.

TSPLOST Isn't About Congestion Relief

TIA proponent's comments are an admission that the purpose of the T-SPLOST project list is not congestion relief but to fundamentally change the density and distribution of metro Atlanta's population.

Monday evening, May 21, . The meeting was moderated by Roswell Councilwoman Dr. Betty Price. There was panel of six speakers – some pro, some con. Among the speakers were myself, and

  • Bob Ross, a retired Army colonel,
  • Steve Brown, a Fayette County Commissioner,
  • Brandon Beach, president of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce and a member of the GDOT board,
  • Tom Leslie, Director of External Affairs, Georgia Engineering Alliance, a TIA advocacy group, and
  • Steve Acenbrak, the city of Roswell’s Director of Transportation.

Each of us spoke for five minutes, then the floor was opened for 60 minutes of Q & A. After much spirited discussion, the formal meeting ended and a number of informal discussions ensued.

During one of the informal discussions Tom Leslie told one of the attendees, “population follows transportation infrastructure.” To summarize, what came out is the underlying purpose of this so-called transportation initiative is not relief of traffic congestion, it is to fundamentally change the density and distribution of metro-Atlanta’s population. By their statements and advocacy, the proponents are admitting that this is a grandiose plan to line the pockets of in-town developers, commercial realtors and construction trade cronies at taxpayer expense.   

