Mike had an
misguided confused one sided article in the Daily about Tim Lee’s efforts to place a Bus Rapid Transit Project on the county’s upcoming SPLOST list for vote in November. I’m not sure who wrote it, as there is no byline, but they could use a little help.
First, lets talk about transit. It’s not just for poor people. Look at DC, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, and New York. Everybody uses transit in each of those cities. It cuts across economic boundaries.
I’ve been on the DC metro with Admirals and petty officers, tourists (the fanny packs are the giveaway) and DC natives, students and the homeless. Everybody rides the Metro because it will almost always be faster than a car and it’s far cheaper than a Taxi or an Uber.
When you have a robust transit network, it’s quite efficient at moving people around. Congestion will always exist with roads. That’s if you add more or even take some away. We can look to Seoul, South Korea and see that congestion levels remained the similar before and after the removal of the central highway (Imagine removing the Downtown Connector from Atlanta). What did they replace it with? An incredibly efficient and increasingly desirable Bus Rapid Transit System.
Or let’s look a little closer to home for BRT at the Mistake by the Lake, Cleveland. (I’m sure many Georgia GOPers will enjoy utilizing this line at the Republican National Convention.) After 30 years of economic decline, they spent about $50 million on a 9.8 mile BRT line. That BRT line resulted in roughly $5 billion, yes that is supposed to be a “b,” in private investment along the route. It increased real estate values, brought new jobs and helped to revitalize a midtown that had been dying a slow death since the 1950’s. It also attracted people to move to the city, increasing its tax base.
As for the argument that there is always tax money going to sustain transit systems, that is true of roads as well. Look at the looming problems with the Highway Trust Fund because the gas tax has had diminishing returns in an environment where people are driving more fuel efficient cars and driving them less. If you look at MAP-21 (the last authorization bill) or the recent proposed stopgap, the funding for roads is coming from a variety of sources not related to a simple user fee.
I for one look forward to a BRT that attracts economic development to that area. Hopefully it will help alleviate some of the traffic congestion that will come from the new Braves Stadium complex. BRT has been great for Seoul, Bogata, Curitiba, Cleveland and many others. We’re going to need it in Cobb.
As a Cobb County Voter, I look forward to voting for a TSPLOST that includes a BRT. I also look forward to voting for Tim Lee again, as I have twice before.