Letter to the Editor: Mike Lowry Sees No Real Transit Relief in ARC Projects

The Atlanta Regional Commission is working on putting together a transportation project list for local counties, but Roswell resident, Mike Lowry, says it won't help. Send your own "Letter to the Editor" to christine.foster@patch.com

"Examining the most recent [Atanta Regional Commission] project list, I find that almost half of the money is allocated to something called 'transit.'

This is a term that I interpret as an attempt not to say 'rail.'

I have been a resident of metro Atlanta for 47 years and of Roswell for 19 years. In watching the history of rail transit here, I find that it is much more of a political monument than a solution for the region’s transportation problems. It does nothing to alleviate congestion. It costs twice as much per passenger mile as automobiles and generates almost twice the Co2 emissions. 

What is the objective?

While MARTA was building out its hub-and-spoke design, absorbing obscene amounts of tax money, the metro area was evolving into a grid.  Every origin-destination study I have seen bears this out. People need to travel from Roswell to Duluth, from Marietta to Roswell, from Norcross to Sandy Springs.

The money being wasted on rail could be much better applied to solving the real congestion problems of the region. Check out Randal O’Toole’s study for some background facts; instead of the current smoke being generated by ARC.

I live in Wildwood Springs, 6.2 miles from Ga. 400. There are 16 stoplights on Holcomb Bridge Road between my house and Ga. 400.  This supposed 'artery' is nothing but a congestion generator. Every single east-west 'artery' in North Fulton is the same. 

Why not work on a solution for this problem instead of wasting our money on rail?

The big developers who control the ARC, such as Cousins and Dewberry are the only beneficiaries of rail expenditure. They build high-density, multi-use complexes and gain significant added value if rail transit is close by.

The citizens of Roswell gain nothing from this.  

I hope you will join in opposition to this plan. It is badly conceived, badly executed and will tax the citizens of Roswell without any benefit. The [Georgia] General Assembly needs to start over and fix the real problem – a dysfunctional Department of Transportation. We don’t need to extract another $10 billion in taxes from our local economy to do it, either." 


Mike Lowry

Lee Fleck September 23, 2011 at 12:16 PM
I have to agree with Mr. Lowery. 47% of the revenues of this 1 cent sales tax will go to "transit" projects. Only about $300 million will be appropriated for local municipal governments to address their individual transportation needs. Roswell & Sandy Springs alone have capital projects totalling $160 million. I also agree with Mayor Wood and the other mayors that a Regional Transit Authority must be established before the referendum. We need professionals & engineers advising the public not politicians or their appoinees. Lee Fleck
Sean September 23, 2011 at 12:23 PM
Lack of accountability over resource allocation is also a concern. Taxes paid by north Fulton residents are a great source of revenue for MARTA. Yet when MARTA management has been asked for an itemized list of money spent on north Fulton rail development, they’ve said, "that information is not available." Is it unreasonable to suggest that residents are putting up the funds but not seeing that manifest as service? It's a fair question.
Jake Lilley September 23, 2011 at 07:25 PM
Great Letter Mike. I attended the T-SPLOST Atlanta Regional Roundtable Public Meeting at the North Fulton Service Center on Wednesday, 9/22. The Sierra Club was there with a big group of people. They told me that they are an environmental group and represented the “Fair Share for Transit Coalition.” I spoke with one young lady at length. She said the mission of the Fair Share Coalition was to make sure that MARTA projects (rail, light rail and bus) received 40% – 60% of the new tax revenue. When I asked her how they had concluded that 40% - 60% was the “fair share,” she paused for a moment, and then said, “Somebody else made it up. I don’t know where it came from!” and then she started to laugh. I couldn’t believe it! As I left the meeting, FGTV stopped me and asked for a comment. Among other things, I said, "There has been a lot of talk about fair share tonight. One thing that I have learned about fair share is that it is usually Not fair, and it’s almost always going to come out of my share."


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