Georgia, we can do better than this. Vote this monstrosity down and let’s have a
do-over.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mike Lowry May 29, 2012 at 05:54 PM
If I read MARTA's annual report correctly, their ridership has declined in each of the last 3 years. At its current cost, expanding it area wide would bankrupt all of us. As for hot real estate, I think you might learn something by looking at Avalon, or by talking to Rubbermaid, Exide or any other of the large companies that have chosen to move to suburban locations. Atlanta's major draw for the last 30 years has been its great suburban lifestyle. We should be spending our tax dollars making suburban driving easier, not trying to push everyone into trains and busses. The TRAFFIC you think is stunting growth can be much better relieved if we didn't spend so much on transit.
Suzannah Mayo May 29, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Actually, there really is not much traffic for those who live in town. It is mostly the commuter traffic from the suburbs that is the problem. There a couple of surface streets like near Lenox and WPF that can get backed up, but it is pretty easy to drive around town compared to most major cities.
Brian Wheeler May 29, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Again, looking at a three year trend for any transportation figure is disingenuous. What occurred during the past three years? The greatest recession in over a century, hard to accurately gauge any real trending numbers there I'd say. So, Mike are you saying then that Home Depot, Cox, Weather Channel, AT&T, etc should just abandon their billion dollar headquarters and move 10-20 miles north? Doesn't make much sense and it isn't going to happen. And Suzannah, why do you think it's 'easy' to drive around in-town? Because people can walk, or take MARTA, or ride their bike to work!
Brian Wheeler May 29, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Mike, have you driven on GA400 recently? Has that expansion of lanes helped? How many lanes should we make I-85, or I-75, 10 lanes wide, 20? 30? Any and all transportation study shows you that as soon as you expand a road's capacity it is quickly filled up with traffic. Unless you stop population growth that will always be the case. Look at LA, how many super-highways does LA have? How's the traffic there working out for them? LA has just started to invest in its subway system because people there have realized building more roads does not solve the problem.
Suzannah Mayo May 29, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Most ppl still commute by car as we are a pretty low density city, and MARTA offers relatively few options (although my son does take it every day to school). I think what I am saying is that the problem is that of the suburban communities who are actively (and financially) removing themselves from Fulton Co. and ATL. Intown we already pay the bulk of the taxes for the city AND it's commuters. I think it is the responsibility of the commuters to bear this (their) burden. If the counties who are commuters pay to link up with MARTA, MARTA will increase ridership enough to expand internally (assuming they administer appropriately).
Dianne May 29, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Read the Wed., May 23, Roswell Neighbor front page story: "Senator John Albers and approximately 10 others are working on a good Plan B that will put the responsibility to make road improvements in the hands of local transportation departments in north Fulton Co., and take it away from the dysfunctional GaDOT. Read the front page of this week's Roswell Neighbor to see the entire story. This is the path all local communities should be taking. Anytime a community, county or state receives federal funds for anything, you must remember that it comes with huge strings attached."
Dianne May 29, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Excerpts from an article this week in Investof's Business Daily by Marilyn Alva entitled Suburbs vs. City? Americans Want Homes with Backyards "Had the (housing) market not fallen, they would have moved," he said. "Cities and inner suburbs are able to hang on because they're getting windfall stayers." College graduates typically flock to big cities to start careers but later move to suburbs as they marry and start families. Before the crash and especially as new developments sprang up in outlying suburbs, they kept moving farther out, attracted by lower prices and more space. "As the economy has some recovery, you'll see a reversion to type. Once people get into their 30s they will tend to go where they went before. Generally it will be to the suburbs," said urban historian Joel Kotkin, a fellow at Chapman University in Orange, Calif. More new housing and services will be needed in the suburbs to accommodate everyone who wants to live there, he says. Jed Kolko, Trulia's chief economist stated "But when we look at search behavior, we see more searches from urban areas to suburban areas than the other way around." In a survey of lifestyle choices by consultants Frank N. Magid Associates for a Realtor group, 43% of millennials age 18 to 28 said their "ideal" place to live would be a suburb. "Big city" and "small city" choices trailed at 17% each. Older generations also said they preferred a suburb, with 31% saying it was their "ideal."
Dianne May 29, 2012 at 11:41 PM
You are so right, Mike.
Dianne May 29, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Brian, I can tell you are a Nanny Stater....................."it's a government SERVICE." you said. I don't believe the government owes us anything like mass transit, and I don't want the government to owe me mass transit. With the internet we have today, I don't really think we need school libraires...........it's all on the internet. I'm not opposed to paying taxes, but I am opposed to paying taxes for something I don't use, don't want to use, and will not use............MARTA. The ARC is a regionally APPOINTED entity which is not accountable or responsible to the voters. Sorry, but I don't want regional government. I prefer my local, county and state government where the voters can make those elected accountable for their decisions and votes.
Dianne May 29, 2012 at 11:47 PM
An irrational argument, Brian.
Dianne May 29, 2012 at 11:47 PM
You are right, JAH.
Dianne May 29, 2012 at 11:48 PM
You're right JAH.................... they are hysterical and irrational.
Dianne May 29, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Try this alternative plan on for size, Brian. It 's on the front page of the Roswell Neighbor, Wed., May 23, an article in which Sen. John Albers outlines Plan B, which makes more sense than regional government, which I don't think is constitutional.
Dianne May 29, 2012 at 11:55 PM
You're right, JAH. Keep giving to the dysfunctional and broke GDOT, and see what happens to the $8B. What a solution that Brian proposes!!! HA, HA, HA!
