Ga.’s lip service to mass transit is exactly that

Dallas transit

With 90 miles of light rail, Dallas Area Rapid Transit is now the largest light-rail operator in the country. It also operates commuter rail and streetcar lines in addition to buses.

The support that Georgia’s elected leadership has so thoughtfully and bravely extended to transit expansion in recent months has turned out to be mere lip service.

Lip service accomplishes nothing. Even worse, it offers the illusion of progress without the reality of progress. And meanwhile, time passes. Competing regions — Dallas, Denver, Charlotte, Nashville — are laying rail and buying right of way and expanding transit networks, rearranging their transportation infrastructure to prepare themselves for a changing world, while we talk about talking about it.

The future has a funny way of happening whether you are prepared to take advantage of it or not. A region trapped in the obsessions of its past will not be prepared, but that seems to be our fate.

As you may recall, the 2016 legislative session began with House Speaker David Ralston seemingly embracing transit’s role in the future of this region, acknowledging that “major companies who seek out our state want reliable public transit options in metro Atlanta.” Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle likewise admitted what a few years ago would not have been said, that it’s a necessity to “improve and expand rail transit networks like MARTA.” Even MARTA’s new leadership was lauded by legislators of both parties for its success in cutting costs and improving efficiency.

But forgive me if I am less than impressed. Excuse me for noticing that vague and theoretical support for transit has had exactly the same effect as previous outright opposition. With the legislative session now in its waning days, what has been accomplished?

Nothing. No money to expand transit. No mechanism by which money to expand transit might be raised. No plan to create a mechanism to obtain the money to expand transit. The effective difference between past opposition to MARTA expansion and the current supposed support has turned out to be … nothing.

In their defense, Ralston, Cagle and others have suggested all along that they would follow local leadership on the issue, but local leadership has predictably faltered, squabbling among themselves. That’s because this is not a local problem. This is not a north Fulton or City of Atlanta or DeKalb County problem. It is not a Cobb or Gwinnett problem. It is a metro Atlanta problem, and in the absence of a decision-making entity at the regional level, the state is the only authority capable of taking action at the scale that it needs to happen.

But lip service is all we get. Nothing happened back when MARTA was everybody’s favorite whipping boy; nothing happens now.

In their frustration, MARTA proponents in Atlanta and DeKalb are proposing smaller-scale transit funding, without the need for regional partners. That’s regrettable, because it would make a later, regional approach more complicated to implement and integrate. But it is also understandable. They don’t want to wait for other jurisdictions to acknowledge that their increasingly urban nature will require urban-style services. From their perspective, piecemeal funding options and piecemeal expansion are better than no new funding or expansion.

I get that. But it’s still a heckuva way not to run a regional railroad.

Reader Comments 0

408 comments
anniesongs
anniesongs

I live near the 75 -285 interchange where I'm building a little playground for rich players and their rich puppeteers with my taxes. The only way you can get to the new playground is by car. On a good day traffic at this interchange is abysmal. On most days it's ....also abysmal. I can't wait for the game days. I Will sit at home and wait for the news stories of people not making it to the games on time and not being able to park and being stuck in traffic for hours. And then, because it's Georgia, there will be frequent gun battles on the roads. All at this intersection where the playground sits. With no rail way to connect it to the rest of the region.

C_Casselberry
C_Casselberry

Love that high quality I-75 every time I drive into Georgia from Tennessee. Great way to show the rest of the country the results of the "low tax business paradise".

C_Casselberry
C_Casselberry

Georgia is a "low tax business paradise". I know it's true. I've heard the republican clowns say it. Meanwhile, they strangle Atlanta with crap roads, no metro transit and bigoted legislation. Atlanta is the straw that stirs the drink of Georgia prosperity. It's being killed by small minded people with no vision. 

mnt
mnt

MARTA's Plan B is far from regrettable. As an Atlantan and frequent MARTA rider I've long hoped to see investments in more transit inside the city, which is where we need it most. I have never been to Alpharetta in a car and I don't care whether I can ride there on the train, either. Everything I want to do is in the city. If the suburbs are still too short-sighted to vote in favor of MARTA, let them sit in traffic. Meanwhile we can get to work building a light rail line around the Beltline.

NWGAL
NWGAL

The good old boys want to take back their country. To 1950 forever.

hamiltonAZ
hamiltonAZ

Hope they'll be okay with the top tier tax brackets of 59-61.

President Skut Farkus a/k/a Drumpf will not like that. He'll be too busy rounding up his enemies and getting somebody to "punch them in the face"

xxxzzz
xxxzzz

Dallas actually is known for its city/suburban fights, but its leaders got together and built that network that you showed above.  And all of it has been built in the last 20 years.  Atlanta, on the other hand, has Mayor "my way or the highway" Reed and similar leaders in the suburbs stifling progress.  One REAL problem here is that leaders figure out how much money they can raise and then try to decide what to build.  In other places, they come up with a vision, figure out what it costs, and then try to sell that vision.  Again, a failure of leadership here.

