A transit tale of two counties – Clayton looks to MARTA; Cobb looks away

By Maria Saporta

Decisions, decisions.

While Clayton County weighs the all-important step of whether to place a MARTA tax on the ballot in November, Cobb County commissioners seem to be back-pedaling on any plans to implement more transit access from the county to the rest of the region.

The Clayton County Commission is scheduled to vote on July 1 on whether to ask voters in November to approve a referendum for either a one percent or a half percent sales tax to join MARTA. A penny sales tax is expected to generate about $49 million a year, and it would likely be able to support both rail and buses. A half-penny sales taxes would generate half of that amount and would only be able to support a bus system.

In Cobb County, leaders appear to have given up any possibility of connecting the northwest county and the existing MARTA system with a light rail line. Most of the conversation in the past year has centered on a bus rapid transit line that would go from the Arts Center MARTA station to Kennesaw State University; and the most recent plans have called for a BRT-lite system that would be cheaper to build but would be more like an express bus line than a true BRT with a totally separate right-of-way.

Either way, three of the five Cobb County commissioners as well as most of the candidate running for the commission have said they oppose using $100 million of the county’s proposed Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) to help pay for a bus rapid transit line.

What an amazing crossroads for our region – depending on the decisions that are currently right in front of us – it could determine the destiny of how we are going to grow for decades to come.

And right now, I’m betting on Clayton County on coming out on top in the long run.

If Clayton voters agree to join MARTA, it will become the third county in more than 40 years to join what had originally be planned in the 1960s to have been a five-county metro-wide transit system.

If Clayton votes for the full penny sales tax, the county, which has been without bus service for several years, could have rail service within the next five years.

In short, if Clayton County voters were to approve a MARTA sales tax in November, it would revive the commuter rail plan that has been languishing for years, if not decades.

Map being distributed by the Citizens for Progressive Transit on a likely MARTA rail line through Clayton County

Map being distributed by the Citizens for Progressive Transit on a likely MARTA rail line through Clayton County

According to a map that has been circulated by the Citizens for Progressive Transit, Clayton County would be instrumental in connecting the southern crescent of our region along the Norfolk-Southern train tracks.

The rail line would connect with the existing MARTA line at East Point and run along the east side of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, parallel to Interstate 75, with stops in Hapeville, the Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal, Forest Park, Morrow and perhaps Jonesboro and Lovejoy.

The rail service likely will be supplemented with bus service from various points in the county, giving residents an opportunity to get to jobs, stores, schools, universities, the airport among other spots without having to rely on a car. It will give people living in one of the poorest counties in the Atlanta region choices on how to get around.

A combination of rail and bus transit with direct connections to Hartsfield-Jackson and Atlanta will make Clayton County much more competitive in years to come.

Not only will the county become a more desirable place to live for people who like to have transportation choices, it will become more attractive as a place for companies to invest because it won’t be saddled with the traffic congestion found in counties in the north metro area.

Cobb, unfortunately, still appears to be stuck in the same transportation mindset that it has had for the past 50 years ­– one of cars, trucks, highways, roads, arterials and a few Cobb County Transit buses thrown in.

By not offering a multitude of transportation options — namely a robust transit system that includes rail, Cobb will find itself at a competitive disadvantage in the region.

Already the areas of North Fulton and Gwinnett are much better positioned to benefit from an expansion of MARTA, if and when the time is right. Looking at the MARTA rail map, transit lines already extend to their front doors.

A dear friend of mine who lives in Cobb County explained to me why he did not support the passage of MARTA back in 1971. It would have taken nearly 20 years before MARTA rail would have been able to start serving Cobb County.

My answer to him was simple. If you had passed MARTA, you would have been part of the Atlanta region’s public transit network for more than 20 years. Today, it’s highly unlikely Cobb will see rail transit for another 20 years given the sentiment of its electorate and its decision to invest $400 million in a redundant baseball park rather than in a world-class transit system.

Already, demographic trends have been moving toward central cities where people can live and work in walkable urban areas that are well served by transit.

While Cobb is still arguing about the drawbacks and costs of transit, Clayton County has a wonderful opportunity to invest in the economy of the future.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

52 replies
  1. ScottNAtlanta says:

    The big problem that Cobb is going to face with the new stadium is TRAFFIC which is bad as is and will be off the scale when the Braves play.  Businesses will not want to be located anywhere near that mess (at least a business of any size).  Call it what you will, but without a dedicated right of way their vision is just a regular old bus like any other bus that will be tied up in the same traffic.  The future is transportation choices…and without them, Cobb will not be the choice of any relocating company.Report

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  2. cartersspot says:

    I can’t imagine why any county would invest in more buses, we’ll maybe they’re thinking of flying buses that are traffic prooof. If not, this is totally archaic thinking.Report

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  3. atlman says:

    ScottNAtlanta
    “The future is transportation choices…and without them, Cobb will not be the choice of any relocating company.”
    That is not true. Do not be so dogmatic. You sound like the “Atlanta is the next Detroit” suburbanites who can’t fathom that 50% of the country actually lives living in urban, diverse areas. Similarly, 50% of the country prefers the Cobb lifestyle, including a long-growing number of Hispanics, Asians and blacks. Companies and people who want to live in Cobb and put up with the traffic and lack of transportation options will go there and be happy. Those who do not mind higher taxes, a somewhat less efficient and capable local government, and the slightly higher chance of getting your I-Phone snatched on the street will live ITP. 
    That is the very diversity that this country was founded on and it is a good thing, not a bad one. The only thing that needs to change is A) the groups have to stop being at each other’s throats and B) similarly stop trying to impose their values and lifestyle preferences on each other. Now when that happens, maybe we can actually get at least a workable express bus solution in Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee etc. that hooks up to MARTA via GRTA, if not necessarily a full-fledged MARTA expansion. If that is good enough for the people who live out there, then more power to them. MARTA should focus their efforts on better serving the people who want it, which means FINALLY going up Georgia 400 (which should have been done 20 years ago) and FINALLY adequately serving the CDC area and Lithonia/Stonecrest/South DeKalb with proper bus routes (ditto) AND they need to come up with a good plan for servicing Clayton also. 
    So let the suburbanites have their highways (so long as they can be enticed to add express buses running on graded highways also to separate them from the rest of the traffic) and let Atlanta, Fulton and now Clayton focus on MARTA, and let the GDOT and GRTA coordinate the urban (again now includes Clayton though they are technically ITP) and suburban systems. Because – and this is the truth – if you want a unified, regional transportation system then you are going to have to give the right wingers what they want, which is to split North Fulton off into Milton County, force Atlanta to merge with whatever is left of Fulton (and possibly even with South DeKalb) to localize the black political/economic power base as much as possible, and then carve up and privatize MARTA as much as possible so it will no longer be a system where black leaders that whites have no influence over whatsoever, either directly at the ballot box or indirectly by voting for a governor that can select and oust them, will have such a large say in running the system. 
    Personally, I do not think that eviscerating Atlanta-Fulton-DeKalb and turning over nearly all the region’s political and economic power to the same folks who fled ITP during the white flight era (or who simply moved here from the north and midwest and went straight to the suburbs and quickly began to parrot the ITP hostility, Bob Barr style) is worth getting a regional transit system. I would prefer the suburbs be run for and by the suburbanites, ITP be run for and by the urbanites, and mutually beneficial coordination between the two to happen whenever possible. And yes, both the unreconstructed white flighters and the urbanist smart growth types who bash everyone who wants a lawn and an automobile contribute to the lack of mutually beneficial coordination. Just as did the city leaders who tried to use MARTA as a welfare rights activist agency in the 1980s and 1990s when they should have been working on expanding the system into North Fulton.Report

