Lawmakers: Traffic tax measure may be altered this session
by Jon Gillooly
jgillooly@mdjonline.com
January 08, 2012 01:07 AM | 21953 views | 27 27 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — In previewing the 2012 session of the General Assembly, which starts Monday, the proposed transportation tax dominated conversation among several members of Cobb’s delegation who visited the Journal this week.

Overall, the lawmakers from both parties agreed that if the TIA list were put to voters today, the 10-year, one-percent sales tax question would fail. The referendum is scheduled for July 31, and it’s possible, if not probable, the referendum will be moved to the Nov. 6 general election, they said.

The Republicans also hope the project list for the 10-county area and specifically Cobb will change, because they don’t believe a rail line or bus rapid transit route will do anything to relieve traffic congestion. The Democrats, though, believe such mass-transit ideas are a good start.

Constitutional challenges to the Transportation Investment Act are also likely, several said.

The six lawmakers who visited the Journal in groups were Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, a Woodstock Republican, and fellow state Sen. Doug Stoner, a Smyrna Democrat; and state Representatives Ed Setzler, an Acworth Republican who leads the Cobb delegation, Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs); Stacey Evans (D-Smyrna) and David Wilkerson (D-Austell).

Cobb has 19 lawmakers at the Gold Dome.

The TIA is estimated to bring in $6 billion across the metro Atlanta area throughout the decade of collections.

Sen. Rogers said he wants to see the project list change, perhaps putting the toll-lane project for Interstates 75 and 575 that the state recently dropped as a public-private deal into the project list in place of the $689 million “enhanced premium transit service” that is now on the list. He called the current project list “a bad deal for Cobb County.”

“The needs of our county today are more capacity to move vehicles, and that is not going to change,” Rogers said. “Anybody that travels in north Cobb County or going into southern Cherokee County knows it is a traffic nightmare. A train is not going to solve that.”

Rep. Setzler again called the list a “bait and switch.”

“I’m hopeful that the TIA list can be reengineered to deliver traffic relief,” Setzler said. “If we can’t solve our transportation concerns for families and for single-occupancy motorists, we haven’t addressed our real transportation needs. The TIA, although sold on traffic relief, has been re-engineered to deliver something dramatically different, and it’s not something residents in Cobb County want.”

Rep. Ehrhart, a Republican like Rogers and Setzler, said there could be attempts to revise the TIA to allow counties to opt-out. Currently, an overall majority of voters in the 10-county region is needed to pass the tax.

“There is a significant amount of angst among many representatives in several counties – Cobb, Henry, Cherokee, others — with the way the list was developed, with constituencies having some serious issues on whether they can opt in or opt out, what the actual result was,” Ehrhart said. “I think the push will take one of two forms. It will either be allowing an opt out which may or may not be constitutional. The bill itself is probably unconstitutional on its face. One way or the other you’ll see it challenged in the courts. Our own legislative counsel seemed to think that there may be some constitutional issues with it.

Or, “rather than getting an opt out, which may not be politically feasible, because one area may not be treated differently than the rest of the state, maybe putting off, if nothing else, just the ARC region until we can change the process.”

But Democratic Sen. Stoner said changing the contentious project list will be hard to come by in the Senate.

“As I see it, you would have a hard time getting a consensus in the Senate to actually make changes,” Stoner said.

He and the others said they doubted voters would approve the referendum if it were held today, though his belief is not based on the project list.

“I don’t think people even know it (the TIA) exists,” Stoner said.

Rep. Evans is in her first term in the legislature and like all General Assembly members, will be up for reelection this year.

“I agree it probably wouldn’t pass in Cobb County right now, but I think it probably would pass in our region, and that goes back to the Constitutionality issue that we were talking about earlier, the equal protection for counties who say no but the region who says yes,” Evans said. “Is that fair for Cobb County citizens? I’m sure a court will tell us.”

As for moving the date of the referendum, Setzler indicated it’s a possibility.

“There’s too many variables in play to speak to that,” Setzler said. “It was put in July for a reason. I think it needs to stay there. If some things were changed, as you start to move one or two or three variables in this process, then I think all that’s open for discussion.”

Rogers and Ehrhart both said they favor moving tax referendums to November general elections.

