Category: Transportation

AJC Publishes Op-Ed on Atlanta, MARTA TSPLOSTs

The Sunday edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on April 2, 2017, published an op-ed by Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd on the new transportation special purpose local option sales taxes for MARTA and Atlanta. Her op-ed is published in its entirety below; the AJC link is here: http://www.myajc.com/news/opinion/opinion-look-future-not-past-gain-most-from-atl-splost/5h0CTF5gG9cK2ppp2ZRL4O/. OPINION: Look to future, not past, to gain most from ATL T-SPLOST By Benita Dodd April marks the full implementation of two transportation special-purpose local option sales taxes (TSPLOSTs) overwhelmingly passed by Atlanta voters in November 2016. A 0.4-cent, five-year Atlanta TSPLOST to raise $300 million has joined the 0.5-cent, 40-year TSPLOST begun in March to raise $2.6 billion for MARTA projects. The massive support is no surprise, given lofty campaign promises… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd On Saturday, January 28, the reversible express toll lanes on I-75 south of Atlanta opened. The lanes’ direction was northbound, as signs on I-75 South showed. In a milestone event that occurred quietly on Saturday, January 28 Georgia entered the ranks of the few, the proud, the innovative states as a 12-mile stretch of reversible toll lanes opened on I-75 south of Atlanta. Just four other states boast reversible toll lanes. A little history: Georgia has known tolls since the 19th century (at least). Few metro commuters realize the toll origins of the roads they travel: Johnson Ferry and Paces Ferry (crossing the Chattahoochee) and Bell’s Ferry (crossing the Little River in Cherokee County), to name… View Article

New Year, Same Old Streetcar Named Disaster

By Benita M. Dodd Atlanta’s Streetcar System, three years later, still is nothing to brag about. Today the city of Atlanta begins Year 3 of operating its much-ballyhooed Atlanta Streetcar System, and so far, all that can be discerned is a lot of bally hooey. This month, the Atlanta City Council approved the final payment to URS for the design-build of the 2.7-mile Atlanta Streetcar project, making the total payment $61,630,655. That was, according to Public Works Commissioner Richard Mendoza, “$6 million less than URS originally submitted.” Not exactly. The 2014 URS contract authorized by MARTA (the transit authority designated to receive the $47.6 million federal grant for the Streetcar), was $59 million; the original URS contract, based on… View Article
The Sunday edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (October 30, 2016) contained an op-ed by Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd on the November 8 transportation sales tax votes in Atlanta, “Atlanta shouldn’t railroad themselves into old solutions.” The op-ed can be accessed online here and is reprinted in its entirety below. Atlanta shouldn’t railroad themselves into old solutions By Benita Dodd If there’s a bright side to November’s two transportation SPLOST votes in the city of Atlanta, it’s that they are confined to the city. The rest of Fulton County, having separated its transportation vote from the city, is largely embracing the future instead of romancing the past. Few understand the enormity of the MARTA transit tax hike for Atlanta. It… View Article

Guide to the Issues: Transportation

Principles: Traffic congestion, while inconvenient, is a sign of a thriving economy. Transportation policy must focus on improving mobility and relieving congestion. To the extent possible, users should pay. Use objective criteria when weighing transportation options. Recommendations: Embrace funding alternatives Plan for a future of transportation innovations Include Georgia’s research universities in solutions. Expand the metro Atlanta express toll lanes into a seamless network. Improve arterial mobility Adopt transit solutions that are flexible and adaptable Enhance alternative freight routes around Atlanta Develop last-mile solutions Facts: Between 1982 and 2014, according to the Texas Transportation Institute[1]: In the Atlanta urban area, which is home to about 60 percent of Georgia’s population, the population grew 105 percent but the commuter… View Article
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution of June 6, 2016, included an article by Pete Corson on ride-sharing services’ role in transit and quoted Kelly McCutchen. The article is printed in its entirety below and can be accessed online here (subscription required). Will Uber and Lyft also disrupt transit planning? The disruption that Uber and Lyft have wreaked on taxis could soon affect MARTA as well, according to a recent Morgan Stanley report. The report describes how ride-sharing services could be friend or foe to public transit systems, specifically mentioning Atlanta as the kind of southern metropolis most likely to be upended by shared mobility trends. The impact of ride-sharing is already being discussed internally by MARTA, which is gearing up for… View Article

AJC Quotes Foundation on Atlanta Streetcar

The Sunday June 5, 2016 edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution included a column by its Senior Managing Editor on the Atlanta Streetcar entitled, “Boondoggle or future boon?” in which Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd was quoted. The column is reproduced below in its entirety; access it online here (subscription required). By Bert Roughton Let me begin by saying no one loves buses, trains and streetcars more than I. This is why I feel so guilty. I have been a devoted MARTA rider for more than 30 years. As a young reporter, I was on one the first trains to connect the city to the airport. When relatives visit, I force them onto MARTA to ballgames and Lenox just… View Article
By Mike Dobbins The pace quickens for putting out some information for citizens to consider as they decide how to vote on the transit referendum. Yet major issues remain about how people will be able to make an informed decision on this most important opportunity. I shared in the Saporta Report recently the process by which rational and effective transit planning should go forward. Regrettably, Atlanta lacks a comprehensive transit plan and has not considered most of the technical and commonsense steps to create one, instead pinning its faith on a 52-mile streetcar plan. My concern here was well captured by John Kay of the Financial Times (4/27) under the headline, “Grand projects are worthless if they don’t work.” Itstates:… View Article

Do Governments Underplay Buses, Favor Rail?

In an editorial below from Transportation Reviews  that was published online in March 2016, author David A. Hensher opines on, “Why is Light Rail Starting to Dominate Bus Rapid Transit Yet Again?” Read the full text here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01441647.2016.1155851. Below are some excerpts that are relevant to Georgia governments in making sensible choices among transit modes. This highlight sums up his viewpoint:  “The value for money proposition should deliver the best outcome for society regardless of whether it is rail or bus based, in their light and heavy configuration.” Almost weekly, we see proposals to build light rail in many cities, and Australian cities are no exception. It is also quite marked how absent any serious consideration of… View Article

Transit’s Future is in Innovation, Not in Trains

By Benita Dodd Rail transit as a mass transportation mode is one of the least effective, most expensive options for metro Atlanta, whose reputation as the poster child for sprawl has been earned. The region’s low density makes the mode supremely inefficient and the innovations in transportation make it archaic. Yet rail proponents barely bat an eye at these realities as they continue the campaign to expand MARTA rail. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation, as it observes the rail discussion, has long held that one of the least objectionable rail corridors would be the Clifton corridor. The corridor is one of the metro area’s most congested commutes, with major employers such as Emory University and Hospital, the Centers for Disease… View Article

Finally, a one volume resource from an independent source that gives those of us in public life a new view on which to make public policy.

Governor Roy Barnes more quotes