Light Rail Announcement
Light Rail Announcement
Changing lanes: Lee asks to switch funds for reversible lanes
Jan 24, 2012 | 55 55 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend
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by Jon Gillooly
jgillooly@mdjonline.com
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Changing lanes: Lee asks to switch funds for reversible lanes
by Jon Gillooly
jgillooly@mdjonline.com
January 24, 2012 12:03 PM | 5334 views | 55 55 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Light Rail Announcement
Light Rail Announcement
Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews, second from left, and Cobb Board of Commissioners Chairman Tim Lee, second from right, asked the state Legislature to divert the $689 million line item earmarked for a light rail line or rapid bus transit system and instead use the funding for reversible traffic lanes on the Northwest Corridor I-75/575 P3 initiative recently halted by Gov. Nathan Deal. Supporting the proposal are state Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-west Cobb), left, and Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock), right.<br>Staff/Laura Moon
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ATLANTA — Cobb County Chairman Tim Lee announced Tuesday that he had changed his mind about asking taxpayers to fund a light rail or bus rapid transit line, and instead urged lawmakers to divert that money to a managed reversible toll lane project along Interstates 75 and 575. 

Lee made the announcement in a press conference at the Georgia Capitol flanked by Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews and state Sens. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) and Lindsey Tippins (R-west Cobb). 

Lee said the proposed rail line in the Transportation Improvement Act project list “basically is being sacrificed for this project unless we can find some way of working together with the state to manage both projects.”

The chairman pointed out Tuesday that he and Mathews, as Cobb’s two representatives on the Atlanta Regional Roundtable, voted to approve the TIA list before Gov. Nathan Deal pulled the plug on the Northwest Corridor I-75/575 P3 initiative in December. 

“We developed a list for TIA based on certain assumptions of projects that were going to be built,” Lee said. “One of those projects was the P3. So Mark and I put a list together that said, ‘if that’s being built, the next logical step is BRT to complement that as a third option to people sitting on 75.’ … The state made a substantial and material change to the transportation planning for the Northwest Corridor after the list was developed, and in my mind that warrants … trying to figure out if there’s a way to move the money from the BRT into this project.”

However, the Atlanta Regional Roundtable can no longer change the project list, according to its chairman, Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson. 

“There is no more roundtable,” Johnson said. “It ended when we had our vote, so there is no roundtable in place right now, and it would have to be done legislatively.” 

Lee acknowledged that changing the list through the roundtable was no longer possible. 

“It’s been recommended to us that the only next step that is viable is for legislators to intervene and make available the opportunity to move funding from existing project No. 35, which is the bus rapid transit system from Acworth down to Atlanta. … We’re asking legislators to take a look at this, work with state DOT, and try to figure out where we can fund the dual reversible managed lanes through the northwest corridor, either utilizing the funds here or through some other source.” 

But House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) said last week he was “not inclined” to allow any changes to it before the public votes on the 10-year, 1 percent tax in July. 

Rogers, who serves as the Senate’s majority leader, said he and Tippins have both spoken with the governor’s office about the I-75/575 project. 

“(Deal) is absolutely committed to that, and whether it’s in this or not, he wants that to happen, and we want that to happen, and everybody that sits through traffic everyday coming down through 75 and 575 wants that to happen,” Rogers said.

As for who would carry the legislation and what the next step will be, Rogers said, “We’ll get to the next step when we have an opportunity for the four of us and others in the Cobb Delegation to sit down and talk about where we go from here.”

Tippins said he is interested in pursuing the change because removing the private partner from the toll lane project allows the state to bundle it with the TIA projects and complete it for less money. 

“That’s reason enough in itself for me to take a look at it,” Tippins said.

Lee believes the $689 million funding earmark is sufficient to fund the reversible lane project. 

“My understanding is the projects are compatible and comparable in terms of its total cost,” Lee said. 

The I-75 project would be much different from the one that’s caused so much controversy in Gwinnett County, Lee said. 

“First it’s separate lanes, separate two lanes that are going to be build to the west of 75,” he said. “It will have separate access points other than those currently used for the main 75 traffic. So this particular roadway, these two lanes, will work totally independent of the existing I-75, so the conflicts that they’re having with 85 being an existing lane only one lane, and access points being the same as the regular highway aren’t a factor.” 

Lee said it was too early to say how or where drivers would pay the tolls, which would pay for maintenance of the new lanes.