Dianne May 29, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Brian............do you honestly think the appointed GDOT is being held accountable??? HA, HA, HA!!!!
Dianne May 29, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Mike, you are right about Atlanta's low density being an asset.
Dianne May 29, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Tonight on Ch. 2, the hottest R.E. markets are in Cobb Co. suburbs. Selling like hot cakes. Check your facts.
Dianne May 30, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Suzannah...........you are right. The majority of people in the North Fulton area want to remove themselves from Fulton Co., and revert back to the old Milton Co. where we will get more for our tax dollars than we are currently getting.
Suzannah Mayo May 30, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Diane this is much more eloquent than I could have stated. All in all it does go back to the original context of this thread which is there is no accountability for financial vestiture and no agreed upon needs for the area being served. From what I can tell it is an open book with no COMMITMENT to ANY transportation project.
Brian Wheeler May 30, 2012 at 12:35 AM
Dianne, you are a 'what's in it for me' er. In fact, you probably voted for the clown governors and state reps that appoint the dysfunctional state government we have today.
Brian Wheeler May 30, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Really, that argument is about as irrational as your argument. I don't use mass transit, so I shouldn't have to pay for it. Well, I've never needed the police so I shouldn't have to pay for them.
Brian Wheeler May 30, 2012 at 12:38 AM
What's so funny about you Dianne is you keep speaking to this 'Plan B' that will offer a fix. Really? Then why has this plan taken until now for it's proponents to come up with? I can not wait until this 'Plan B' is unveiled so it can be picked apart just as easily, if not easier, than how you ridicule and scorn the current plan. Where was this 'Plan B' all of these years as our transportation system continued to degrade?
Brian Wheeler May 30, 2012 at 12:40 AM
HA HA Dianne, let's add up the BILLIONS upon BILLIONS we've spent so far on the massive networks of roads that you've certainly supported all of these years and that have left us all in the situation we are in now. I'm sure the $8 billion pales in comparison to the untold billions we've thrown at the road construction and repair crews.
Brian Wheeler May 30, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Besides being rude, Dianne, you're just wrong. Perhaps the homes in Cobb are as you say "selling like hotcakes" because the market has never been worse for the area? http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/housing/story/2012-05-29/home-prices-case-shiller-index-march/55259192/1 Atlanta continues to lead the nation in price decreases thanks to a glut of homes. Atlanta's price drop is the HIGHEST in the nation: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303395604577434493665562430.html?mod=googlenews_wsj In Atlanta, Housing Woes Reflect Nation’s Pain (note the hilarious byline of Marietta, you know the 'hot cake' selling center of Atlanta). "Local unemployment, at 9.2 percent, is slightly higher than the national rate, in part because one in every four jobs lost was connected to real estate, a much higher rate than in the rest of the country. Those jobs have yet to return, while even people with work are having trouble qualifying for loans. The region, plagued by mortgage fraud and developers who dotted the exurban landscape with large luxury homes that never sold, is inundated with foreclosed properties. In fact, Atlanta has the most government-owned foreclosed properties for sale of any large city." Did you catch that part about 'landscape with large luxury homes that never sold'? More of the shortsighted, narrow-minded thinking you advocate. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/01/business/economy/in-atlanta-housing-woes-reflect-nations-economic-pain.html?pagewanted=all
Brian Wheeler May 30, 2012 at 01:08 AM
PS: From the ABC: "Each of the five highest average sales price ZIP codes in Atlanta are clustered around the Buckhead and Vinings areas." http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/print-edition/2012/02/03/high-end-homes-took-beating-on-price.html?page=all Hot cakes people!
Brian Wheeler May 30, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Hmm...for some reason, this isn't jiving with what Mike, Dianne & JAH all say: "Demographers who have parsed the data suggest that the biggest story is a slowdown in the growth of far out “exurban” counties on the fringe of big cities, while new residents are moving to core counties and inner cities at an increasing rate." http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/real_talk/2012/04/latest-census-indicates-good-news-for.html "At a finer grain level, growth in Fulton and Dekalb outpaced Gwinnett and Cobb last year by 26 percent, a stark reversal of the prior decade’s patterns."
Brian Wheeler May 30, 2012 at 01:20 AM
I just read that stunning article from the Roswell Neighbor, and Dianne, forgive me, you are 100% right. I mean besides the fact that Albers has zero details, zero information on how his 'Plan B' will be funded, zero details on what projects will be included, zero details on if voters will even get to vote on his 'Plan B', zero details on when the Plan B will be unveiled, zero details on whom is lobbying him on the details of his proposal and absolutely information as to WHEN he'll unveil his Magna Carta of ATL transportation, I think it WILL WORK. I'm sold, both you and Mike Lowry have sold me on this non-existent document. I'm glad Sen. Albers has come to the rescue, about two years after the current proposal was first begun: http://roswell-neighbor.com/stories/Albers-at-work-on-Plan-B-for-transportation,184670?content_source=&category_id=6&search_filter=&event_mode=&event_ts_from=&list_type=&order_by=&order_sort=&content_class=&sub_type=&town_id=&page=
Paula M June 02, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Bryan, thank you for a well thought out plan, unfortunately it looks like no one listened. The south isn't known for being open minded or connecting the big picture.
Suzannah Mayo June 02, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Bryan, perhaps the counties of Gwinnet, Clayton and the cities of Hapeville, Riverdale and Doraville can support these stations. Fulton county and Atlanta can support the stations in their boundaries. How does this sound? Seems more than fair to me.
Suzannah Mayo June 02, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Paula, you need to check yourself. Just because people do not agree with you does not mean they are close minded. Your comment suggests the opposite.

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