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Atlanta's Regional Rail and Transit Systems.


monsoon

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Of course roads are also subsidized public transit

It should be the other way around. Toll roads should subsidize public transit.

This is a win-win situation for car drivers and public transiteers. Public transit could afford to extend/improve rail lines, lower fares for passengers, make parking-lots at stations larger, provide infill stations, and provide more trains for faster service. Car drivers could face less traffic because of toll roads, and have the option of using mass transit for at least part of their daily commute. Furthermore everybody benefits because less traffic means leads to better air quality and few auto accidents.

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It should be the other way around. Toll roads should subsidize public transit.

This is a win-win situation for car drivers and public transiteers. Public transit could afford to extend/improve rail lines, lower fares for passengers, make parking-lots at stations larger, provide infill stations, and provide more trains for faster service. Car drivers could face less traffic because of toll roads, and have the option of using mass transit for at least part of their daily commute. Furthermore everybody benefits because less traffic means leads to better air quality and few auto accidents.

Preachin' to the choir, hun.

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  • 3 weeks later...

  • 2 weeks later...

Here's my 2 cents worth:

I used to work with the passenger rail program. The original idea was to pattern rail in GA after the Virginia Rail Express. It is a great success in the Old Dominion. Things haven't been so peachy for rail in GA as we have all seen. First of all, negotiations with the railroads are always testy...they make exorbitant demands.

It's all a delicate balancing act between capital cost, accessibility(from the railroad cos.) and ridership. The Athens line has great numbers, but problems with CSX and line upgrade costs. The Lovejoy/Macon line has so-so ridership figures but a much more willing Norfolk Southern. NS is loosing its largest customer in a short while (Ford in Hapeville). I think with Ford gone, NS would normally only keep the 'S' line around for traffic relief on the 'H' line. Without talk of commuter rail, they might be even tempted to abandon it in time. Whatever the case, the price charged to the state should be more reasonable. THIS is why the Lovejoy corridor leapt ahead of the Athens "Brain Train" route. Now it looks like Sonny and Company aren't interested in anything other than asphalt so it could be a moot point within a year's time.

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In the Atlanta Business Chronice 02/09/07

An article that was talking about a downtown casino mentioned "If gambling comes to Atlanta, The Gulch could at last find its calling as a mixed-use destination featuring not only gambling and hotels but a long-planned multimodal transportation station as well".

I don't know how many times the station and lines have seemed like they are going to happen yet fizzle. I hate to get my hopes up but some news that the station idea is still alive is good news.

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Here's my 2 cents worth:

I used to work with the passenger rail program. The original idea was to pattern rail in GA after the Virginia Rail Express. It is a great success in the Old Dominion. Things haven't been so peachy for rail in GA as we have all seen. First of all, negotiations with the railroads are always testy...they make exorbitant demands.

It's all a delicate balancing act between capital cost, accessibility(from the railroad cos.) and ridership. The Athens line has great numbers, but problems with CSX and line upgrade costs. The Lovejoy/Macon line has so-so ridership figures but a much more willing Norfolk Southern. NS is loosing its largest customer in a short while (Ford in Hapeville). I think with Ford gone, NS would normally only keep the 'S' line around for traffic relief on the 'H' line. Without talk of commuter rail, they might be even tempted to abandon it in time. Whatever the case, the price charged to the state should be more reasonable. THIS is why the Lovejoy corridor leapt ahead of the Athens "Brain Train" route. Now it looks like Sonny and Company aren't interested in anything other than asphalt so it could be a moot point within a year's time.

Thanks for being involved in this important work, nwgeorgia. I have always heard that CSX plays hardball when it comes to this.

They were supposedly one of the main reasons light rail in Orlando didn't pass, and I also understand they were not easy to deal with on the new commuter rail plan down there as well.

It seems as if we may have to wait for Sonny-do's term to expire before anything but asphalt is laid in North Georgia. How freaking sad.................

