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At the Aug. 4 roundtable meeting, Georgians for Passenger Rail argued that the Griffin commuter rail line should be considered for the draft project list. According to a spokesman, the line meets all of the roundtable criteria for project selection. If the debate at Thursday’s roundtable is any indication, the group must still refine its vision, which will largely determine whether rails or roads will define metro Atlanta’s future.
DeKalb County Commissioner Lee makes the case to the Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable for transit in the I-20 corridor at Thursday’s roundtable meeting.
During the meeting, the roundtable executive committee voted in favor of including 6 transit projects on the draft final project list. The process mandated by the Transportation Investment Act requires the roundtable to deliver a draft final project list by Aug. 15. The roundtable must deliver a final project list by Oct. 15.
Dear Member of the Roundtable Executive Committee,
Thank you for your commitment to our region through your work on the Roundtable.
As you work with other members of the committee to prepare a draft project list for consideration by the full Regional Transportation Roundtable, please remember these four reasons why a list that emphasizes transit makes so much sense for our region:
- In terms of jobs created, economic impact on a community, the ability to move people reliably between major job and population centers, and the positive impact on surrounding real estate development, rail transit offers an unsurpassed package of economic benefits. Businesses increasingly want to invest where permanent, reliable transit is available.
- “Atlanta tastes Dallas’ dust” was the headline in a recent issue of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The accompanying story explained that, among other things, Dallas has built almost three times the miles of transit rail track that Atlanta has, and it is building more. Other competitor cities in the Sun Belt that have made recent rail transit strides include Charlotte, Phoenix and Salt Lake City. Metro Atlantans are used to raising dust, not eating it. We need to get to the front of the pack again.
- A strong majority of our citizens consistently send the message – through polls, focus groups, telephone town hall meetings, and other means – that they see expanded transit as a top priority. They want a balanced and equitable transportation investment program.
- As the recent ARC board discussion on Plan 2040 demonstrated, there is no other new transit funding source potentially available to the region. Roads will receive the lion’s share of transportation funding that will be made available through the TIP, local SPLOSTS, and the TIA set-aside. If there is no significant funding for transit provided through the regional project list, there will be no expansion of the region’s transit system for the next generation. Without help from next year’s tax referendum, there is no Plan A for transit, much less a Plan B.
Bottom line: The project list should include at least 60 percent, or approximately $4 billion in transit projects. We’ve got to do something different if we expect to make a difference.
Transportation spending in our region over the years 2013 – 2023, including the projected sales tax revenues, will likely reach $16 billion. If we allocated $4 billion to transit, we’d still be spending just 25 percent of total transportation revenue on transit. Can our community afford to do anything less?
Thank you again for your time and for your hard work.
Former Atlanta resident Curtis Mayfield once sang Keep On Keeping On.
Metro Atlanta now ponders whether it can afford to keep on keeping on when it comes to its transportation investments.
The Civic League for Regional Atlanta hosted a town hall Saturday focused on metro Atlanta’s transportation future.
The process mandated by the Transportation Investment Act calls for the Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable to deliver a draft “constrained list” by Aug. 15.
Earlier this summer, the roundtable voted to have the Atlanta Regional Commission winnow the $23 billion list into an $11.5 billion list.
If the transporation tax referendum passes next year, it is anticipated it will generate $6.1 billion to improve metro Atlanta’s transportation infrastructure during the lifetime of the tax.
The list the roundtable produces for the Aug. 15 deadline will be their first stab at a generating a list that meets that $6.1 billion revenue projection.
According to Atlanta Regional Commission external affairs manager Kathryn Lawler, the roundtable has spent the summer listening to residents through a series of telephone town halls.
The roundtable has also heard from other constituencies, such as the Livable Communities Coalition and its Fair Share for Transit stakeholders. Fair Share for Transit originally called for a significant transit investment of 40 to 60 percent at its March launch.
The Civic League’s Get a Move On town hall provided another opportunity for metro residents to deliver their message to the roundtable; yet, it remains unclear whether a true transit vision will emerge from this process.
Fulton County residents recently had the opportunity to talk to their elected officials about the region’s transportation future. The Atlanta Regional Commission hosted a series of tele town halls targeting registered voters in the ten-county area. The process mandated by the Transportation Investment Act calls for the Regional Roundtable to generate a final transportation list by October 15.
DeKalb County residents recently had the opportunity to talk to their elected official’s about the region’s transportation future. The Atlanta Regional Commission hosted a series of tele town halls targeting registered voters in the ten-county area. The process mandated by the Transportation Investment Act calls for the Regional Roundtable to generate a final transportation list by October 15.
ATLANTA – It may surprise some that there is such a thing as a conservative case for transit.
That is the point noted conservative transit advocate Bill Lind made at Friday’s Sustainable Atlanta Roundtable, where he was the featured speaker. Lind is the director of the American Conservative Center of Public Transportation.
The challenge ahead for transit supporters in metro Atlanta is to effectively engage conservatives and use the language that resonates with conservatives. If they do not, Lind assures, the transportation referendum scheduled for summer 2012.
“It is entirely possible to convince conservatives to support public transportation, provided the policies and the projects have been thought-through well,” Lind notes. If you ignore them, if you pretend they do not exist, if you do not answer the critics…if you write them off or try to talk to them with liberal arguments, you will get so few of their votes there is a very good chance your referendum is going to lose.”
Lind co-authored Moving Minds: Conservatives and Public Transportation. The Livable Communities Coalition invited Lind to Atlanta to help transit supporters use the appropriate language in talking to conservatives about transit.
The Livable Communities Coalition has launched the Fair Share for Transit initiative to try to ensure that transit is well-represented in the final transportation list. The Regional Roundtable will now refine the unconstrained list that the Georgia Deparment of Transportation has released to them after their analysis.
The Roundtable must create its final list by Oct. 15.
“As conservatives we know that in a great many ways what our society once had was a great deal better than what we have now,” Lind says. “And, one of those things was our wonderful streetcar system.”