The chairman also denied he was trying to revise the TIA list to help his election chances this year. 

“For eight years I’ve been an elected official in Cobb County, and I’ve never made a decision based on politics, and this is certainly not the first one,” Lee said. “I’m here to serve (the people of Cobb County), and politics is not a part of that.” 

Mathews said the latest proposal gives the transit tax a better chance of passing. 

“I think that is something that will be looked favorably by the residents of Cobb County,” Mathews said.

Ralston’s press secretary, Marshall Guest, did not answer phone messages or emails about the proposal on Tuesday, while Deal’s spokesman, Brian Robinson, said his policy was not to comment on pending or potential legislation. 

Deal halted the toll lane project in December, saying its public-private approach was not in the state’s best interest. The P3 would have added capacity along I-75/575 through Cobb and into Cherokee County by building two reversible toll lanes alongside I-75 from I-285 to I-575 and one reversible toll lane each along I-75 up to Hickory Grove Road and along I-575 up to Sixes Road. Deal explained in his State of the State address that he was, “opposed to contracting away Georgia’s sovereignty for a period of 60 to 70 years over a transportation corridor that is so vital to our future.” 

Originally, the largest project on Cobb’s Transportation Improvement Act list was an $856.5 million line item for a Midtown-Cumberland Mall light rail line. But after receiving public backlash from residents who asked how a rail line that was mostly in Fulton County would help the majority of Cobb County, Mathews and Lee scaled back that earmark to $689 million, diverting the remainder to targeting road improvements at places like Windy Hill. Lee said at the time that the revised plan, which he and Mathews voted for in October, would use $110 million of the $689 million earmark on a “premium” bus service from Acworth to Atlanta. The remaining $579 million would be used on whatever form of transportation an “alternatives analysis” county study due in 2013 recommended. That could be rail from Cumberland to Midtown, in which case the county would have to rely on the federal government to give it $277.5 million to fill the gap, a hope U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell) advised not to count on. Or the $579 million could be spent on a bus rapid transit system from Acworth to Midtown, Lee said at the time. 

Comments
(55)
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Dave Z.
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January 27, 2012
As for the Cherokee portion, wouldn't it just be easier and cheaper to build an additional (traditional) northbound HOV lane and an additional (traditional) southbound HOV lane in the median? I understand why a P3 arraingment wanted a single seperated, reversible lane that it could easily toll, but with P3 out of the picture, the state should revise the I-575 portion. Study this option, quickly, to see if it's cheaper. It'd defintiely function better.
samb
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January 26, 2012
The times changed and the slimy politicians(all of em moved too slow).

Right now there is so much double talk going on, I will make my job simple at the voting booth.

YOUR ALL GETTIN VOTED OUT....Dem and Repub alike.

All of you incumbants continue to do things the old way...and you may be helping yourselves out but you're not doing the rest of us any favors.

.........

The I-75 Suicide Lane Toll Booth is an extrememly bad idea.

Kill It. NOW.
Last GA Democrat
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January 26, 2012
The I-75 (I-575) toll lanes won't have traditional toll booths, but instead will have toll sensors in the form of a small box or a "Peach Pass" on the inside of motorists windshields like the highly-famed I-85 toll lanes. Right now, the technology is set up where carpool and single-occupant drivers have to call ahead to use the lanes.

And the reversible lanes will have gates (like the kind at railroad crossings) at every entrance to keep people from entering the lanes from the wrong direction at the wrong time. The reversible lanes will also have a period during the middle of the day (likely during the Noon hour) where all of the gates are closed, all of the entrances are shut down and the road is emptied of all traffic before the direction of the road is switched and the flow of the traffic is reversed from inbound to outbound traffic, the same thing will occur during the midnight hour to reverse the flow of the road from outbound to inbound.

Also any new carpool lanes that are funded with federal money these days must have adjustable tolls to push keep traffic from getting too heavy in the lanes and since the Feds would be putting up about $300 million or so of the funding for the lanes, that means that the lanes will be required to have adjustable tolls to keep the lanes clear for 3 person carpools and buses.

Needless to say, I'm not all that crazy about tolls either and would kind of like to see that large of a sum of money spent much more wisely.
THE TRUTH
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January 26, 2012
@Last Georgia Democrat. My comment about Cherokee officials not being there and Sen. Rogers (I know he represents Cherokee County) was SARCASM!