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  4. maketransitregional says:

    ScottNAtlanta
    There are easier ways to create regional transit but unfortunately MARTA wants to be in control of all of it. We have seen that they cannot manage a regional system and cannot even uphold their “Ride with Respect” campaign a one elderly gentleman saw when he was kicked off the train by another person who even threw his walker off. MARTA spends $1M on urine section systems, but yet they closed bathrooms. They spend millions on technology components that sit in a closet, never get used, and pay maintenance, run an outdated safety system, run trains at intervals making transit not serious in Atlanta. We need to move into the next century and setup a state or separate entity to manage public transit across the region. Forget this county by county nonsense, do at the state level and act like the big boys and girls.Report

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  5. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    John Hutcheson  When Latinos are included in the tally of white residents, Cobb has a population that is 66% white.
    But when Latinos are excluded from the tally of white residents, whites (non-Hispanic/Latino whites) make up only 55% of Cobb County’s population.
    Most Cobb County voters opposed to the Bus Rapid Transit proposal are not opposed to transit so much as they are opposed to so much tax money (hundreds-of-millions of dollars of tax money) being spent on upgrading one line instead of spending much less tax money to upgrade Cobb County’s entire bus system which is in need of improvements and upgrades, particularly in terms of needing more-frequent bus service and more route coverage.Report

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  6. atlman says:

    maketransitregional ScottNAtlanta
    Oh please. End the nonsense. If Gwinnett and Cobb were to join MARTA, they would have the same representation on the MARTA board as Fulton, DeKalb and Atlanta do. And you may not realize this but MARTA IS a separate entity designed to manage transit across the region. The problem is that the only people who joined that entity were Fulton and DeKalb. The idea that MARTA is run by the city and county governments of Atlanta, Fulton and DeKalb is a lie. It is a separate agency run by the political entities of the people who pay the tax.
    You want to set up your state entity to take over MARTA? The only purpose to solve that is to address the real problem: the white flight crowd doesn’t want to share influence with black politicians. The white GOPers in Gwinnett and Cobb would have to come to the table with the black Democrats in Fulton and DeKalb and share resources in a mutually beneficial fashion instead of the suburban counties getting to hoard most of it for themselves. So you want the state to step in and do the job of cutting out the Atlanta, Fulton and DeKalb leadership for you.
    The problem is that this cannot happen because Atlanta and DeKalb have paid the MARTA tax for 25 years. As a result, they own the land, the trains, the buses, the stations, the tracks, all of it, lock stock and barrel. Your proposal to move into the next century and act like big boys and girls would require A) ending the MARTA tax <b>that currently only Fulton and DeKalb (and soon to be Cobb) pays</b> and B) <b>the state or whatever other non-MARTA agency paying for MARTA at full cost</b>. And those are real barriers. There are folks who believe that A) the taxpayers in Fulton and DeKalb <b>and the leaders that they elect</b> should have no influence in the region and B) that the state or whoever should be able to assume control of an asset that Fulton and DeKalb have invested hundreds of billions in building and maintaining for 25 years without paying a dime. That is not going to happen (laws against stealing do exist, even from majority minority, Democrat controlled areas) nor should it. 
    So until attitudes change, it is better to simply work around folks who can’t get over the fact that “those people” have money and power. And the good news is that plenty can be done for the region and its fiefdoms until then. The outer loop and several other highway projects that span multiple counties need to be completed, and the suburban counties need a bus system that actually works. So Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee, Fayette etc. get busy. Meanwhile let Clayton and ITP continue to work on expanding MARTA to Clayton, getting rail to Emory, Georgia 400, Lithonia/South DeKalb, as well as projects like the Beltline and the streetcar that are more Atlanta-centric (and DeKalb and Clayton need to address county transportation issues likewise instead of relying on MARTA to do it all).  When that is done, 10-20 years from now, maybe the unproductive attitudes (held by both conservatives and liberals, blacks and whites) will have “gone with the wind” and we will be able to merge what the urban and suburban areas have built on their own into a regional system where everyone in the region will have a place at the table in running it. In other words, we will finally have what MARTA was SUPPOSED to be way back in 1971 but Gwinnett and Cobb were adamantly opposed to and have been ever since.Report

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  7. ScottNAtlanta says:

    @atlman 
    You did a lot of writing there but never disproved the statement that you singled out.  If you owned a large corporation, you wouldnt relocate to an area with lots of traffic that is going to get radically worse sooner than later and offers no choices in how their employees can get to work other than a car and with no real public transit solutions available that connect the parts of the metro.  Where on earth you got the Detroit comparison I have no idea.  Atlanta is nothing like Detroit.  As for the “Cobb Lifestyle”…that train left the station (no pun intended) years ago.  Thats the problem with sprawl…what was once the fringe becomes more urbanized whether the leaders want to acknowledge it or not.  I’d say the new Braves stadium is more damaging to that lifestyle than anything else.
    Nobody (at least I speak for myself) was “dictating” anything…just pointing out the facts.  Cobb will suffer for its illusion that the “Cobb Lifestyle” as you call it is still attainable in most areas of the county…its not.  You can make it more desirable, or you can do nothing…in which case nobody is happy.  Also, if you got your wallet stolen because you were ITP…sorry…but thats a dog whistle right there which has nothing to do with problems in Cobb other than thats whats kept progress from coming to Cobb.
    I personally cant wait till the stadium is complete, if only to watch all these “car only” politicians   squirm under their own hypocrisy when they have to come up with transit solutions they spent so much time railing againstReport