Stoner said he favored doing so while in session last year.

“In the Senate there was a bipartisan consensus to move it, but for some reason the leadership decided not to take advantage of (that),” he said.

Cobb’s biggest-ticket item on the TIA list is $689 million for “enhanced premium transit service.” Other Cobb projects include $16 million for building left-turn lanes on River View Road, near the Chattahoochee River and Charlie Brown Airport; $14 million for a Windy Hill/Terrell Mill Connector adjacent to I-75; and $3 million for a new tower and runway lights at McCollum Airport.

Not surprisingly, support for mass transit falls along party lines, with Democrats favoring it and Republicans criticizing the cost.

“We’re done building roads in Cobb, folks,” said Stoner, a Democrat whose district includes the Cumberland Galleria area. “We’re not building any more four-lane highways. It’s not going to happen. There’s nowhere to put them. And you’re not going to be building any more single-occupancy vehicle lanes on I-75 because it doesn’t make economic sense to acquire the right of way. … So what’s your alternative? At this point, we’ve got to look at some other mode of mass transit, be it BRT (bus rapid transit) to begin with, which could turn into light rail at a later date or a combination where you have light rail coming to the Cumberland Galleria area with BRT feeding into that down the 41 corridor and eventually extending that northward. In my opinion, it’s a step in the right direction.”

Evans agreed.

“We’re going to have to come up with these larger transportation alternatives transit projects, and those unfortunately take a lot of time and they take a lot of money. You’ve got to start somewhere, and this is a mechanism to get that going,” she said. “It also is great for folks in my part of the district and that may have something to do with why I like it. I represent the Cumberland area.”

Rep. Wilkerson, another South Cobb Democrat, said his constituents also want “some mass-transit alternative.”

“We can’t keep building roads to get out of the situation. Whether this is what they would have desired, I doubt it, but it is a step in the right direction,” Wilkerson said.

Their Republican colleagues dispute that.

Said Rogers: “The business community came to us and said ‘The traffic problem in metro Atlanta is becoming a serious economic problem for us. The traffic is killing us.’ We put forward an alternative for how we can solve the traffic problem, and instead some took that opportunity and went a different direction with it.

“We need to get back to what we started with. This vote needs to be about traffic congestion relief. And if it’s not, then we’ve done a disservice. … Most of the people I talk to in Cherokee say ‘I like the list that Cherokee came up with to put in this plan, but if the traffic problem in Cobb County is not solved then it doesn’t do me a whole lot of good,’” he said.

Setzler said the Atlanta Regional Commission had taken over the project list to institute that body’s 50-year vision plan known as ‘Concept Plan 3.’

“Even though the TIA was passed as a traffic measure, the ARC saw this as an opportunity to very quietly repurpose the TIA to being a funding mechanism for their Concept Plan 3. The projects that you’re seeing in TIA are highly aligned with that Concept Plan 3,” Setzler said. “If you look at the functioning of the metro roundtable, the ARC provided their staff to help support that, provided facilities to support that. The ARC certainly can pursue its interests as its board members see fit, but the plan you see in the TIA investment list is heavily influenced by the concept plan of the ARC.

“A 10-mile rail line from downtown Atlanta that crosses the river a couple miles and serves a portion of the county … just cannot deliver, dollar for dollar, the kind of traffic relief and quality of life that we’re held accountable to provide,” Setzler said. “We can’t afford to misapply a billion dollars of infrastructure spending towards something that’s not going to solve traffic relief.”

The always outspoken Ehrhart challenged his colleagues to “find me a public transit system that’s come in on time and under budget somewhere in this country, and I’ll be the first one to stand up and cheer.”

“Let’s look at something that’s not subsidized by everybody that doesn’t ride it,” he said, while advocating for a magnetic-levitation transit system, such as that produced by American Maglev Technology, a Powder Springs-based company.

“It’s built for 1/100th of the cost. It’s built in three years. And it moves more people, and people actually pay for it at the fare box — a fascinating concept,” Ehrhart said.

Setzler also responded to critics who have said the legislature punted the project list to local officials to avoid the hard work them-selves.