Get a clue!
Last GA Democrat
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January 26, 2012
No need to get unnecessarily snarky as intended sarcasm doesn't always come through the computer and you might (or might not) be surprised at how many people don't know something as simple as who their elected representatives are and the area that they serve.

Besides, I've got slightly more than a clue as I know A LOT more about what is going on then I'd like to know.

But your sarcasm and subsequent snark does help to raise a good question, like will Cherokee County be helping to pay the cost of this project, or will it all come from Cobb County's T-SPLOST revenues?
THE TRUTH
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January 26, 2012
Someone should ask that question of Senator Rogers. I am sure the MDJ readers and participants in this blog would like to know his answer to that. I bet the voters in Cherokee would bee keen to know as well.
anonymous
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January 25, 2012
Cobb County NEEDS transit to Atl. Why is this concept so difficult to comprehend? Cobb County is beginning to be an embarrassment- neanderthals in office.
truth hurts
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January 25, 2012
Fire Lee and Hankerson!
No New Taxes
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January 25, 2012
Vote NO!! No new taxes! Taxes are high enough---these corrupt politicians can get their money from private investors if needed! VOTE NO!!
TCW(TheCobbWay)
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January 25, 2012
Is Tim Lee a buffoon or what?

Surely someone will step up and replace him as Chairman.

If not, Cobb County is in for a long rough ride.
Fools and Money ....
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January 25, 2012
It looks like the strategy to keep rail out of Cobb is to spend all transporation improvement funds on ANYTHING else. We've even got Commisioners talking about spending some of the money on 'Passive Parks'.

And if you moved where you are for a good reverse commute, it looks like your happy days may be numbered!!!
A Taxpayer
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January 25, 2012
Why don't they just listen to us when we say WE ARE TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY!! NO NEW TAXES!!

I suppose they'll have no choice but to listen when we vote NO on this scheme. Then they'll REALLY get the message when we vote their butts out of office. Mark your calendars -- apparently they're doing another sneaky thing and scheduling this TSPLOST vote for sometime in July! (The article writer is vague on this)
Craig Kootsillas
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January 25, 2012
An issue that MUST be subject to public debate is whether or not Cobb taxpayers want a toll road.

With this 75/575 plan, it is true that NEW lanes will be built. It is true that this DOES make it different than the I-85 disaster.

It also is true that we will be handing this new responsibility to the government:

"How much are those Cobb Countians willing to pay to get to work on time today?"

Is this truly the role of government?

Last GA Democrat
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January 25, 2012
I guess that it beats the alternative of the state being stuck in a very long-term contract and not being able to make any type of transportation improvements, roads or mass transit, to parallel right-of-ways like Cobb Parkway for the next 50-70 years and having to pay hundreds-of-millions of dollars more to the partnering private company to be able to legally make those improvements on top of the cost of making improvements.

It should also be noted that the two elevated reversible lanes will be used more for peak-hour carpooling and bus rapid transit than as a toll road as adjustable tolls will be used primarily only to clear the lanes of excessive traffic during morning and evening rush hours and keep the lanes moving at a minimum of 45 m.p.h. for carpools and commuter buses.

Looking at what the state did with the I-85 HOT lanes a couple of weeks ago, tolls will more than likely be lowered to one-cent per mile during off-peak and non-rush hour periods. The state was trying to drop the tolls altogether during off-peak hours, but the Feds wouldn't let them do so.
Craig Kootsillas
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January 25, 2012
“We developed a list for TIA based on certain assumptions of projects that were going to be built,” Lee said.

STOP THE ALTERNATIVE ANALYSIS (AA) NOW

These are the same assumptions that were made when ONLY 4 OPTIONS were chosen to be considered by the AA.

Those options DID NOT include Rep. Setzler's Super Arterial concept. Those options DID NOT include Commish Ott's MagLev concept.

These decisions SHOULD NOT be made arbitrarily by elected officials INDEBTED to the development community.

They should be made as the result of ANALYSIS by engineers and INPUT from the community that will live with it.

It is time for a CORRIDOR study, such as the NWCS so that it is done in FULL VIEW.

And it must be managed and executed in the manner in which the NWCS was, not the charade that currently is the Alternative Analysis (AA).

samb
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January 26, 2012
Mr. Kootsillas.....I support your opinion. There are a lot of other ideas that could be considered.