SylvanHi86
SylvanHi86

Not a Reed problem... Lack of state support/leadership is the problem. DART is state run/funded. For that matter, EVERY mass transit system in this country is state funded... with the exception of MARTA.

xxxzzz
xxxzzz

@SylvanHi86 DART is locally run and funded.  State contributions are minimal.  The last is a lie the MARTA people keep telling to hide their own incompetence with the money they have had.

xxxzzz
xxxzzz

@SylvanHi86 Looking at their 2016 budget, DART gets $516 million sales tax, $135 million operating revenue, $6 million interest, $167 million grants and $70 million other for their $895 million.  The grants only appear to include $10 million in state funds-under an air quality program, while it includes $73 million in federal formula funds and the rest of the $84 million in grants appears to be federal discretionary funds (supporting expansions, bus purchases, etc.).

xxxzzz
xxxzzz

The state hasn't done much of anything for transportation in the last quarter century.  400 got completed and they've done very little since, for roads or transit.  After another 2 million people moved here, they are finally starting to wake up.  But very slowly, as if they just transitioned to Daylight Savings Time.

RantNRave
RantNRave

"Shall we start compiling a list of Stuff Right Wingers Do and/or Say that are the moral equivalent of flipping someone off?"


@Visual Cortex


1.......N!gger

2.......Go back to Africa

3.......Get a job

4.......You're lazy

5.......Sub human mongrel

6.......Monkey

7.......Boy

8.......Girl

9.......Ghetto

10......Ape

11......Thug


And many more !




Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Shall we start compiling a list of Stuff Right Wingers Do and/or Say that are the moral equivalent of flipping someone off?

I'd like to know when it's (apparently) ok to punch one of them in the face, and it'd help to have our stories straight when we solicit defense attorney funding, later.

honested
honested

Well, we can only hope that SOME PROGRESS was made today on appropriate funding for rapid transit in our region.


Otherwise we will continue to vie with Alabama and Mississippi for last place!

EliasDenny
EliasDenny

@honested Alabama has already moved past us and I'm not sure about Miss. Look at all the new industry that has moved into the other southeastern states and tell me that we are ahead. 

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

That protester deserved what he got. When you cuss the crowd, flip the crowd off then expect to be punched. 


'Cause that whole 'turn the other cheek' thing is so hard...


td1234
td1234

@CherokeeCounty Turn the other cheek and bowing down to evil are two totally different matters. 

honested
honested

@td1234 @CherokeeCounty 

Define how allowing someone to speak at an open event in the United States is in any way equivalent to 'bowing down to evil'?

You don't get your own private reality in a country this big!

JamVet
JamVet

No wonder the factually challenged, low info types here support him...


Trump Averages 'One Misstatement Every 5 Minutes'

In a fact-check analysis of the GOP presidential front-runner's statements from a rally in Concord, N.C., last Monday to a rally in St. Louis on Friday, there were more than five dozen statements that were either mischaracterizations, exaggerations or false, Politico reports.

The outright-wrong claims included that the United States has a "$500 billion a year trade deficit with China," which Politico reports has been debunked by Politifact, and Trump's assertion he never settles lawsuits. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, Trump did so in 2013, with more than 100 prospective condo buyers in California.