“That’s a sad accusation,” Setzler said. “The legislature was willing to take that on, and the two large local government associations, the Georgia Municipal Association and the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia, asked that the local governments be able to have their representatives develop the list kind of as a bottom-up local list. So there was really a request that that be the process.”
Comments
(27)
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Last GA Democrat
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January 11, 2012
@cabasse:

"LGAD: There are plenty of other cities built upon rolling topography that are FAR denser than we - Boston, Philly/Pittsburgh, Seattle, Portland. They may not be continuously gridded, but they sure as he** have far better interconnectivity than we do."

Yeah, I agree that those cities definitely have WAY better connectivity than Atlanta, despite having rolling topography just like Atlanta.

But keep-in-mind that Boston, Philly and Pittsburgh each had their formative years of development before the era of the nearly absolute dominance of the automobile while Portland, Seattle and even Boston are severely restricted from sprawling overdevelopment by natural geographical barriers like oceans, bays and mountains.

Atlanta didn't go through its formative years as a major city until the automobile and suburban sprawl-dominated post-World War II era and thus, the vast amount of it development is sprawl with is made worse because of the severely-limited road network unlike the grid networks of other Sunbelt cities like Houston and Dallas, etc.

"I'd like to think that the best model of where we could head, stateside, is Boston - they are another large city with an equally non-gridded arterial system, but far better subway and especialy commuter rail."

Like Boston, Atlanta has a network of existing freight rail right-of-ways that is geographically *PERFECT* for developing and implementing commuter rail should the powers-that-be ever decide to go in that direction as each of the major radial interstate and freeway spokes, not including Hwy 400 North into North Fulton and Forsyth Counties, has one (or more) major existing rail lines that parallel it into deep into the suburbs and exurbs of Metro Atlanta that could be used for commuter rail.

"The only downside is that our employment centers are currently not as centralized, but that could easily be changed/corrected."

Contrary to popular local belief, Metro Atlanta has some major employment centers that account for and generate a great deal of the commuter traffic that clogs the roads during morning and evening rush hours and even off-peak hours.

Very major employment centers like Downtown, Midtown, Buckhead, Perimeter Center, Cumberland-Galleria, North Fulton and Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, the world's busiest airport at present, help to generate a great deal of the region's traffic woes. A transit network that could serve the very heavy traffic that those seven very major employment centers could help to make navigation much easier for all of those who don't work at one of those seven employment centers and instead work at various places of employment that are scattered willy-nilly throughout the region.

The ONLY reason that the Atlanta Region does not have a more efficient multimodal transportation system that incorporates bus, rail and roads (as opposed to the single mode transportation system that we have now that incorporates virtually NEITHER) is because of an increasingly dysfunctional state government which has shown less and less leadership during a twenty year period of explosive growth where the population of the Atlanta Region DOUBLED from 2.9 million to 5.8 million.

100 PERCENT population growth between 1990 and 2010 and we have DROPPED to next-to-last (49th out of 50 states) in transportation funding. Pathetic.



cabasse
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January 10, 2012
Metro Atlanta, in a way, has built itself into a corner. It has developed in such an excessively low density that there is no longer any extra room, anywhere, to add capacity, by widening lanes, but especially not by adding any more roads. The lack of a grid system here compounds this. Houston and Dallas are actually quite a bit denser in their suburban areas, yet their arterial roads have far less traffic due to a much higher capacity road system. (I'm not talking about freeways)

As our road systems here were never planned from the start, and instead just grew on existing right of ways, we're going to have to make some major changes in the way we develop in the future, and it's also going to be quite tough to fix what we already have. (ATLANTA DEVELOPERS! YOU NEED TO LOOK AT THE WAY YOU BUILD SUBDIVISIONS AND MAKE CHANGES!) Transit might help to some extent, but we need much more connectivity built out in North Cobb, Cherokee, N Fulton, N Gwinnett, etc... People need more than one way to get in and out of their neighborhoods, and they definitely need more than one or two ways to get to work, school, etc.

It's a total mess right now, and I don't think anyone really wants to admit it.
Last GA Democrat
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January 10, 2012
cabasse:

Very good analysis of the situation.

The density is like that because of the heavily wooded rolling and hilly ridge-and-valley topography which dominates most of the Atlanta Region, especially the Northside and the fact that the surface road network is based on meandering ancient Indian trails as opposed to a grid network like they have in flatter cities like Dallas, Houston, Miami, Tampa and Orlando.

