difference to questioning and discounting because it doesn’t fit your point of view

Harry June 18, 2012 at 11:38 am

Wikipedia said it, you believe it, that settles it.

debbie0040 June 16, 2012 at 2:33 pm

According to MARTA’s 2011 Annual report rider ship had declined. Page 38

http://www.itsmarta.com/uploadedFiles/About_MARTA/Reports/PAFR_2011 final.pdf

I went to an event this morning that the Fultcon County Taxpayers Foundation organized . There were Democrats there that are as passionate in their opposition to T-SPLOST as conservatives are. Many said they were going door to door asking their neighbors to vote no.

The Belt Line is a bailout for developers and it is a big stretch to say it relieves traffic congestion and it is not true.

Scott65 June 17, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Debbie, have you taken the beltline tour? I really think you should. I think it might change your mind

debbie0040 June 17, 2012 at 9:43 am

Scott65, the 11.43% you quoted is questionable. I have seen other organizations throw out 3.5 – 5% rider ship. I can pull those numbers and post them if you wish.

Let’s say the 11.43% ridership number you throw out is correct, then why is 52% of the regional project list dedicated to mass transit and not 11 -12 % ?

According to a report Reason Foundation released a few years ago, Atlanta does not have the density to support an expansion of mass transit. Are their figures wrong as well?

The only way Atlanta would have the required density is to agressively pursue Agenda 21 goals of having Sustainable Development and Smart Growth by having land use policies that discourage growth in the suburbs and encourage everyone to move back into urban areas where people live, shop, work and play in the same area and use mass transit.

Does Gov. Deal support the goals of Agenda 21 now?

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 17, 2012 at 12:39 pm

“The only way Atlanta would have the required density is to agressively pursue Agenda 21 goals of having Sustainable Development and Smart Growth by having land use policies that discourage growth in the suburbs and encourage everyone to move back into urban areas where people live, shop, work and play in the same area and use mass transit.”

Ms. Dooley, not all growth in the suburbs is exclusively automobile-oriented development or “sprawl” as many like to refer to it, but far from it.

There are many suburban Atlanta cities and towns that are actively redeveloping their historic downtowns to feature much more walkable, transit-friendly mixed-use residential and light-commercial development (like where people and families often lived over shops and businesses in the pre-World War II era) around the sites of future regional commuter rail stations, including the seat of government of your county, Lawrenceville, which is in the midst of a successful and increasingly popular revitalization of its compact historic downtown.

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 17, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Other suburban railroad towns in the Atlanta Region like Norcross, Duluth, Suwanee, Buford, Smyrna, Woodstock, Vinings are in the midst of successful long-term revitalizations of their historic downtowns that include active plans to develop around future commuter rail station sites.

While other suburban and exurban railroad towns like Kennesaw, Acworth, Canton and Oakwood, amongst others, are in the very early stages of planned revitalizations of their historic downtowns with active plans for future regional commuter stations on the existing railroad tracks that run directly through the center of their cities to be the anchors for all of their future commercial and residential development.

Scott65 June 17, 2012 at 12:54 pm

It declined because the sales tax revenue from Dekalb/Atlanta/Fulton declined. Just so you know, I work from home so this isn’t going to bother me one way on another. The only business trip I make is to Kennesaw once a month to a supplier and I can go anytime during business hours. I will also say that I should have more of a stake in this than anyone who posts because if this goes through there will be a tunnel 50 ft under the end of my property that will accomodate the MARTA train to Emory. It would be easy for me to say not in my back yard (literally), but I believe the region needs a vast majority of these projects (beltline included) if it is going to be competitive in the future…so sue me but I disagree when I should have every reason to agree (it would be the easier option here)…guess you didn’t like my music choice above…oh well tried to lighten it up

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 17, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Ms. Dooley, I would also be very careful not to discount the positive effects that a strong and well thought-out transit option can have on severe traffic congestion, especially in a major population center like the Atlanta Region in which a very-large amount of automobile traffic is dependent upon a very-limited road network.

I would also especially be careful not to advocate for a strictly roads-only approach to our transportation challenges, for even though Atlanta is unquestionably an automobile-dominated region by far, unlike in a car-crazed major city in other Sunbelt states like Texas (Houston, Dallas), Florida or even North Carolina, there is not necessarily an abundant amount of political support from the public at-large to modify our undersized and increasingly capacity-challenged road network to make more accommodating to the very-heavy amount of automobile traffic as witnessed by past anti-road rebellions like the Intown Atlanta Freeway Revolts of the 1960′s and ’70′s and recent public political backlashes on a wider scale against proposals like the Outer Perimeter/Northern Arc, the original incarnation of the I-75/I-575 NW HOT Lanes project which called for I-75 NW to be widened to as many as 25 lanes in width outside I-285 (a proposal which ironically was not received all that well in traditionally rail transit-adverse Cobb County), the attempted resurrection of the Northern Arc in 2007 which included a proposal to route the project even farther to the north away from Atlanta than the original route which has since been filled in with residential development, a proposal to relieve the gridlocked Downtown Connector with freeway tunnels through historic neighborhoods in Intown Atlanta, the I-85 HOT Lanes of course and the building political backlash against the current T-SPLOST which funds more road projects than rail projects by what is roughly a 67%-33% margin when the 15% of the tax revenues that local governments will have sole control over is figured in.