My personal concern is that Cobb County officialdom is operating under 20th Century inertia. they are simply conducting the public's business the same way that it has always been done. More highways, wider lanes, no public transit.....

They are flying in the face of the reallities of the 21st century(the one we are living in NOW).

1. Gas will become more and more expensive....and THAT one factor is going to drive Cobb County to reconsider all manor of things:

1. Where we live.

2. Where we work.

3. Where we shop.

4. How goods and services are distributed.

5. Where food is grown.

on and on............

In Cobb County, I suspect we will start living closer to where we work, simply to economize on gas expenses. In my opinion, having a rail service from Cumberland Mall to Midtown makes a tremendous amount of sense, as it makes Cumberland even more of a business center and transportation hub....to NOT build this spur and to kill a goose that lays golden eggs!

and ...

on the other hand, a toll booth on I-75 will CHOKE transportation. It will cause the price of goods and services to INCREASE. And it will likely be a failure simply because most of us will AVOID IT.
Just Wait
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January 25, 2012
Reversible lanes are the perfect choice for Lee and Mathews. In fact, as often as they change course, it is almost mandatory.
samb
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January 26, 2012
Right On!
MAY-RETTA SURVIVOR
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January 25, 2012
Another "Bait & Switch" Scam. Corruption at it's best!
THE TRUTH
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January 25, 2012
I want to know why there were no Cherokee officials there standing in solidarity and offering to give up one of their projects or at least a portion of their TIA dollars to ensure the reversable lanes run through the southern portion of their county. I am sure Senator Rogers is going to make sure they are brought on board for this effort.
Last GA Democrat
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January 25, 2012
There were no Cherokee County representatives there (except for Senator Rogers, who technically is a Cherokee representative as he lives in Cherokee and his district encompasses the southern part of Cherokee County) because I think that they intend to pay for the whole project with Cobb County's portion of the T-SPLOST revenues with help from the Feds who had already committed roughly in the neighborhood of $300 million or so when the toll lane project was a P3 (public-private partnership).
SG68
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January 25, 2012
I am sure that the Cherokee officials took note of the fact that Kasim Reed got Tim Lee amd Mark Mathews to agree to pay for the light rail line for the City of Atlanta with Cobb taxpayer money.

So they probably figure that Dumb & Dumber will do the same for them when it comes to the reversible lane project.

It's bad enough that Tim Lee falls in love with every tax increase opportunity that comes along!!

However, the fact that he is willing to take those Cobb County generated tax revenues and pay for improvements in other political jurisdictions is insane.
What the!?
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January 25, 2012
So, how do we get these new lanes across the 'Hooch bottleneck? Would they stop before then?
Last GA Democrat
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January 25, 2012
The new elevated reversible lanes would stop before they reach the Chattahoochee as they would only primarily run on I-75 between the I-575 merge/split and the I-285 Cobb Cloverleaf where they would connect to the current existing HOV lanes that run south from I-285 into Atlanta.
mk-outer perimeter..
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January 25, 2012
I would imagine there was a meeting held w/ all the 'money men' , to come up w/ a plan, to quiet the Cobb nay sayers,... before they ruin it for everyone.

These boyz want their hands on this money sooooo bad,... they can taste it!

... is the ONLY thing that will help alleviate Atlantas traffic nightmares!! Don't you guys see the tanker & 18 wheeler wrecks ...on a DAILY basis?? The trucks have got to get on a seperate truck route!! Western Loop!!!!!Is ANYONE awake at the ARC???

You folks are willing to lie, cheat & steal!

The shell game has begun!!

... show me ONE thing that has been done in Cobb County over the past 10 years, to help make us proud, move traffic,.. our bring jobs,... ONE thing!... so what's different??

Until we rid Cobb of the good ole boys & bring in young , hungry visionaries,.. I don't trust a word!!

Last GA Democrat
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January 25, 2012
There were factions within state government that have been plotting all along to use Cobb's T-SPLOST revenues to fund the toll lanes as the P3 (Public-Private Partnership) never quite seemed like a sure thing due to the private companies' reluctance to put forth the entire $700 million that would be needed from them to fund the private part of the project and Governor Deal's reluctance to bind the state to a 50-70 year contract that may have severely restricted the state from making any additional transportation infrastructure improvements in that corridor.
anonymous
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January 25, 2012
If a bus route is really viable, why not let a private company handle the job?
Last GA Democrat
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January 25, 2012
@ SG68:

"However this does not mean that we don't need some type of high capacity transit in the I-75 corridor......Let's see. The state isn't going to provide any funding for transit, the TSPLOST funding for transit is being reassigned and the feds certainly don't have funding for transit......So where does this leave us?"