The low population density of the Atlanta Region, which is the lowest of the ten largest metro areas in the U.S., isn't good for supporting much, if any, additional transit, especially outside of Fulton and DeKalb Counties, but there is just enough density to support park & ride commuter trains and buses, financed through user fees and WITHOUT tax increases, of course.
cabasse
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January 10, 2012
LGAD: There are plenty of other cities built upon rolling topography that are FAR denser than we - Boston, Philly/Pittsburgh, Seattle, Portland. They may not be continuously gridded, but they sure as he** have far better interconnectivity than we do.

I'd like to think that the best model of where we could head, stateside, is Boston - they are another large city with an equally non-gridded arterial system, but far better subway and especialy commuter rail. The only downside is that our employment centers are currently not as centralized, but that could easily be changed/corrected.
Little Known Fact
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January 09, 2012
12 Regional Roundtables in the state, comprised of over 300 local elected officials, each produced project lists. Among that group in votes on the 12 project lists, there were only 3 dissenting votes. Yet, here we have several of our state officials who tried and failed to produce a list and funding source of their own, running down the project lists. Something does not smell quite right here. It think it has more to do with power and control than what is actually on the project list. Perhaps these "local control" Republicans are not as earnest as they might have you believe.
NotSoPC
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January 10, 2012
WOW!!

Only 3 out of 300 elected officials that have any sense!!

That is not very comforting.
frogbreath
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January 09, 2012
Twinkle, twinkle

little star

How they love

the trolley car

If the car

goes off the track

Will we get

our taxes back???
misterbill
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January 09, 2012
Many thanks to Ed Setzler for keeping these people as honest as they can be. Chip Rogers, per usual, like Ed is keeping an eye out for his constituents.

Surprise, surprise, there are a few politicians who remember why they were elected.
Jesse James
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January 09, 2012
I would like to know what a ground level Trolley and road improvements around the Belt Line in Atlanta and a light rail line through Fulton County to Cumberland CID relate to solving Regional transportation issues?
FuzzyLogic
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January 09, 2012
Zero, zip, nada, nothing.

Both projects are Atlanta focused. Very little, if any regional impact.

Both are tax boondoggles that benefit only the City of Atlanta and MARTA.

A disingenuous way of diverting the tax dollars of suburban communities to a dysfunctional transit system (MARTA).
SG68
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January 09, 2012
I'm with Fuzzylogic.

This is a plan to foolishly spend $1.5 BILLION on two projects (the Atlanta Beltline and the Cobb Light Rail) that have a minimal contribution to a regional transportation solution!!

These two projects alone, justify going back to the drawing board and coming up with a project list that is true to the intent of the TIA.

The members of the TIA Roundtable should be ashamed of themselves!!!!
anonymous
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January 09, 2012
Well, it's as plain as the nose on your face. It will, um, er, ah, I'll get back to you later on that. But--it will provide jobs for --well, I'd better not discuss that with E-Verify requirements coming down the road.

But the tourists will cash in their trips to Paris and San Francisco just to come to Atlanta and check the ride to nowhere. Why wouldn't they go to Tampa and get those kind of rides in a fun environment?

Just think how they will come here to shop at Cumberland and all of us, as a team, will pay taxes so some merchants can make more money as we support the trolley with our tax dollars.NOT!!!

You know, there ARE times when , if you build it, they will NOT come.
TIC
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January 09, 2012
Shop at Cumberland? HAH!!

Only if you are smart enough to carry a gun and skilled enough to use it.
Last GA Democrat
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January 09, 2012
The T-SPLOST is nothing but one really big scam because if the powers-that-be were really SERIOUS about implementing rail mass transit that actually works, they would finance commuter rail on the CSX and GNRR lines using a combination of USER FEES, PRIVATE financing (in which a private partner provides the bulk of the financing just like was recently proposed for the I-75 HOT lanes) and "tax increment financing" in which the property taxes from the increased development along the rail line helps to fund the rail line's cost.