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Building On-Top of MARTA?

I remember someone posting on one of these urban/skyscraper sites that many of the MARTA stations were designed so that they could be built on top of, to encourage Infill and increased usage. Does anyone know which stations can be built over? I'd hope all the Downtown, Midtown and Buckhead area stations can be retrofitted.

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I read this editorial by Cynthia Tucker in the AJC recently and I thought it made a great point. It seems as though redistribution of funds within the state isn't a problem unless Atlanta is the recipient, even though it is the greatest contributor--or at least that's what Tucker argues. I wouldn't doubt it.

Generally, Georgia's Republican leadership despises welfare. It loathes any plan or program that smacks of "income redistribution"...

But there is one kind of welfare [Gov. Sonny]Perdue and his fellow Republicans like very much

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This proposal is unfortunately still primarily focused on roads but it does includes the possibility of expanding transit.

State officials, lawmakers seek new Northern Arc- ABC

A group of state transportation officials and legislators is considering a roughly $45 billion funding plan to relieve congestion in metro Atlanta and address a $200 billion shortfall in Georgia's road and transit budget over the next 30 years, according to sources familiar with the situation.

In addition to the new Arc, the plan would also:

-replace the local one-cent sales tax that MARTA relies on for its operations with state funding and provide additional dollars for bus rapid transit and other options;

-allocate $500 million to bankroll the buildout of the Peachtree streetcar, allowing it to operate as a free service;

Edited by Martinman
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This proposal is unfortunately still primarily focused on roads but it does includes the possibility of expanding transit.

State officials, lawmakers seek new Northern Arc- ABC

This proposal is a monstrosity! They acutally suggest removing a stable income for MARTA (sales tax) to an unstable one (state budget). They also suggest financing that stupid tunnel, and paying for MORE interstates. I would normally applaud the inclusion of public transit in the budget, but this is rediculous. The status quo is much better than that. The Georgia legislature must be smokin' something powerful.

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This proposal is a monstrosity! They acutally suggest removing a stable income for MARTA (sales tax) to an unstable one (state budget). They also suggest financing that stupid tunnel, and paying for MORE interstates. I would normally applaud the inclusion of public transit in the budget, but this is rediculous. The status quo is much better than that. The Georgia legislature must be smokin' something powerful.

They are Spartan - and it's called pure greed, bought and paid for by Georgians for Better Transportation.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here's another deeply disturbing and generally asinine proposal from the Reasons Foundation on how to alleviate ATL traffic...

http://www.reason.org/ps351.pdf

This 84 page rant proposes that the city should build two underground tollways. One that would connect the southern terminus of GA400 to the northern part of I-675. And the other from Lakewood Freeway to I-20 East. The estimated cost of these two projects? $25 Billion dollars!!!

This report makes me furious for a couple of reasons...

1. The assertion that you can build your way out of congestion by constructing more freeways - This was already tried once, GDOT 'Freeing the Freeways' program, which resulted in wider interstates and wonderful landmarks like the Brookwood Interchange, Spaghetti Junction and the Cobb Coverleaf. Yet, twenty years later the congestion returned.

2. That transit alternatives are a fraudulent investment - Under the guise of 'freedom of choice' and 'pork spending opposition' the Reasons reports claims that investing in MARTA, LRT, Commuter Rail and Transit Orientated Developments are goverment boondoggles which attempt to force a standard of living and commuting on residents.

I'm all for freedom of choice...by all means live, work and commute however you see fit. The problem most Atlantans face is that there IS NO CHOICE! Unless you're forunate enough to have access to MARTA, the only way to get around the city is via automobile.

3. Putting these proposed tollways underground - Firstly, the routes they proposed were apart of ATL's original expressway system. I have no idea how much ARC or GDOT paid for this study, but they should get their money back from Reasons if going underground is all the 'innovation' they can come up with.