Assigning the $700 million from the misguided light rail line and "Extensive Premium Bus Service", whatever that means, actually leaves us in pretty good shape as we will gain some very much desired additional road capacity on I-75 which is very important with a massive uptick in the amount of already extremely heavy truck traffic looming when the Port of Savannah expands in a few years.

Hopefully the state can be convinced to change the HOT Lane proposal from two reversible lanes to three reversible lanes as the Port of Savannah expansion will likely render I-75 OTP almost completely impassible without some kind of immediate significant expansion of the roadway.

High-frequency park-and-ride commuter bus service can also be operated more efficiently within the tolled carpool lanes as the tolls will keep the lanes free of the gridlock that plagues the general purpose lanes.

Elevated HOT Lanes on I-75 may not be the most desirable place to start for most residents of the I-75/I-575 NW Metro Corridor, but with the impending increase in truck freight traffic coming from the Port of Savannah expansion, it is the best place to start with transportation infrastructure improvements because it is a capacity-increasing project that can be completed with in four years and will actually run through Cobb County and impact traffic on I-75 in Cobb, as opposed to the proposed light rail line which would have been paid completely for by Cobb taxpayers and virtually all of which would have been in Fulton County.

High-frequency, high-capacity rail transit can still be pursued as even with the construction of three additional lanes on I-75, it will still be important to try and pull as much local commuting traffic off of I-75 to make way for the massive uptick in freight truck traffic that will be generated by the Port of Savannah expansion.

It's just that rail transit will take MUCH LONGER (several years longer) to come online than the HOT Lanes, when we don't have several years longer to wait for rail transit to come online while they figure out where to run it, how to operate it, how to fund it, etc.

anonymous
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January 25, 2012
Exactly what does the gas tax that I pay a gallon to to pay for? It used to be the roads only, now I pay tax on a gallon of gas and it goes where??????
Last GA Democrat
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January 25, 2012
anonymous:

One percent of that 7.5 cents-per-gallon gas tax actually goes into the state's general fund as opposed to maintaining the roads that the state is responsible for.

The rest of that 7.5 cents-per-gallon gas tax, which is the lowest in the nation per-capita, despite Georgia having the nation's eighth-largest population, goes into the coffers of an organization that has degenerated from being one of the nation's most highly-regarded state road maintenance agencies back in the 1990's to, in recent years, what has possibly become the nation's most inept and dysfunctional state transportation and road maintenance agency, the Georgia Department of Transportation.

GDOT is an agency that in recent years lost over $430 million dollars of billing invoices in a desk and also just recently found $1 BILLION dollars that it had previously lost and did not know it had lost. Needless to say, right now GDOT couldn't find its face with a mirror.
SG68
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January 25, 2012
@ Last GA Democrat

I agree both infrastructure improvements (HOT lanes and high capacity transit) are needed and necessary.

I do, however, disagree with your contention that the rail transit would take longer to implement.

As long as the feds aren't involved the time required to construct and put a high capcity transit system in service could be reduced significantly.

In an Ott Town Hall meeting I attended a couple of months ago the AMT (maglev) folks said they could construct a system in about two years if they could utilize existing right of way in I-75.

I think that was overly optimistic, but wouldn't it be great if it could be done at the same time as the road project and completed concurrently.

Shouldn't that, at least, be considered?

Last GA Democrat
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January 25, 2012
Just the fact that there are disagreements as to which right-of-way would be best to implement Maglev trains on, I-75 or Hwy 41/Cobb Parkway, is proof alone that a rail option would take much longer to implement than the elevated dual elevated tolled carpool lanes on I-75 which will also support bus transit.

Although, the only reason why the I-75 toll lane project would only take 3-4 years to complete at this point is because the state has been working on the design of the proposal for about a decade.

Also keep-in-mind that both Hwy 41/Cobb Parkway and I-75 are state-owned and maintained highways, which means that the express cooperation and eventual approval of what has devolved into a very loopy state government (GDOT) would be needed before private Maglev trains would be able to operate on either right-of-way.