The vote on the T-SPLOST which is scheduled to currently take place in July needs to be postphoned INDEFINITELY until the state and the region learn how to fund transportation. The T-SPLOST as it is currently arranged is the WRONG approach as the list should be made up of between 75-100% percent roads. Rail mass transit projects should be able to pay for themselves, if a rail mass transit project cannot pay for itself, then it does not need to even be considered, much less built.

Last GA Democrat
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January 09, 2012
@Who's afraid?:

Mr. Engineer "What are you afraid of?"

Has it occurred to you that some folks don't want to see the roads part of TSPLOST lost because of an ill conceived train to nowhere?

"Rogers has it right, replace the train with the I-75 HOT lane project, and we'll fix some congestion for Cherokee and Cobb both."

BOTH the light rail proposal and the I-75/I-575 HOT lane project are disasterous boondoogles waiting to happen. Replacing the light rail proposal with HOT lanes on I-75 is like rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking Titanic as BOTH proposals and concepts need to be eliminated and replaced with road widenings that will actually move the needle on congestion relief the quickest, like widening Hwy 41/Cobb Parkway to at least six through lanes from above I-285 north to the Bartow County line, widening I-575 to from four lanes to eight lanes and putting at least a couple of extra lanes on I-75 from I-285 up to at least the Bartow County line.

Adding HOT lanes to the I-75/575 NW Corridor could be a huge waste of money because HOT lanes are designed to be used the least when traffic is the worst as the tolls rise as far up as it takes to keep the lanes from filling up with traffic, which is one of the reasons why the state had to back off of the HOT lane project because it would provide minimal traffic relief compared to how much traffic will continue to increase on the roadway(s) as the increased tolls at rush hour are designed to keep most of the traffic out of those lanes.

"Bring the train back when you get your engineering sorted out enough to tell us where the tracks go."

The ONLY place that trains could possibly ever work is NOT in the right-of-way for I-75 or Hwy 41, but in the right-of-way of the existing CSX rail line between Cumberland Mall/Vinings and Cartersville and in the right-of-way of the existing Georgia Northeastern Railroad line between Marietta and Canton and as has been discussed before, that option would take many years to work out with CSX because it is one of the busiest freight rail corridors on the North American continent. Light rail on I-75 and Hwy 41 would be an absolute disaster because the low population and residential development densities along those roadways would not be enough to sustain a high-frequency passenger rail line which are also the two main reasons that maglev would not work in the right-of-ways of those two major roads.

I don't see why everyone seems to have a problem with just widening the [darned] roads. When roads fill up with traffic, they should be widened. If traffic is still a problem after the roads have been widened as much as they can be, then and ONLY then should mass transit (PRIVATIZED mass transit) options be looked at and even then the first option should be commuter BUS service before trains, BUT THE ROADS MUST BE WIDENED FIRST and foremost!!!!!

Just widen I-75, widen Hwy 41, widen I-575, widen East-West Connector, widen Windy Hill Road, widen Hwy 280/South Cobb Drive, widen Hwy 176/Lost Mountain Road/New Macland Road and be done with it!

The money that is being wasted on mass transit boondoogles should be going towards widening all of the county's major roads and even upgrading some of them, like Hwy 6/C.H. James Parkway and Hwy 41/Cobb Parkway, to super-arteries and freeways.

Once again, just so that they get the point: JUST WIDEN THE [DARNED] ROADS!!! It's that simple. This isn't rocket science.

RedBoard
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January 09, 2012
Speaking of rocket science, it sure is a good thing "Last GA Democrat" never worked for NASA. Perhaps he/she actually works for a paving company.

For the last 40 years, road widening has been the attempted solution to growth in Cobb County...and a very, very expensive solution at that (although not as expensive per mile as foolishly designed trolley systems routed to nowhere). Our equally poorly designed network of primary traffic arteries, which ended up this way due to miserably inept leadership and vision on the part of County government in zoning and traffic planning/engineering, is now maxed out in terms of width and ability to handle additional volume of traffic trying to go where the employment and commerce is.

Further widening is NOT the answer. Here's why:

Unfortunately, "LGaD" doesn't quite understand that road widening beyond current boundaries on most major roads...beyond the cost of concrete and asphalt...will involve 1) Acquisition of massive amounts of real estate at huge cost, 2) Possible condemnation of existing businesses and homes costing more big bucks, 3) Loss of tax-revenue generating land, 4) Expansion of bridges costing hundreds of millions of dollars, 5) Huge (i.e. expensive) drainage and storm water improvements, 6) Endless environmental studies by a dozen government agencies or more, and 7) Expansion of maintenance expenses for the new road widths.

