Don McKee: Readers skeptical of proposed TIA transit ‘solution’ for Cobb County
March 07, 2012 01:37 AM | 1741 views | 8 8 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Don McKee
Don McKee
Skepticism abounds concerning the Transportation Investment Act plans for Cobb County featuring a $689 million bus rapid transit line that could morph into a light rail if so recommended by a study to be completed in November — three months after the July 31 referendum on the regional one-cent sales tax. Here are the views of a couple of readers who give their reasons for opposing the transportation tax plan:

RedBoard: Remember folks, the fix is in. Somehow, some way, the good ol’ boys are going to get this slush fund to line their pockets unless we go region-wide and convince any and all this is a stupid tax for stupid projects that won’t do anything but enrich the “right” people. Really, a 10-year (minimum) tax to build a single rail line that won’t address Cobb traffic congestion...and won’t be available for use until 2026? For crying out loud, how ridiculous is that? Same goes for most of other counties’ project lists. This is ruling class stupidity at its finest.

By the way, you think BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) is a good idea? Take a look at the silly system Cleveland, Ohio, built. They used $168 million to build a 6.8-mile long single bus line, bought 21 fancy buses that seat 47 and allow another 50 or so to stand, then built 44 (yes, 44) stops along the route with fancy ticket machines. Guess what? The buses take about 40 minutes to travel the 6.8 miles! That’s a blistering average speed of 10.2 mph! (Or a little over 3 times the speed of WALKING!) And don’t forget the $10 million per year in operating costs that fares don’t cover.

BRT is a joke. Cumberland light rail is a joke. TIA is a joke. Stop this nonsense. Vote NO!

Anonymous: The proponents of the transit “solution” for Cobb County have been intentionally vague and misleading from the very beginning. As Mr. McKee indicated, this is using the infamous “Nancy Pelosi” strategy of “pass the referendum and then we will find out what is REALLY in it.”

We have been peppered with a constant and ever changing barrage misinformation, conjecture and half baked ideas about what the transit solution for Cobb County is going to be. Most metro area voters are likely going to buy into the one-sided propaganda and BS that MAVEN and others will be spreading around between now and July and will vote to approve the TIA.

Unfortunately, Cobb County may be caught up in this TIA/TSPLOST fiasco whether we like it or not. Just remember that we are not simply going to be obligated for a ten year tax increase. If the referendum passes the tax will be a permanent one. Rabid local supporters of the TIA (we know who they are by now) should be held accountable if a majority of Cobb County voters oppose this referendum, but it still passes Metro-wide.
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left the station
March 10, 2012
It is way too late to build any type of effective public transit in a County that that is the poster child of suburban sprawl. That train has already left the station. Cobb had probably better accept the fact that in an era of rising energy prices, we will be at a severe competitive disadvantage and will lose rather than add jobs and tax base in the future. Cobb residents need to find jobs that enable them to work out their own homes - or move out of the County and closer to where they work.
Fact Checker
March 08, 2012
Well, it's going to take more than just a few seconds to correct all of the misleading information these folks have presented here. I understand that they're auditioning for their spot on History Channel's new show Doomsday Preppers, but we still might want to take a closer look at what's been said.

1. Redboard claims that this is a ten year tax, minimum. In reality, the tax is tied to both years AND dollars. If the revenue projections set by the state economist are met in only 8 years and 3 months, then the investment stops immediately.

2. Redboard also implies that construction schedules will correlate with the funding of the RTR. It will not take 10 years to complete every project on the list. In reality, building the infrastructure of a BRT will take far less time, and would be able to begin serving commuters far sooner than 2026.

Clearly, the facts indicate that this referendum is a critical part of Cobb County's future when it comes to jobs and economic development. However, the anti-job, anti-progress crowd is having to resort to blatantly misleading and inflammatory rhetoric to try to achieve their ends. I hope everyone will take the opportunity to check their facts.
March 08, 2012
@ Fact Checker or more accurately Fact Distorter

You still have not addressed the issue of the ongoing operating and maintenance costs associated with the proposed Cobb Transit project.

A self serving, intentional oversight on your part.

You and other proponents of this financial boondoggle are only giving the voters half of the entire story.

The half you want them to hear.

Even by Cobb DOT's own estimates the O&M costs for a full blown light rail system from Arts Center to Kennesaw will run between $18 and $37 MILLION each and every year in perpetuity.

Of course that's after spending $2 BILLION to build it.

Even for the Arts Center to Cumberland segment the O&M costs will be somewhwere in the $9 to $10 million range each and every year.


You only have to look at the existing CCT system to get an idea of what an enhanced BRT system will cost from an operating and maintenance standpoint.
Good young girl
March 08, 2012
You calling someone a good ole boy is like calling the kettle black!
Dave Schust
March 07, 2012
I dont understand, it says here its a permanent tax but I see elsewhere its a 10 year tax that ends unless there is another vote. Could someone please print the truth instead of trying to confuse and manipulate people into voting the way you want them to?
Old timer
March 07, 2012
The tax will be permanent, no matter what the bill reads now. Once turning back.
permanent 10 yr tax
March 07, 2012
The TSPLOST/TIA is for ten years, BUT after we spend $700 million on a train or super bus, who is going to shut the train down? And, by the way, $700 million only buys a train from Arts Center to Galleria, so we'll need another $700 to build it out to Acworth or wherever.

Consider operations and maintenance costs - MARTA can't live on 1% tax, why should we expect Cobb to do better? And it is widely accepted that fare box revenue only will cover 25% of Operation and Maintenance cost.

There is no provision in TSPLOST/TIA for ongoing operations and maintenance costs. So the government will be back in year 10 for an extension. Plainly you will be paying for decades it it passes.
March 08, 2012
@ Mr. Shust

The federal government, specifically the Federal Transit Administration, will not provide any federal funding or grants for the proposed light rail sytem nor for the enhanced bus system or for any other local transit system UNLESS the local community imposes a permanent tax to cover expenses of the operation and maintenance of that system.

That's why there is no way that Fulton and Dekalb can repeal their 1% tax for MARTA. And even that is not enough to keep the system financially viable. They are bankrupt now and becoming more so each and every day.

That's the truth.

It is the special interest proponents of the light rail/enhanced BRT or whatever it has evovled into now that are misleading and misinforming potential voters in order to manipulate them into voting the way they want them to.

They want you to blindly vote for and commit to a financial "black hole".

Take any other publicly operated transit system in this country or for that matter the entire world and you will see that it takes a substantial taxpayer subsidy to sustain them.

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