A sampling of Politico's collection of a week's worth of misstatements include:
  • Trade with Japan: In Jupiter, Fla., on March 8, Trump claimed a trade deficit with Japan was "over $100 billion a year." it was about $69 billion, Politico reports.
  • Exports to Japan: Trump on March 7 in Concord, N.C., claimed the United States sends to Japan "like nothing, by comparison, nothing." The United States exported $62 billion in goods to Japan in 2015, Politico reports.
  • Job Losses: Also in Concord, Trump stated: "We're losing our jobs and the politicians don't tell you that." The White House put out a fact sheet including outsourcing issues in 2012. 
  • Foreign trade: On March 11 in St. Louis, Trump stated: "We don't win at trade. We lose to everybody at trade." In 2015, the United States had trade surpluses with a number of countries including Hong Kong, the Netherlands, the UAE and Australia.
  • Manufacturing: In Concord, N.C., Trump asked: "Remember we used to have Made in the USA, right? When was the last time you've seen it? You don't see that anymore." The U.S. Economics and Statistics Administration issued a report in 2014 that found U.S. manufacturers sold $4.4 trillion of goods that classify as "Made in the U.S.A," Politico reports. The National Association of Manufacturers issued a fact sheet noting that manufacturing contributes $2.17 trillion to the U.S. economy and employs 12.3 million Americans.
  • Health care: In Concord, N.C., Trump claimed health care is "going up 35, 45, 55 percent." Premiums rose by an average of 5.8 percent a year since President Barack Obama took office, compared with 13.2 percent in the nine years prior, Politifact notes.
  • Campaign Finance: In Concord, N.C., Trump stated: "I've spent the least money and I'm by far number 1. So I've spent the least." Politico reports Trump's campaign has spent $23.9 million as of Jan 31, more than Ohio Gov. John Kasich's campaign, which has spent $7.2 million, or $19.5 million including money from outside groups supporting him.
  • Self-funding: In Concord, Trump said he's self-funding his campaign, and in Madison, Miss., said he was "not taking money . . .  I spent a lot of money. I don't take." In Palm Beach on March 11, he also stated: "Right now, I'm into, you would know better than me, maybe $30 million, maybe more." Trump solicits donations on his campaign website, and according to Politico, as of Jan. 31, accepted $7.5 million in donations. Trump has given his campaign $250,318, and lent another $17.5 million, Politico reports.
  • Anti-Trump ads: In Madison, Miss., Trump claimed "$50 million of negative ads against me in Florida." Outside groups had spent $15 million in Florida as of last week, Politico reports. In Jupiter, Fla., he said, "So many horrible, horrible things said about me in one week. $38 million worth of horrible lies." Politico reports every GOP dollar not spent by Trump on TV and radio from March 1 through 7 comes to $10.57 million, according to The Tracking Firm, a service that monitors media buys. And not all of that money was negative against Trump.
  • Polling: In Concord, N.C., he referred to "one of the polls just came out, and a number of them have just come out. I'm beating Hillary Clinton quite easily, thank you." Politico reports a USA Today/Suffolk University poll from mid-February, showed him 2 points ahead of Clinton; others show she'd beat him.


http://www.newsmax.com/Headline/politico-fact-checking-trump-statements/2016/03/14/id/718973/#ixzz42tX0FCO1 

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

So which side of the AT&T / FBI conflict over encryption 'back doors' is Obama on?
The question kind of answers itself since Obama is over the FBI, but still, the question is instructive.

On EVERY. SINGLE. ISSUE involving democratic rights and civil liberties, Barack Obama has lined up with the enemies of freedom. 

So you cannot argue that Barack Obama has helped to advance the basic tenets of our nation.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

Mary Elizabeth

because they both have had the intellect, the vision, and the commitment to do so for the survival of the tenets of our nation   / 

Wow, where to start with this? 

How does consolidating and legally normalizing George Bush's "war on terror", in many cases escalating it, help the survival of the 'tenets of our nation'? 

How does starting a new Cold War with Russia and China help it? 


Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Donnie_Pinko How does starting a new Cold War with Russia and China help it? 


Wow, where to start with this? 


I cant. Frankly it boggles the mind.


How does consolidating and legally normalizing George Bush's "war on terror", in many cases escalating it, help the survival of the 'tenets of our nation'? 


I don't know anyone who wouldn't say Obama shifted away from Bush's policy in the ME.


From bringing troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan to normalizing relations with Iran and bringing to stop taking Israel's side on every issue.


Obama would close Gitmo tomorrow if allowed to do so.


The evidence doesnt match your rhetoric comrade.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@Hedley_Lammar @Donnie_Pinko 

I don't know anyone who wouldn't say Obama shifted away from Bush's policy in the ME. / 

Then you must not know many people outside of Obama fan boy circles. 

You should though.

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

What are you talkin about

We're gonna be the Kansas of mass transit!

td1234
td1234

"

Thomas DiMassimo, the 22-year-old man who bull-rushed GOP frontrunner Donald Trump at his Ohio campaign rally on Saturday, voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)16% (R-VT) in Georgia.

“When asked who he voted for, DiMassimo said he voted for Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders. He voted in Georgia. DiMassimo said several times his support for Sanders did not prompt the stunt,” CNN reported on Sunday after DiMassimo sat down for an exclusive interview with the network."

honested
honested

@td1234 

Wonder who that crackpot in Colorado who murdered the people at the Clinic voted for in 2012?

KUTGF
KUTGF

@td1234 I though you said he was ISIS?  Hmmmmm......  I am shocked, just shocked, that he is not a Trump supporter. 

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

@MaryElizabethSings 
Well, you were wrong and Obama and Hillary will go down as excellent American presidents  / 

Obama will go down as a great president? 

In your dreams maybe.

(Great for the top 1%)

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Donnie_Pinko @Hedley_Lammar @MaryElizabethSings Just who did he bring out of the economic downturn Hedley?


Many. Like many American I had lost half my savings in my 401k. All recovered under Obama.


IM betting a few auto workers and many other Americans would also agree.


Just because you wish Obama to be a failure as a President doesn't make it so.