Also don't forget about the seemingly endless studies that would be undertaken by the state and the region to see if Maglev would be the best transportation option for either the I-75 or Hwy 41 right-of-ways and the contractual issues of having a privately financed, constructed and operated train line, whose technology and benefits some may find questionable or even may outright object to, proposed to run within the right-of-way of two very busy major public roads.

SG68, Maglev trains sound like a very exciting option for the NW Metro Corridor, but I think that many of the train's backers are forgetting all of the drawn out messy bureaucratic and democratic processes that would have to occur for those trains to ever become a reality within the public right-of-way of either of the major roads of I-75 or Hwy 41.

Attempting to get the Maglev trains online would require a messy process that would take many years from the inception of the idea as some type of rail transit has been discussed as a transportation option in the I-75 NW Corridor for at least 20 years, an option that has only been increasingly considered as a realistic option because of the increasingly crushing traffic congestion of the recent decade and the coming massive uptick in freight truck traffic that will be generated by the pending expansion of the Port of Savannah.

Just look at how long it has been since I-75 was last widened, over a quarter-of-a-century ago or at how long increasing transit has been discussed before long-skeptical state leaders and local residents were forced to embrace the multimodal concept because of worsening horrific traffic congestion and outright gridlock.
SG68
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January 25, 2012
All good and relevant points.

The directives would have to come directly from the Governor's office and there would have to be the political will, both locally and at the state level, to move forward quickly.

As for the I-75 corridor or the US 41 corridor issue.

A basic decision.

Do we want to put an efficient transportation system in place to compete with the automoble

or

are we going to try to make it an economic/redevelopment tool as well?

Ideally both.

however

I vote for a transportation solution in the I-75 corridor. That's the primary purpose.

The economic development impact is secondary and will naturally follow.

Cobb Parkway is so complicated. I-75 is relatively "clean" except for, as you pointed out the bureaucratic gordian knot that would need to be unraveled (i.e utilities, more intersections, business interruption, etc. etc.)

anonymous
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January 24, 2012
This is not a time for potshots at politicians. Let's acknowledge that this is really good news, and good for the citizens of Cobb County. Let's hope the Legislature gets their job done.
Last GA Democrat
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January 25, 2012
I wouldn't necessarily say that this is really good news as the tolls on the reversible lanes will shoot through the roof at rush hour to keep the lanes flowing at 45 m.p.h., but it is more than likely the best news that we are going to get when it comes to some type of minimal traffic relief in the I-75 NW Corridor.
Pissed in Mableton
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January 24, 2012
It's too late to care now Mr. Lee! The General Assembly will not do this as everyone will want to make changes to their lists (here comes the well, the citizens have spoken, the new study is out, we were rushed to make a decision..political career saving lines that will be echoed).

We can't even afford to modernize CCT. It seems like everytime we create routes, we are quickly cutting them or have them run so irregular that nobody wants to ride the damn thing. Try riding the Town Center bus, you can walk to the Marietta Transfer Center faster than the bus will get you there at times.

I will be voting no as once again, Cobb is more concerned about commuters and residents living in Cherokee and Bartow counties than those of us who live in South Cobb.
Last GA Democrat
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January 25, 2012
Pissed in Mableton:

"It's too late to care now Mr. Lee! The General Assembly will not do this as everyone will want to make changes to their lists (here comes the well, the citizens have spoken, the new study is out, we were rushed to make a decision..political career saving lines that will be echoed)."

I don't know how the General Assembly would go about being involved in changing the list, but it is known that this shift in funds from transit to HOT lanes on I-75 has the backing of Governor Deal himself for both logistical and political reasons.



Last GA Democrat
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January 25, 2012
Pissed in Mableton:

"I will be voting no as once again, Cobb is more concerned about commuters and residents living in Cherokee and Bartow counties than those of us who live in South Cobb."

I don't know if you are aware, but the state does have (long-dormant) plans to run future high-frequency commuter train service between Atlanta and Rome and between Atlanta and Bremen on the Amtrak/Norfolk Southern rail line that runs directly through the center of Mableton.

Get in contact with the leaders of the Cobb state legislative delegation and the Governor's office and light a fire under them to get that long-inactive proposal moving as a P3 (public-private partnership) funded with user fees, private contributions and donations as opposed to tax increases.

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