And while going underground sounds alluring, there are several problems that come immediately to mind. The biggest one being that ATL sits on top of several feet of granite. MARTA's Peachtree Center Station and the more recent Chattahoochee Tunnel Project both experienced significant delays because of this dense rock and both pale in comparision to the proposed underground tunnels. The potential for delays and cost overuns could easily approach 'Big Dig' proportions.

(I searched the Reasons Foundation website for their analysis of what went wrong with the Big Dig. Their assertion is that the problems surrounding the Big Dig stemmed from the fact that it was wholly a government sponsered project, thus lacking any fiscal restraint. They state that had it been a private/public partnership, the outrageous costly overruns would have been avoided and that overall the Big Dig should be viewed as an 'anomoly'.)

The only part of this report I agree with is that the lack robust surface arterial system has exacerbated ATL traffic. (Quick, name one road you can take to traverese the entire city?) An immediate solution to this problem could be increasing the number of one-way streets. (i.e. North Ave and Ponce or Peachtree and West Peachtree) With residential areas so clearly established throughout the city though, any new road construction will be met with HEAVY opposition.

Only through a comprehesive transportation plan, one that includes rail, roads, buses, HOT and HOV will Atlanta free itself from the increasing congestion.

(BTW, for an idea of what we could have, take a look at the Citizens for Progressive Transit proposed rail system. http://www.cfpt.org/ )

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  • 4 weeks later...

MARTA wins sales tax extension - AJC

The move extends the 1 percent sales tax from 2032 to 2047, after which it would fall to a half-cent through 2057.

Though the start date of the tax is 25 years away, MARTA needed to know the money was coming so it can borrow against it now. The measure gives the transit system the ability to borrow about $2 billion, opening the possibility of new bus or rail service.

The following expanison plans could move forward as a result of the sales tax extension

  • I-20 East Corridor - Bus Rapid Tansit from Garnett Station to Stonecrest Mall
  • West Line Corridor -Bus Rapid Transit from HE Holmes station to Fulton Industrial Blvd.
  • Beltline - Light Rail/Streetcar
  • Clifton Corridor - Light Rail/Streetcar from Lindbergh Center Station to the Emory/CDC campus

Edited by Martinman
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  • 3 months later...

I think MARTA should really invest on extending the N/S line to Alpharetta. I think that most of the folks there are VERY anxious to have it, and commuters on GA 400 would definitely use it.

Some would. I could show you a million studies that say most will not. At least not without a more convenient way to get to their final destination. At a projected cost nearing a billion, yes billion, $$$ I don't think the benefit comes close to warranting that kind of investment. The money would be better spent rebuilding the streetcar system in Atlanta. The reality is that most suburban commuters will not use mass transit, not because they don't want to, but because it is impracticle in a suburban environment.

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Some would. I could show you a million studies that say most will not. At least not without a more convenient way to get to their final destination. At a projected cost nearing a billion, yes billion, $$$ I don't think the benefit comes close to warranting that kind of investment. The money would be better spent rebuilding the streetcar system in Atlanta. The reality is that most suburban commuters will not use mass transit, not because they don't want to, but because it is impracticle in a suburban environment.
I actually disagree. And perhaps expansion of the N/S line as it is may not be feasible. But a commuter rail line or LRT from, say, Cumming to Dunwoody would be used extensively I think. And that is cheaper than trying to expand the "subway" lines on MARTA. I find it hard to digest that commuter rails and LRTs are "impracticle" for suburban life when other mature metropolitan areas in this country (and the world) use them with extreme success.

And you actually favor rebuilding streetcars in Atlanta vs. helping to solve 2 hour+ commutes along I-85, I-75, and GA 400? That to me is a waste of money. Sure streetcars will be attractive, but they are not practical. Not for the serious transit issues facing this metro area.

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Commuter rail is a further subsidy of the suburbs.....spending a tremendous amount of money to make it easier to live 50 miles from a job shouldn't be a burden bourn by the tax payer....God knows they spend enough on highways already.

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