You Want Rail? I'll Give You Rail . . .

. . . and jobs, too! There is a far better alternative than what T-SPLOST supporters are claiming.

To hear supporters of the T-SPLOST speak, if the T-SPLOST does not pass, not only will the Atlanta area no longer be attractive to companies looking to relocate, we'll actually start running companies off that are already located here. How preposterous!

For decades now, the Atlanta REGION has been a destination for companies to locate facilities here. Several have even relocated their corporate headquarters here. Many of those, though, have located regional offices here, primarily in Atlanta's suburbs. Over all those years, there has NEVER been rail transit EXCEPT in Fulton and Dekalb counties. Yet, companies STILL seek to move here.

So, many of the supporters of the T-SPLOST claim the referendum will reduce congestion. Then, the Georgia DOT lets it slip that passage of the measure would not appreciably reduce our "congestion problem." In fact, it appears the REAL purpose of the T-SPLOST is for economic development. Supporters point to the fact that everywhere there's a MARTA rail station, office and retail development soon follows.

I don't know about you, but I'm not really interested in having Cobb Countians pay almost a billion dollars in taxes to spur real estate development inside the Perimeter.

I'm predicting a devastating loss for the T-SPLOST. So, here's an idea that could offer a more widely used rail system AND create development opportunities virtually statewide. What IF we had light rail or monorail that ran from Chattanooga through Macon to Savannah and from Columbus through Macon to Augusta? What IF we allowed it to be funded completely through private investment? What IF MARTA were merely part of that system instead of the center of the hub? And, what IF passengers actually paid the REAL cost of their ride on the system?

I believe such a system COULD be done privately on existing interstate right-of-way by private companies without a single dime of taxpayer money. In fact, I believe it could be completely FINISHED by the time MARTA could finish the short line from Cumberland Mall to Midtown Atlanta. Incentives could be offered to the first contractor to finish their particular section of the project, say a billion dollars.

Imagine the jobs created all across the state building this transportation system. Imagine the development that would follow. Imagine how attractive Georgia would be by having private companies building such an extensive transportation network. Imagine Atlanta, its suburbs and outlying areas cooperating while enhancing their own areas.

I believe such a system holds much more promise than a centrally controlled effort like the T-SPLOST. We have far to many opportunities AROUND Atlanta to be bound to one big project. Let's put our minds and resources to work creating opportunities for ALL Georgians.

Read more about TSPLOST on the Smyrna-Vinings Patch TSPLOST topic page. 

Bryan Farley July 30, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Also why does everyone think private investment can provide better service. They are in it for a profit so why would they manage a system that will probably never make a profit. TRANSIT DOES NOT MAKE A PROFIT!! ROADS DON'T MAKE A PROFIT!! Then there is the argument "let the riders pay for it." Well how about you pay for paving your own streets and see if you could afford it. That's what taxes are for. So many older people aren't for it because they live in their nice suburbs and don't care about what happens in ATL. The truth is if Atlanta fails the entire region (heck the entire state) fails! This is a project list that helps the entire region and was approved by leaders across the entire region. You hear "...when you come up with something better I will vote for it." What is better than having projects for the entire region and the money is being split almost 50/50 for roads and transit? No one will come up with a better plan and if this fails you don't have to worry about paying more taxes. You pay it in more HOT lanes that will be forced on to you. Leaders have already made it clear that if this doesn't pass more toll lanes are coming.
Bryan Farley July 30, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Even as a supporter I do feel this SPLOST will be defeated. Too many old people who don't care about the future, too many groups and organizations that are upset because one or two projects didn't make the list, and too many uninformed citizens that are going off of what they hear. When we show we won't even support our own projects with local money, why are the feds going to give us additional money for roads and transit? All the projects that need more money or could be covered by the feds and state aren't going to happen at all. So to all the no voters if this doesn't pass I say HOOOOORAY!!!! Hooray on doing absolutely nothing and keeping us at the same stage we are on now. Hooray for letting our competitors advance. Hooray for job loses. Hooray for ten years down the line we are in the same situation!! HOORAY TO FAILURE!! For all those for progress please vote YES!
Brian July 30, 2012 at 05:10 PM
To be honest, people are usually very happy with Smyrna elementary schools, and the high school (Campbell ranked ~600 nationally). It's the middle schools that need work, but they are improving and I think the rising wealth level has something to do with it. There's still a good amount of time before my daughter starts middle school. King Springs beat Teasely (Vinings) in test scores this year. Teasely still did great. Kings Springs also beat many East Cobb schools. Russell, Brown (R.I.P.), Nickajack all did well. You can also put it in perspective: Smyrna has a lot more affluent residents than it used to, but still has some poverty because it isn't suburban like East Cobb. It's a city. Cross-reference Snyrna test scores against how many get subsidized lunches and you get the whole picture. Aside from Marietta city limits, a Cobb education is pretty much a Cobb education. The main variable is the number of students in poverty and parental involvement. Often the two go hand-in-hand, but not always. Affluence can also explain the transformation of Nickajack. I moved into one of the newer neighborhoods in the Nickajack district in 2007. Nowadays, more Nickajack has upper to middle class students than underprivileged. It's not perfect in East Cobb. Beyond C.Plantation, schools are becoming overcrowded and test scores are dropping. Whereas Smyrna is on the rise. I prefer an improving area.
Brian July 30, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Whether or not it goes away is up to the next referendum. If it doesn't do what it's supposed to, people will vote against.
Bruce August 01, 2012 at 11:24 PM
This is Wednesday after the TSPLOST vote. TSPLOST went down in flames. Brian, let some air into your brain.


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