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  8. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    The point of whether or not a historically tax and transit-averse suburban county like Cobb should join MARTA will likely be made moot within a few years…
    …That’s because the state will likely step-in, takeover MARTA and sell it off to private investors who will operate, improve, upgrade and expand it as a regional system under the banner of GRTA (instead of MARTA).Report

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  9. ScottNAtlanta says:

    maketransitregional
    Bad MARTA bad bad bad…I really get tired of seeing it, especially since the facts currently say otherwise.
    Fact…the credit agencies just raised MARTA’s credit rating…with the caveat that hopefully the State wont screw them up again. This, because they now have a sustainable budget.

    Fact…the new MARTA CEO has done a remarkable job of balancing the budget while being able to increase service back to levels before the cuts.  He has made MARTA a sustainable entity with no help from the State.
    Fact…speaking of the State…he has created some actual good will with the legislature (which should qualify for sainthood)
    You can find an incident thats not positive for anything (and I have no idea if what you said is true), but MARTA is much better than it was…which is making people like you seem a lot more petty.Report

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  10. atlman says:

    ScottNAtlanta
    “If you owned a large corporation …”
    Exactly what I am talking about. If I owned a large corporation, I would put it downtown right between Georgia Tech and Georgia State. But I would not be the only person who owns a large corporation. And there are more corporations than large ones. Which is why despite all their alleged problems, Cobb and Gwinnett are still adding jobs and businesses and enjoy lower unemployment, crime and poverty rates than ITP.
    “Where on earth you got the Detroit comparison I have no idea.”
    I was comparing the suburb bashers to the city bashers. They are one and the same in my book. If this were still Cobb and Gwinnett of the 1980s (or Forsyth County of today) you would have a point, but the fact is that lots of people, including minorities and liberals, are now moving to the suburbs because of real issues going on with Atlanta and Fulton. Far too many diverse types of people have decided that they prefer Cobb’s problems to Atlanta’s problems (which start with APS mind you). You talk about “what keeps progress from coming to Cobb” … Cobb folks feel that they are progressing fine, and it is ITP that is lagging in some areas, and not just Atlanta, but the marked decline of DeKalb schools, once among the best in the nation. 
    Dog whistles? Please. Uniform crime statistics are what they are, and no less than Kasim Reed responded to them by vastly increasing the size of the police force and criticizing Fulton County for releasing the criminals that APD catches. But I already stated that folks who live in the city do not mind the slightly higher crime rate. It is other things, like the terrible public schools, that drive blacks, Hispanics, liberal whites and other people who would otherwise live in urban areas to the suburbs, and expanding transit isn’t going to solve those issues.Report

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  11. ScottNAtlanta says:

    @atlman ScottNAtlanta I wasn’t making any comparisons…you are.  I was talking only about Cobb.  You even admit (kind of back handedly) that parts of Cobb are urbanizing.  My point is Cobb is taking no actions to address it.  Businesses might be growing now, but that wont continue with bad planning and stick your head in the sand politics.  As traffic worsens…the area becomes less and less desirable.  If you cant get good talent that increasingly wants to live in urbanized environments…you lose.  That talent prefers transit options.  I grew up in suburbia and it was a wonderful childhood…but things change, and the suburban dream is not like it used to be.  We’ve grown up in the Atlanta Region and its time people realize that and plan for what it meansReport

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  12. ScottNAtlanta says:

    The Last Democrat in Georgia Not going to happen at least in our lifetime.  There is 0 appetite to take hard things like this up under the domeReport

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  13. atlman says:

    The Last Democrat in Georgia
    “That’s because the state will likely step-in, takeover MARTA and sell it off to private investors who will operate, improve, upgrade and expand it as a regional system under the banner of GRTA (instead of MARTA).”
    Hi. We have had this conversation before. The state can’t step in and take over MARTA and sell it because the state does not own it. The state has some oversight over MARTA due to the the fact that the state created it and under the terms under which MARTA was created, but it is still a political body run and owned by Fulton and DeKalb (and soon Clayton). We are talking about the actual physical value of the buses, trains, tracks and stations not to mention 25 years of ongoing operations and maintenance costs that Fulton and DeKalb have borne all by themselves, plus the political and economic ostracism that running MARTA have meant for those counties. And there is the real fear that if the state and private investors take over MARTA, they will make decisions that will negatively impact the people who have built and maintained it all these years in order to benefit people who haven’t paid a dime into it and despise it.
    So if you think that this will happen without A) paying many billions of dollars to MARTA’s current owners/operators and B) years of drawn out political and legal fights, it is a pipe dream. Especially since the idea would have no political constituency whatsoever. The Democrats would dig in their heels and fight tooth and nail to keep MARTA. The Republicans for their part, the vast majority of their constituents are anti-transit. Now if DeKalb and Fulton were to simply give up MARTA and write off all that capital out of the goodness of their hearts, maybe, but in an actual fight to wrest control of it, where are the votes that any politician would need to win that battle and pay billions for the victory going to come from? 
    For now, the best route is to have each county/region run its own transit system and let GRTA coordinate it. Incidentally, MARTA has never had a problem with this. Instead, the barrier has been vehement opposition to connecting with MARTA by the residents of Cobb and Gwinnett. Merely proposing a Cobb owned and run bus line to connect KSU and SPSU to downtown Atlanta (where GSU, Georgia Tech and much of Emory are) nearly cost Cobb Commissioner Tim Lee his job despite how good an idea it would have been for Cobb’s own students and workers. That is just one example, and there are many others.Report

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  14. atlman says:

    ScottNAtlanta
    Yes. I never said that you were making comparisons. I said that I was. I said “I was comparing the suburb bashers to the city bashers. They are one and the same in my book.” I stand by that statement. Why? “with bad planning and stick your head in the sand politics.” That is suburbs bashing, or you from your intown perch deciding what is best for Cobb County. 
    “If you cant get good talent that increasingly wants to live in urbanized environments…you lose” 
    Another example. Why? Because folks in Cobb, the “Atlanta is becoming the next Detroit” crowd, insists that an urban area run by black Democrats and has high population density, “high crime”, “incompetent corrupt” government and supbar public schools will lose too. The fact that both Atlanta and the suburbs are growing proves that both groups are wrong, because both Atlanta and the suburbs are so far good at attracting their own types of people. Which is a switch, because for much of the last 20-30 years we had the suburbs booming and the city utterly failing to attract much of anybody and shrinking. Even during the dot.com boom and the prior tech boom, businesses would incubate downtown and head for Cobb and Gwinnett as fast as they could. Now that nonsense has ended for the most part, but there are still plenty of companies and workers who prefer a less urban, lower tax environment, and that segment of the population will never go away. It may get smaller, but it won’t go away, and all Cobb has to do is compete for its share of it. 
    “I grew up in suburbia and it was a wonderful childhood”
    Yep, just like the white flight crowd grew up in Atlanta before Maynard Jackson and Andrew Young transformed the city institutions. Just as that crowd has no idea what the city currently needs and wants (and is in many cases hostile to it as they are with the new Falcons stadium and the Beltline and still bash MARTA of course) you would not be the ideal person to comment on the what is best for Cobb according to the people who live their right now. In other words, you care more about what you want for Cobb than what Cobb actually needs. For example, I myself opposed MARTA expanding ANYWHERE, to even Clayton, let alone Cobb and Gwinnett, until Fulton and DeKalb got serious about actually running the agency. Now the challenge is seeing whether they will actually make two good hires in a row, or if whether they merely wanted Parker to rescue the system from bankruptcy and will go back to their old ways. So while Cobb joining MARTA pre-Parker (who was only hired by the way because Mike Jacobs and the GOP took over MARTOC and make real threats to try to privatize it I should point out!) would have been in your interests, it WOULD NOT have been in Cobb’s interests. That is just one example … there are more.Report

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  15. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    ScottNAtlanta The Last Democrat in Georgia  It’ll happen because Georgia Republicans are feeling the extreme heat on the transportation issue, an issue which they have largely-mishandled badly during their 12 years in power (…as demonstrated by former Governor Sonny Perdue’s $15.5 billion “Fast-Forward” program which saddled GDOT with massive amounts of crippling debt, the 2011 Winter Storm, the I-85 HOT Lanes debacle, the 2012 T-SPLOST debacle and most recently the 2014 Snow Jam which severely-depressed Governor Deal’s poll numbers during an election year).
    If Republicans don’t do something significantly (or massively) constructive and positive on transportation sooner rather than later, transportation will be the issue that takes their legislative supermajorities and statewide domination and turns them back to a shrinking minority party relegated to a semi-permanent minority status in a state where accelerating demographic shifts are not going the GOP’s way.
    As demonstrated by the aftermath of the 2014 Snow Jam, transportation is an issue that has the potential to sink the Georgia GOP and get them permanent banished from anything that even remotely smells of a governing majority, much less the nearly-unchallenged political power that they currently enjoy.Report

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  16. John Hutcheson says:

    The Last Democrat in Georgia 
    So, the state will not invest in the system unless it is controlled by the state? If the state controls the system, will it invest in better intra-city rail without destroying the livability of inter-city neighborhoods (like GA DOT has always wanted to do with highways)?  Will the state compensate me (as a 65-year resident of the city) for my investment in the MARTA infrastructure? An infrastructure, by the way, that was built for suburban access and egress and does not do an adequate job intra-city circulation (at the bequest of the business elite, the majority of whom, at this point reside outside the city).  So, city residents get screwed again, all so suburbanites can maintain and control their insular way of life. Trying to solve a problem without understanding the origins of the problem usually exacerbates the problem. The problem with regionalism in Georgia has always been racism with an overtone of classism and until we admit these underlying problems and address them we can’t even begin to think about regionalism — to transfer power to the state only disenfranchises those who have been willing to invest in rapid transit. Why has the state been unwilling to invest in the system thus far? The answer is clear — the state will not invest in a minority controlled system and will continue to serve the interests of the suburban ring insulationists (my word) at the expense of the city. To think any different is to ignore history, as George Bush did in ignoring religion as the underlying political schism in Iraq.Report

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  17. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    @atlman The Last Democrat in Georgia  When the state decides to takeover MARTA and fold it into GRTA, the state will use the money from the private investors who want the system both for its current real estate assets and the financial value of its future real estate assets…financial value which will be in the tens-of-billions of dollars in a fast-growing market like the Atlanta region.
    (…We’re talking real estate values of up to $100 billion or more when a regional high-capacity passenger rail transit system is built-out….Good luck keeping real estate investors’ voraciously profit-hungry hands off of that kind of money.)
    Why do think that MARTA CEO Keith Parker is so busy trying to cultivate new streams of revenue from real estate development at and around stations?…
    …Because Keith Parker knows what’s coming down the pike, he’s just trying to get out in front of it in the best way that he can so that political interests in South Fulton and South DeKalb counties won’t lose total control of the situation to powerful business and political interests in North Fulton County (who desperately want an expansion of Heavy Rail Transit service up the GA 400 to Windward Parkway), Cobb, Gwinnett and the Northern suburbs who are not nearly as transit-averse as one might think….Particularly with their traffic problems continuing to worsen.Report

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  18. atlman says:

    The Last Democrat in Georgia
    Even if the state can get the private sector to put in the $100 billion (I have no idea as to the actual value of the trains, buses, tracks and stations) to pay for what the system is worth, there are political and legal hurdles to overcome. Fulton and DeKalb aren’t just going to take the check and walk away smiling, because were the state and developers to take over MARTA and run it exclusively for the benefit of Buckhead and points north, the results would be devastating for everybody else. 
    You have to realize: there is a difference between forcing MARTA to hire private contractors to run certain operations – which the state can force MARTA to do – and fully privatizing or transferring control of the agency. The decision will have to be mutual (unlikely) or the state would have a long, expensive, costly legal and political fight on its hands.
    And going back to the private interests: they would not have to pay merely to buy MARTA from its current owners. They would need to operate the thing too. Transferring control to GRTA or some private company means no more MARTA tax revenue from Fulton, Clayton and DeKalb. Where is that money going to come from, especially considering that MARTA doesn’t currently go where the fare-generating populace that they would then need to cut a profit (not only Cobb and Gwinnett but even north Fulton!) is located? So these folks would spend $100 billion to buy the system, billions more to expand it into Cobb and Gwinnett and North Fulton to get the people actually willing/able to pay $5 or more for distance-based fares (and the expansion would take 10-25 years) … how long before the private interests actually begin to gain a return on their investment? And that isn’t 10-25 years from today, but 10-25 years from when Fulton and DeKalb exhausts their last rounds of federal appeals over control of the system (10 more years).
    Sorry, but what you are describing requires Atlanta and DeKalb to go along with stranding their base without affordable transit for the most part. MARTA would finally be into north Fulton, Cobb and Gwinnett, but most of the students and hourly workers in south Fulton and south DeKalb and the others who elect those leaders would not be able to afford fares that are no longer being partially subsidized by the MARTA tax. Those folks would be worse off than they were before: a MARTA that they cannot afford and still no access to reliable automobiles. That is the part of the equation that you are ignoring and why your claims that the state can simply transfer MARTA to GRTA or to private developers will not happen, or at least not happen after much expense and years of legal and political roadblocks. And again, the Georgia GOP voter WILL NOT back any GOP governor or legislator who wants to fight 10 years in federal court and spend hundreds of billions of private and taxpayer money to get MARTA (which to them means buses and trains from black Atlanta into suburban Atlanta no matter what alphabet soup government agency or private business runs the affair) into – or at least too close to for comfort – their “safe, low tax” communities. 
    I just don’t see it being politically, economically or legally feasible.Report

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  19. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    John Hutcheson The Last Democrat in Georgia  {{{“So the state will not invest in the system unless it is controlled by the state?”}}}
    No…the state will not invest in the system unless it is controlled by the predominantly-white and conservative business and political interests in the Northern suburbs (Cobb, North Fulton, North DeKalb and Gwinnett counties) who control and dominate state government.
    {{{“If the state controls the system, will it invest in better intra-city rail without destroying the livability of inter-city neighborhoods (like GA DOT has always wanted to do with highways)?”}}}
    …It depends on whether liberal Intown/Southside interests in South Fulton and South DeKalb counties can get out in front of the situation (like Keith Parker and Clayton County are trying to do) and have a loud say in the state control/privatization process…
    …Because if Intown/Southside interests in South Fulton and South DeKalb counties do not get out in front of what’s coming, they could be shut-out of the process and left behind because of the huge amount of money that’s at stake (we’re talking real estate values of up to $100 BILLION or more after a privatized regional system is built-out).Report

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  20. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    John Hutcheson The Last Democrat in Georgia  It depends on how the privatization deal and/or deals are structured and what role Fulton and DeKalb counties play in the process as to whether or not those counties are compensated….Keep in mind that a state takeover and privatization of MARTA is going to be a power-play by Northside business and real estate interests fronted by Republican legislators in North Fulton and North DeKalb counties (Cobb and Gwinnett Republican legislators will lend silent but very-strong support to the effort).
    The state hasn’t been willing to invest in the MARTA system thus far because up until very-recently, the system was not thought to have any financial value to the politically-powerful Northern suburbs.
    Now that business and real estate interests in the Northern suburbs know that rail transit is worth TENS-OF-BILLIONS OF DOLLARS in real estate profits to them in a 21st Century real estate market, they are INTENSELY interested in investing in expanding rail transit out to their areas.Report

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  21. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    @atlman The Last Democrat in Georgia  The state and the private investors wouldn’t pay $100 billion to takeover the system. 
    The state and the private investors would only pay a very-tiny fraction of that amount (maybe $1 billion, if that) to takeover the system and Fulton and DeKalb counties would likely happily take whatever they are given because like most local governments, they are strapped for cash.
    …That is…the state and the private investors would only pay a very-tiny fraction of that $100 billion amount if they wanted to…
    …The state would likely just create legislation so that it could takeover MARTA without paying anything more than the cost of increasing transit service in Fulton and DeKalb counties….And Fulton and DeKalb counties would gladly take it so that they could get the increased transit service in the form of new transit lines and expansions (GA 400 North, Top End I-285 Perimeter, Emory, etc), more frequent bus and train service, etc.
    (…Also remember that it is Republican legislators in North Fulton and North DeKalb counties that are spearheading the state takeover and privatization effort so that North Fulton can get an expansion of rail transit service up the GA 400 and so that Dunwoody can get a rail transit line across the I-285 Top End Perimeter between Cobb and Gwinnett counties).
    Private entities paying operating costs (and capital costs) are standard in these types of transportation infrastructure privatization deals….That’s because the private entities want to be able to collect the real estate profits that operation of said transportation infrastructure will generate as soon as transit-oriented real estate development is built along transit lines.
    Money will no longer be collected from 1% countywide sales taxes (like in Fulton and DeKalb) but will be collected from targeted Value Capture taxing districts that will only collect tax revenues (both sales and property taxes) from commercial property along transit lines (…the 1% sales tax that Fulton and DeKalb counties pay will be abolished in a private system as the bulk of the money will be collected from real estate revenues).
    No court battles will be necessary as Fulton and DeKalb counties will happily go along with getting dramatically-increased amounts of transit service and increased tax revenues (from new revenue-generating development along transit lines).Report

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  22. Dowager says:

    I’ve been a Cobbophobiac for a long time, and everything they do enhances my first impressions. In spite of many good folks there, the consensus is for exclusivity — in everything.Report

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  23. atlman says:

    The Last Democrat in Georgia
    Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton would give up a powerful economic and political asset that is vital for a large portion of their voting for 1/100 on the dollar because “they are strapped for cash”? That is rich. 
    “Private entities paying operating costs (and capital costs) are standard in these types of transportation infrastructure privatization deals.”
    True, but not the point. What is also standard in these types of deals is A GOVERNMENT WILLING TO GO ALONG WITH IT. Georgia can pass all the laws that they want, but they can no more take MARTA from Fulton/DeKalb/Clayton than they will be to take a city hall building from Norcross or assume control of Cobb Energy Center and or the new Braves stadium. 
    As far as revenue coming from taxing districts, you have to transition to that. You have to create the districts and start collecting and applying the revenue. It is easy if the MARTA governments go along, because they would have the MARTA tax revenue until it sunsets. But if they fight, the new owners will not get a dime, and probably won’t even be able to create the taxing districts anyway. 
    “No court battles will be necessary as Fulton and DeKalb counties will happily go along with getting dramatically-increased amounts of transit service and increased tax revenues (from new revenue-generating development along transit lines).”
    Why will they be happy about it? They will lose a substantial amount of political power, economic influence and local control beyond local projects like the Beltline and streetcar. They will no longer be able to run their own transit system in a way that suits their own voters and economic development needs, and instead will see that system be built out and used primarily to benefit north Fulton, north DeKalb and the suburbs. As for the increased tax revenues, north Fulton, north DeKalb and the suburban counties will claim nearly all of it, and will split off to form Milton County to get it. Dramatically increased transit service? That won’t happen anywhere south of Buckhead. But fares will go up though, and substantially. That is what WILL HAPPEN if north Fulton, north DeKalb and the suburbs get the system and use it to drive their own economic and political agendas. Downtown Atlanta, south Fulton, south DeKalb and Clayton will be cut out of the region, except for what is minimally necessary to get people to Georgia Tech, Georgia State and the airport  (yes, the Falcons would relocate under this scenario when their lease is up – or when they can break it – also). 
    Despite the rosy scenarios that you propose, the Fulton and DeKalb have far more to lose than a one time payment of $1 billion (a fraction of what it is worth, to speak nothing of the quarter of a century that they have spent operating and maintaining the thing) could ever compensate for. You think that they are cash-strapped now? Let the suburbanites and private companies take control of MARTA, use that to drive development and infrastructure investment up north even more than it is now, let north Fulton and north DeKalb split off and then they will REALLY be cash-strapped and it will take a lot more than $1 billion to cover it. And, of course, that is not why they are not going to go along.Report

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  24. HarveyFDavisIII says:

    What is absurd about fears by Cobb and Gwinnett residents about MARTA people riding a united MARTA system into their counties is that there are free transfers to and from their bus systems from MARTA.  So by choosing not to be a part of MARTA they are not keeping those people out, they are only denying their residents rail options….Report

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  25. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    @atlman The Last Democrat in Georgia  {{{“Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton would give up a powerful economic and political asset that is vital for a large portion of their voting for 1/100 on the dollar because “they are strapped for cash”? That is rich.”}}}
    South Fulton and South DeKalb counties (Clayton is not yet a member of MARTA) would not really have much choice politically…
    …That’s because South Fulton and South DeKalb counties would be opposed by an ultra-powerful coalition of political and business interests in North Fulton (including Buckhead), North DeKalb (including Dunwoody and Brookhaven), Cobb and Gwinnett counties and would not be able to justify to their constituents turning down the offer of dramatically-increased and expanded transit service (transit expansions through South DeKalb, etc) in order to have a long and costly court battle to retain an ineffective status quo.
    {{{“What is also standard in these types of deals is A GOVERNMENT WILLING TO GO ALONG WITH IT. Georgia can pass all the laws that they want, but they can no more take MARTA from Fulton/DeKalb/Clayton than they will be to take a city hall building from Norcross or assume control of Cobb Energy Center and or the new Braves stadium.”}}}
    Since MARTA is a legislative creation of state government, the State of Georgia can take control of MARTA pretty easily, particularly if they can get South Fulton and South DeKalb to agree to it with the offer of increased transit service and increased tax revenue.
    …The State of Georgia can also feel empowered and emboldened to take control of MARTA easily if they are feeling increasing pressure from politically-dominant moderate suburban voters to do something major on transportation.Report

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  26. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    @atlman The Last Democrat in Georgia 
    North Fulton and North DeKalb counties are not spitting-off from South Fulton and South DeKalb counties how much they theoreticize about it.
    In lieu of spitting-off and forming a new Milton County (a process which state legislative leaders have openly stated they will not initiate or engage in because of the derision that would come from other parts of the state), North Fulton Republicans will attempt to take political control of Fulton County government and institutions (including MARTA) from South Fulton Democrats.
    The takeover of Fulton County government by North Fulton Republicans means that only South DeKalb would be left to oppose a state takeover and sell-off of MARTA…and South DeKalb would be no challenge to an ultra-powerful political coalition of North Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnett and North DeKalb counties.
    Also with the implementation of a distance-based fare structure (where fares would be charged by-the-mile and deeply-discounted to as low as only $0.10 per-mile for special groups) fares would actually drop dramatically for most of the economically-disadvantaged and transit-dependent….That’s because with fares of only $0.10 per-mile, a passenger would have to ride 25 miles before paying the current flat-rate fare of $2.50 one-way.
    Value Capture taxing districts (like self-taxing Community Improvement Districts, Tax Allocation Districts and Tax Increment Financing) would also most-likely collect substantially more in tax revenues than the current countywide 1% sales tax setup because Value Capture taxing districts can be setup to collect revenues from BOTH sales and property sales…as opposed to the current MARTA tax funding setup which only collects revenue from sales taxes.
    Value Capture taxing districts can also be implemented without the approval of transit-averse voters in countywide referendums…which means that governments in counties like Cobb, Gwinnett, Clayton, Henry, Douglas, Rockdale, etc, can collect tax revenue for regional transit service without putting it to a vote and risking the request being rejected by transit-averse entities.
    – See more at: http://saportareport.com/blog/2014/06/a-tale-of-two-counties-and-transit-clayton-looks-to-marta-cobb-looks-away/#sthash.MhzDeLRV.dpufReport

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    • Maria Saporta says:

      Readers, I sincerely believe we should be able to discuss the various dynamics about issues facing our region without resorting to racial slurs. I appreciate you flagging this post, and I’m purposefully leaving this conversation on the site to serve as a reminder of what I hope we avoid when debating each other. So many issues already are racially charged. We should try to be a site that works through these issues rather than contributing to the racial divide. Thank you all for reading and commenting. MariaReport

      Reply
  27. mariasaporta says:

    netdragon John Hutcheson
    Readers, I sincerely believe we should be able to discuss the various dynamics about issues facing our region without resorting to racial slurs. I appreciate you flagging this post, and I’m purposefully leaving this conversation on the site to serve as a reminder of what I hope we avoid when debating each other. So many issues already are racially charged. We should try to be a site that works through these issues rather than contributing to the racial divide. Thank you all for reading and commenting. MariaReport

    Reply
  28. atlman says:

    The Last Democrat in Georgia
    “Since MARTA is a legislative creation of state government, the State of Georgia can take control of MARTA pretty easily, particularly if they can get South Fulton and South DeKalb to agree to it with the offer of increased transit service and increased tax revenue.”
    We keep going back and forth here. MARTA was created by the state, true, but only because state authorization was needed in order to have a multi-government transit system. It was illegal under state law for Fulton and DeKalb to join together to build a transit system just as it is currently illegal for Cobb and Gwinnett to join together to build a toll highway. Now if the state ever passes the “T-SPLOST Plan B”, which would allow for counties to join together to build highways, the fact that the state passed the law that allowed Cobb and Gwinnett to build the toll highway will not allow the state to come in and assume management over the toll highway and claim its revenue. 
    Bottom line: the state created MARTA, has some oversight powers due to the terms of the MARTA creation law, but ultimately it does not own or control it. They cannot assume control over MARTA assets or true management of the system unless Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton (who will join in November) allows it to happen. 
    North Fulton Republicans taking over Fulton County? If that were possible it would have happened already. So long as Fulton continues to have a significant black population AND a large white urban progressive population, that is not going to happen, no matter how many bills Jan Jones gets the legislature to pass. The same thing with DeKalb. A combination of the large black population in south DeKalb and the large white progressive population would preclude a majority vote for handing the system over to the state. 
    Look, I know that Roy Barnes created GRTA with the goal of eventually having it take over MARTA so that Cobb, Gwinnett and the rest would join the system. But Barnes was a Democrat, meaning that A) he would have been better able to get ITP’s black leadership to sacrifice for the common good and B) ITP’s black leadership would have been more willing to trust Barnes and a state run by Democrats to still build and run a transit system that would respect their input (and influence) and priorities. Even then it would have been VERY HARD but not impossible. 
    But handing over MARTA to the suburban GOP conservatives? Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton will say “see you in court.” You underestimate their political clout, because let’s face it, if they did not have that clout, the conservative whites would have crushed them and remained in Atlanta instead of running off to Cobb and Gwinnett in the first place. And as I mentioned earlier, there is legal clout in addition to the political clout. With the exception of bankruptcy, there is no legal precedent for a state assuming control of a local asset or agency. Otherwise, the GOP would have taken over Hartsfield and turned APS into a charter district (as conservatives did with the New Orleans school district after Hurricane Katrina) in Sonny Perdue’s first action as governor. 
    You have to realize that what you are claiming can be done so easily has never been done before in state or national history (that is, unless the local governments agree to it or are in bankruptcy proceedings) and there is a reason for it.Report

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  29. John Hutcheson says:

    mariasaporta netdragon John Hutcheson  Wow! Good morning. After writing and lecturing about urban politics, race, and diversity for almost fifty years, this is the first time I’ve been accused of a racial slur. I’ve re-read my comments and I fail to see it. My point is simply this: if we cannot recognize and discuss the origins of a problem we cannot solve it. Avoiding race in a discussion of the failures of regionalism in Atlanta is like avoiding religion in a discussion of the fragmentation of Iraq — we can’t solve problems we don’t understand.
    If someone can explain how any of my comments could be interpreted as a racial slur, I’ll be happy to apologize.Report

    Reply
  30. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    @atlman The Last Democrat in Georgia 
    {{{“Bottom line: the state created MARTA, has some oversight powers due to the terms of the MARTA creation law, but ultimately it does not own or control it. They cannot assume control over MARTA assets or true management of the system unless Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton (who will join in November) allows it to happen.”}}}
    Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton allowing the state to assume control over MARTA and operate it as a privatized entity under the GRTA banner is what is likely to happen…
    …That’s because Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton are in no position to fight-off hard-charging powerful Northside interests in North Fulton, North DeKalb, Cobb and Gwinnett, particularly if Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties stand to benefit with increased transit service and increased tax revenues.
    Besides, Keith Parker’s cultivation of new streams of revenue from Transit-Oriented Development at and around MARTA stations will give the Southside some degree of leverage when powerful Northside interests move to conduct a state takeover of MARTA…which will be much-sooner than many people might think, particularly if Nathan Deal gets re-elected.
    (…If Deal gets re-elected, state government will likely move to takeover MARTA in his second-term as currently ultra-dominant Republicans will be looking to stay highly-competitive in a long-term political environment with a changing demographic tide that is going heavily in favor of Democrats…
    …If Deal is not re-elected, any movement on a state takeover of MARTA will be delayed for an indefinite period of time as a GOP supermajority state legislature gridlocks and clashes with a Democratic Governor Jason Carter.)
    Fulton especially would not put up any fight against a state takeover and privatization of MARTA as North Fulton Republicans (with the help of Buckhead Republicans and the GOP supermajority legislature) will likely re-draw the county commission district boundaries so that the GOP has at-least a 4-3 governing majority on the Fulton County Commission….Which will be possible because of the much-heavier population growth in North Fulton County than in South Fulton County.
    (…There has even been talk of North Fulton Republicans redrawing the commission district boundaries so that the GOP has a 5-2 governing majority on the Fulton County Commission…which North Fulton Republicans are extremely serious about trying to takeover and dominate in lieu of not being able to recreate the defunct Milton County.)
    ….Which means that with a GOP majority in Fulton County government that Fulton County would not put up much (if any) of a fight against a state takeover and privatization of MARTA that North Fulton and North DeKalb Republicans are leading the way on.
    It should also be noted that before Keith Parker took over the reigns as CEO, MARTA was in much more of a vulnerable position to be taken over and privatized by the state as the transit agency was operating with budget deficits and was teetering on the brink of financial collapse.
    It is Parker’s EXCELLENT early-on management of the transit agency (good fiscal stewardship and excellent relationship with a traditionally-hostile state legislature) that is the reason why MARTA was not taken over by the state on hostile terms as Northside interests were planning to do right around the time that Parker was hired as CEO.
    With a good working relationship with what has often an ambivalent state legislature, Parker asked the state legislature to be patient and give him the time to turn-around the troubled transit agency both financially and operationally before making any moves to takeover and privatize MARTA.
    Parker did not ask the state legislature to back-off with the expectation that his request would be enough to keep the state at-bay for an extended period of time.
    Parker asked the state legislature to back-off from a takeover and privatization of MARTA so that he could have time to strengthen the bargaining and negotiating position of Southsiders (particularly South Fulton and South DeKalb Democrats) because Parker knows what is coming, which is a Northside-led state takeover of MARTA.
    If MARTA’s finances and operations are in order, there’s a good chance that Southside interests (in South Fulton, South DeKalb and Clayton counties) will not be left-out in the cold when the Northside moves to fold MARTA into a largely-privatized regional agency (under the GRTA banner) where there will be a very-strong emphasis on expanding transit service throughout the Northside of the metro area (North Fulton, North DeKalb, Cobb and Gwinnett counties).
    – See more at: http://saportareport.com/blog/2014/06/a-tale-of-two-counties-and-transit-clayton-looks-to-marta-cobb-looks-away/#sthash.0Qu4BrTs.dpufReport