This is only a partial list. Don't forget that with wider roads comes huge complication of traffic flow patterns and a beyond-proportional increase in wrecks due to haphazard lane-changing and lane-speed variations.

Worst of all, road widening at this point will cost billions of dollars just to attempt to address peak-load conditions. This just doesn't make any economic sense.

Some folks should just stay away from topics on which they are not fully informed. They shouldn't attempt to build rockets, either.
Last GA Democrat
|
January 09, 2012
@RedBored:

Cobb County's population alone has gone by more than 240,000 people since 1990. You can't add 240,000 people to the county's population and tons of overdevelopment and not widen important roads and wonder why the roads won't function during morning and evening rush hours.

Take Hwy 41/Cobb Parkway and all of the needless overdevelopment that has been added to what was basically designed to be only a high-speed four-lane divided limited-access state highway with a 55(-60) mph speed limit in a 2-1/2 to 3 mile stretch of roadway between Hwy 92/Lake Acworth Drive and Jim Owens Road in the Acworth area, a heavily overdeveloped stretch of roadway that includes a Kroger, a Kohl's, a Lowe's, a Super Target, a Home Depot and TWO WAL-MART SUPERCENTERS that are just a mere 2-1/2 MILES APART! All of that development added in a few years to what basically still the same road with four travel lanes that it was before any of that development was there.

In the Atlanta Region, the population grew by more than 100 percent, DOUBLING from 2.9 million in 1990 to 5.8 million in 2010 with what is basically almost the same exact road network that the area had in 1990 when it had only HALF of the population.

DOUBLE the population, same road network (no new freeways opened since the GA 400 extension opened almost 20 years ago in 1993)= traffic nightmare. When an urban area's population DOUBLES, you have to add new road capacity, there is just no way around it.

"For the last 40 years, road widening has been the attempted solution to growth in Cobb County...and a very, very expensive solution at that (although not as expensive per mile as foolishly designed trolley systems routed to nowhere)."

Those roads were not widened and built to handle more traffic or make traffic move more smoothly, those roads (roads like E-W Connector and Barrett Parkway and even Hwy 120) were built and widened to GENERATE and INCREASE traffic to new commercial developments like Town Center Mall, the cluster of development on E-W Connector between Powder Springs Rd & Hicks Rd in South Cobb and the Streets of West Cobb, the development at Hwy 120/Dallas Hwy & Ridgeway Rd/Barrett Pkwy and the cluster of development in East Cobb at Hwy 120/Roswell Rd & Johnson Ferry Rd.

"Our equally poorly designed network of primary traffic arteries, which ended up this way due to miserably inept leadership and vision on the part of County government in zoning and traffic planning/engineering, is now maxed out in terms of width and ability to handle additional volume of traffic trying to go where the employment and commerce is."

I agree that the road network was poorly-planned (because it was not built to reduce traffic or even "planned" at all, but to INCREASE traffic to overdevelopment of strip malls and big-box stores), but the many of the relatively few major arteries we have (like Hwy 41/Cobb Parkway) can (and must) still be modified to increase traffic flow. On a road like Hwy 41/Cobb Pkwy, it makes absolutely no sense to dump tons of additional development on a roadway and refuse to do something as simple and as basic as widening the road from four travel lanes to six travel lanes.

When an area's population dramatically increases the roads have to be widened, there is just no way around it as even in transit-heavy cities like Chicago, Washington and even Toronto, which probably has the best transit on the continent, new roads have been built to handle the additional traffic.

Not-to-mention, auto-dominated areas like Texas (Dallas and, ESPECIALLY Houston) and Florida have widened and built new roads like crazy during their extreme population booms of the last 20 years with Houston widening sections of the I-10 freeway to as many as 26 LANES!!!! to accommodate the extra traffic from the dramatically increased population. Meanwhile in the Atlanta Region not one new freeway has opened since 1994 during a period of extreme growth in which the population doubled.

