Transit and MARTA counties are losing out on project lists

By Maria Saporta

An outside review of the official lists floating around on the possible transportation projects that will be part of the regional referendum has determined two disturbing trends.

First, it appears that “roads are faring much better than transit on the official short lists” presented by the staff of the Atlanta Regional Commission — even the list that is considered to favor transit.

And two, the projects that are on “those short lists are lopsided in favor of serving counties that don’t pay for MARTA.”

Those observations have been made by Ken Edelstein, editor of the GreenBuildingChronicle, who said that he has been pouring over the numbers in the various project list options and realized that “the vast majority of transit projects have essentially been pushed off the scenarios.”

To read Ken Edelstein’s analysis of the project lists — titled: “Atlanta Transportation Roundtable’s short lists short transit,” please link to his article. Edelstein has also put together a list of what he calls the “Transit Winners & Losers, So Far.”

The of the balance between transit and roads is becoming the most pivotal issue among the members of the Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable and its executive committee.

It is all but certain that the balance between roads and transit will be the centerpiece of discussion at Thursday (Aug. 4) morning’s meeting of the roundtable’s executive committee. That group has until Aug. 15 to unveil its draft project list.

The three options that currently have been presented include one that’s 60 percent roads and 40 percent transit; one that’s 50/50; and the third that is 60 percent transit and 40 percent roads.

According to some people close to the process, there’s a group of members on the roundtable that are calling themselves the “40 percenters” — those who don’t want more than 40 percent to go to transit.

But against that backdrop, there’s also a group of roundtable members that are arguing for a project list that builds a foundation for a regional transit system that can be phased in as money becomes available.

It has not yet been determined which direction the roundtable will adopt, which makes this Thursday’s meeting and the follow-up meeting on Aug. 11 to be even more critical to the region’s 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.

8 replies
  1. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    “Transit and MARTA counties are losing out on project lists

    An outside review of the official lists floating around on the possible transportation projects that will be part of the regional referendum has determined two disturbing trends.

    First, it appears that “roads are faring much better than transit on the official short lists” presented by the staff of the Atlanta Regional Commission — even the list that is considered to favor transit.

    And two, the projects that are on “those short lists are lopsided in favor of serving counties that don’t pay for MARTA.”

    “the vast majority of transit projects have essentially been pushed off the scenarios.””

    TOTAL SHOCKER!!!! No, I mean it, I really am, honestly. NO, stop laughing everyone, because I really am shocked that transit would take a backseat to roads in car-crazy Atlanta. You could have never prepared me for that one.

    In all seriousness, though. Maria, did you REALLY think that “transit” (a word that makes many OTP Metro Atlantans’ and Georgians’ collective skins crawl) would be a top priority in a region that is thought of by many around the world to be crazier about their cars than even notoriously car-crazed automobile-demented locales like Southern California, Texas and Michigan? Did you really expect creating transit-friendly density to be a priority in a region that is known to quite possibly have the LOWEST DENSITY of any major metropolitan area and population center on the planet, where the politics is guided by a large group of loud. rowdy and rambunctious SUPERINDIVIDUALISTIC ULTRACONSERVATIVES who openly and loudly profess their LOVE for their cars and where the concept of INFRASTRUCTURE PLANNING is a novelty at best and a totally foreign concept on average? I’m just sayin’…Report

    Reply
  2. bandonintendo says:

    If this happens, then we are doomed, as a city and a region. We’re being overtaken by Charlotte (just to name one), and surban transitphobia will be to blame.Report

    Reply
  3. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    @bandonintendo

    It’s odd that Atlanta thinks that it’s being overtaken by Charlotte, when Charlotte, with unemployment at over 11% and a sputtering banking and finance industry upon which the city has become almost entirely solely dependent upon, thinks that it’s being overtaken by Raleigh, which has been growing faster than Charlotte as of late and is perceived to have a more diversified economy with the three ACC schools, the mega research park and all of the hospitals, etc.Report

    Reply
  4. michaelgjohnson21 says:

    If rail projects are not part of the package, I will not vote for the tax. Because of the beltline project, inside the perimeter will be just fine. Do these people even travel, and see how ridiculously our transit look to other cities. I was recently in San Diego, and they even have extensive rail from San Diego, Oceanside, and Los Angeles. This region better wake up, and leave the political segreration of the 1970’s behind.Report

    Reply
  5. michaelgjohnson21 says:

    If rail projects are not part of the package, I will not vote for the tax. Because of the beltline project, inside the perimeter will be just fine. Do these people even travel, and see how ridiculously our transit look to other cities. I was recently in San Diego, and they even have extensive rail from San Diego, Oceanside, and Los Angeles. This region better wake up, and leave the political segreration of the 1970’s behind.Report

    Reply
  6. michaelgjohnson21 says:

    If rail projects are not part of the package, I will not vote for the tax. Because of the beltline project, inside the perimeter will be just fine. Do these people even travel, and see how ridiculously our transit look to other cities. I was recently in San Diego, and they even have extensive rail from San Diego, Oceanside, and Los Angeles. This region better wake up, and leave the political segreration of the 1970’s behind.Report

    Reply

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