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  31. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    @Guest The Last Democrat in Georgia  Responding with video insults, burying your head in the sand and pretending that everything is “A-OKAY” is not going to help the residents of South Fulton, South DeKalb and Clayton counties.
    The only thing that is going to help is to do what MARTA CEO Keith Parker is attempting to do which is attempt to get out in front of the situation the best way that one can so South Fulton, South DeKalb and Clayton counties can have a seat at the table and negotiate with the Northside power players from a position of strength….So that when the time comes for MARTA to transition from a two-county transit agency controlled by black Democrats in South Fulton and South DeKalb counties to a regional transit agency controlled directly by state government at the behest of Northside Republicans, Southsiders will not be shut-out of the process.Report

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  32. atlman says:

    The Last Democrat in Georgia
    All right. Show me a map where the GOP can get 4, let alone 5, seats. I do not believe that it is possible, especially since “white” does not equal “Republican” in Fulton County, not even north Fulton, the way that it does in Cherokee, Cobb, Gwinnett and Hall. If Fulton cannot even so much as replace John Eaves with Rob Pitts as commission chair, no gerrymandering scheme will net them a majority of the board. 
    DeKalb? Same story. If Republicans could have taken over DeKalb, they would have already. Clayton? They are not in yet, but they will be. But alas, we have gone back and forth over this enough, especially considering our previous conversations. We will just have to wait and see who is right. If you are the one that is correct, we will know in a few months. (By the way, Deal will win. Carter has no shot. Democrats have to learn how to run on issues other than social welfare if they are ever going to be relevant in this state again. Every time a Democrat says “Medicare expansion”, a vote gets subtracted from Deal and Nunn.)Report

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  33. atlman says:

    John Hutcheson mariasaporta netdragon
    “After writing and lecturing about urban politics, race, and diversity for almost fifty years, this is the first time I’ve been accused of a racial slur. ”
    Well there is a first time for everything.
    “I’ve re-read my comments and I fail to see it.”
    Let me show it to you: cracker.
    “My point is simply this: if we cannot recognize and discuss the origins of a problem we cannot solve it. Avoiding race in a discussion of the failures of regionalism in Atlanta is like avoiding religion in a discussion of the fragmentation of Iraq — we can’t solve problems we don’t understand.”
    Yes. We are talking about race when we tell you that you are using a racial slur and insist that you not do so. I talk about race on this forum all the time. I state flat out that the biggest single impediment to regionalism – and a functional state government even – is the great offense that a large percentage of Georgia’s white population takes at being governed by blacks, or having to share power and influence with blacks on equal terms, and the second biggest impediment is the desire to prevent any government action that would cause blacks to rise on the economic scale (the state’s white voters were heavily Democratic and fine with big government until government began to help elevate blacks instead of carrying out Jim Crow). You can say those things all that you please without using racial slurs, and without denying that you have done so. And please, none of the banal arguments often used in reverse by white conservatives concerning the “n-word” (if black rappers and comedians say it all the time, why can’t we say it?) on how “cracker” is allegedly not a racial slur.
    Finally, any discussions on regionalism must include the fact that blacks make up 26% of the population of Cobb County, which is only a little below the 31% of the overall state population. Blacks are similarly 25.5% of Gwinnett County. The reason for this: real problems in the black-run governments that are Atlanta, Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton, chiefly school governance issues that have gotten so bad that they threaten the middle class aspirations of their own black students to the point where middle class black parents moved to the very place that you used a racial slur to describe in order to improve the chances of retaining middle class status for their own progeny. If you want to have your race and regionalism discussion, talking honestly about the whole picture is far superior to feigning that “cracker” is not a racial slur.Report

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  34. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    @atlman The Last Democrat in Georgia  I personally could care less who is right or wrong. 
    I’m just warning residents in South Fulton and South DeKalb (and Clayton) counties that powerful suburban Northside business interests see a heck of a lot more value in rail transit service than they did in years’ and decades’ past when the concept of extending rail transit from the city into the suburbs was one that was politically and socially radioactive.
    Now, you’ve got powerful business and real estate development interests on the politically-dominant Northside literally begging for transit service to be extended out from the city so that they tons more profit in a 21st Century real estate market where direct access to rail transit can mean tens-of-billions of dollars in increased values and revenues.
    In the 21st Century business arena, direct rail transit access = monster real estate profits…something that makes MARTA an increasingly attractive target for Northside business interests which have long shunned rail transit service.
    Southsiders need to be keenly aware that the political and social grip that they’ve had over MARTA for the last 40+ years is no longer assured in a climate where powerful Northsiders now see profit and political stability in having direct access to rail transit.Report

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  35. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    @atlman Excellent comments.
    Though it should be noted that in this day and age where there continues to be a massive amount of migration into metro Atlanta from other states and where there is much heavy existing development and a large diverse population already living in outlying suburban counties like Cobb and Gwinnett, many blacks just simply move directly into outlying suburban counties like Cobb and Gwinnett (and Rockdale and Douglass and Henry and Newton and Paulding, etc) instead of moving into the suburbs after first living in predominantly-black areas like the City of Atlanta, Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton.
    It could also be noted that most (but not all) of the black population in outlying counties like Cobb and Gwinnett is concentrated in roughly the southern-third of those counties and has in-effect become a geographical extension of the black population in Fulton and DeKalb counties.
    (…The concentrated black population in South Cobb and Douglas counties is a geographical extension of the black population in West/Southwest Fulton County; the concentrated black population in South Gwinnett is a geographical extension of the black population in East/Southeast DeKalb County; the growing black population in Henry County is a geographical extension of the black population in Clayton and South DeKalb counties.)Report

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  36. John Hutcheson says:

    Burroughston Broch John Hutcheson  Because you are missing the point and you don’t seem to understand that you cannot solve a problem without understanding it.Report

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