Refusing to widen the roads to handle more traffic, something that they HAPPILY do and are continuing to HAPPILY do in competing high-growth Sunbelt states like Florida and, ESPECIALLY Texas and North Carolina, is NOT a recipe for success.

In addition to widening the roads (as the first option), adding rail and mass transit can work (as a second option), but the rail lines have to be properly-placed (and funded) and not just thrown down anywhere as a haphazard attempt to further some scheming developers land spectulation profits, of which the proposed light rail line/maglev on Hwy 41 is a prime example.

Widen Hwy 41 to six travel lanes NOW (with continuous right and left-turn lanes in developed areas) and other traffic-clogged major arteries and worry about transit, if there is still a need, LATER.

Our competitors in Florida, Texas and North Carolina are not afraid to build new roads and widen existing ones, neither should we be afraid to do so in Georgia where the population has been growing just as fast (before the recession) in the last 20 years.



Br548
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January 08, 2012
No

Tsp lost no Tia no new taxes Period.
Who's afraid?
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January 08, 2012
Mr. Engineer "What are you afraid of?"

Has it occurred to you that some folks don't want to see the roads part of TSPLOST lost because of an ill conceived train to nowhere?

Rogers has it right, replace the train with the I-75 HOT lane project, and we'll fix some congestion for Cherokee and Cobb both.

Bring the train back when you get your engineering sorted out enough to tell us where the tracks go.
NotSOPC
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January 08, 2012
Of course Stoner supports the TIA tax.

Last I heard he was employed by a local engineering firm that is due to benefit substantially from it's passage.

Good Guess
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January 08, 2012
Does it rhyme with Roy?
CobbCountyRedneck
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January 08, 2012
We need to step back, take some time and make another attempt at coming up with a project list that makes sense.

Not only for Cobb County, but for the entire Metro Area.

It is pretty obvious that the current project list has been driven by Kasim Reed, MARTA and the special interest groups that gorge themselves at the transportation feeding trough.

Once other local politicians saw what these aforementioned groups were up to, they quickly reverted to their old habit of funding pet transportation projects in their jurisdictions.

Few of which have any regional impact.

So we end up with a disasterous TIA/TSPLOST project list that does nothing to foster a regional transportation solution.

Last GA Democrats
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January 09, 2012
"It is pretty obvious that the current project list has been driven by Kasim Reed, MARTA and the special interest groups that gorge themselves at the transportation feeding trough."

That is oh-so-true and you are very correct. Taxpayers are being taken for a very high-priced ride by a bunch of slick Intown hustlers.

The TIA/T-SPLOST isn't about congestion relief, it's about lining developers' and politicians' already really deep pockets.

re-engineering
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January 08, 2012
This is just another example of Republican "my way or the highway" attitude. They know the SPLOST vote will likely pass but now try to "re-engineer" it to get what they couldn't get in a plan which was from the bottom up. They want to now dictate what projects we can vote on and hide under the excuse that they don't think it will pass. Of course mass transit, which their donors and supporters would never use would certainly be cut. Many think the current plan is a great vision for Cobb. Why don't you let the voters decide? What are you afraid of?
SG68
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January 08, 2012
That is exactly the problem.

It may turn out that the voters in other counties (i.e. Fulton, Dekalb, Clayton, etc.) are going to decide how we address our traffic congestion problems in Cobb.

Cobb's project list allocates $859 MILLION dollars to a light rail project that is 95% located in Fulton County and does little or nothing for Cobb commuters.

Back to the drawing board with this disaster!!!
Darn It!
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January 08, 2012
The voters WILL decide either in July or November. Either date,any plan, I'm voting NO! I need my money to take care of my family.
Last GA Democrat
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January 09, 2012
"Many think the current plan is a great vision for Cobb."

If by "vision" you mean "boondoogle", then yes, I guess one can say that the current plan is a great vision.

The T-SPLOST is just another excuse for Atlanta politicians and spectulators to line their pockets with taxpayers money. It's just a more-expensive version of the do-nothing plan that we have now. Taxpayers should just save the money and do nothing because NOTHING is exactly want will happen if taxpayers and voters are fooled into giving even more of their hard-earned money to political slush funds, this time under a new name of "T-SPLOST".

If a transit line needs additional tax money to exist, then it doesn't need to exist, it's that simple.

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