Despite Atlanta being an automobile-dominated town, road construction-heavy transportation proposals still don’t seem to go over all that well with the public out of an increasingly deep mistrust of government and a healthy suspicion that most, if not all, road projects are just to create more overdevelopment that the road network cannot handle to great benefit of land speculators, real estate developers and unethical politicians and at great expense to the public in terms of tax revenues and an even further compromised quality-of-life.

…Just look at the post-suburban cesspools that parts of once-exurban Cobb and Gwinnett counties have turned into after entirely too much commercial and residential overdevelopment…Which is proof of why many conservative suburban and exurban voters hate roads almost just as much as they hate rail transit.

debbie0040 June 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm

We are not advocating for only a roads based approach but before the current mass transit infrastructure is expanded, it should be bought solvent without tax-payer bailouts.. The people that use and businesses that benefit from expanded mass transit should be the ones that pay for expansion using a re-vamped fare strucuture and public/private partnerships.

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 17, 2012 at 3:15 pm

“We are not advocating for only a roads based approach but before the current mass transit infrastructure is expanded, it should be bought solvent without tax-payer bailouts.”

I completely agree that transit, along with virtually all roads, should be brought to solvency and made financially self-sufficient without taxpayer bailouts through the utilization of distance-based user fees.

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 17, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Public-private partnerships, while not necessarily all that compatible for use on road upgrades, are, along with the utilization of Tax Increment Financing (property tax revenues from future development that pops along transit lines) and user fees in the form of adequately higher-priced distance-based fares, an excellent way to finance upgrades to and expansions of transit corridors as the private partner often provides a very-large chunk of the financing (up to at least one-third) of the cost of initial construction and continuing operation and maintenance cost of the project over the lifespan of a particular transit infrastructure.

as was demonstrated when Governor Deal cancelled the I-75/I-575 HOT Lane project as a P3 (public-private partnership) due to the non-compete clause of the contract with the partnering private company that would have inflicted huge financial penalties upon an already cash-strapped state government for making improvements to parallel transportation infrastructures like Hwy 41 Cobb Parkway and the CSX-Western & Atlantic railroad line to supplement improvements to I-75/I-575.

Scott65 June 18, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Also…take a look at Park Atlanta…not such a good idea in retrospect

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Ms. Dooley, given the irony of the rather substantial political difficulty that road expansion proposals often seem to encounter in this region, despite Atlanta being an exceptionally automobile-dominated and road infrastructure-challenged metro area, maybe it might be a good idea for your organization to make self-funded and self-sufficient transit infrastructure, along with self-funded and self-sufficient road infrastructure, one of the centerpieces of your political agenda.

Scott65 June 18, 2012 at 2:23 pm

The problem with public infrastructure being “solvent” is that it is an investment…not a bought and sold product, so it will never be “solvent” in the terms you use. Infrastructure is paid for in several tangible and intangible ways. Other than user fees, you need to count added development in areas where transit goes in (doesn’t happen everywhere but does happen). This increases the tax base thus increases revenue that is generated because of transit. Reduced congestion means cleaner air (intangible). Also, if people drive less they spend less on car repairs and maintenance. Quality of life for people who chose not (or cant currently afford) a car. Atlanta pioneered rail transit and was looked upon as a visionary when the original rail was built. Look at cities like the DC Metro which started at the same time and how far its come. We lost that vision for several reasons…mismanagement (by MARTA AND the State), racism, and an association with poverty that transit in Atlanta bares (I’ve not seen that strong association in Charlotte, Dallas or Houston). Speaking of those cities, as TLDIG said, other road centric cities like the above mentioned have built roads massively, but the congestion is as bad or worse. If you build more/wider roads, more people will use them and you end up back where you started. Road building is not a long term solution. These cities are now making massive investments in HRT, LRT which do take cars off the road if built in areas where density or future density warrants. The rail projects on the list are definitely needed. You can complain about the Beltway, but it is much more than transit. It is visionary. A new way to look at how transit is done…and I might add mostly done with the aid of the private sector. There is already massive development in the corridor in anticipation. What you might call development bail outs…others might call jobs…and people with jobs pay taxes

The Last Democrat in Georgia June 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Actually, Dallas, in particular, has taken a very heavy multimodal approach to investing in its transportation infrastructure as, in addition to having six toll roads and an expanding network of managed lanes, Dallas also has roughly 130 miles of rail transit (light rail and commuter rail on existing freight rail tracks) compared to Atlanta’s 48 miles of rail transit which has not been expanded since the turn-of-the-century.

That 130 miles of rail transit also includes the more than 30-mile long, 10-station Trinity Railway Express regional commuter rail line that carries roughly 10,000 passengers per day and serves as a much-needed reliever line to severely-congested parallel east-west freeways Interstate 30/Tom Landry Freeway and Texas Highway 183/Airport Freeway between Dallas and Fort Worth.

CobbGOPer June 18, 2012 at 3:26 pm

I have a very simple solution to the traffic problem: I’m waiting for Google to send me my self-driving car.

Then, I won’t care if traffic is backed up to Dahlonega. I’ll be in the back-seat sipping coffee and reading the news on my laptop. Or getting a start on my work for the day. Or getting an extra 45 minutes of sleep. Or lots of other things you can’t do on MARTA.

I can therefore vote against T-SPLOST with a clear conscience.

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