Tag: rail

Transit Funding a Step in the Right Direction

By Baruch Feigenbaum In 2015, the Georgia General Assembly passed the Transportation Funding Act, dedicating substantial existing resources from the general fund to state roadway funding. Unfortunately, the 2015 plan funded neither transit nor local roadways. In 2016, legislation introduced by Sen. Brandon Beach proposed increasing the sales tax in the city of Atlanta, DeKalb County and Fulton County by 0.50 cents to fund three rail expansions: Lindbergh Station to Emory, alongside S.R. 400 from North Springs Station to Windward Parkway and Indian Creek Station to Lithonia. While the Metropolitan Atlanta Regional Transportation Authority (MARTA) favored the rail expansion, some communities were not on board. Much of the opposition centered on North Fulton, where area leaders believed that improving… View Article
A PDF version of this Issue Analysis is available here. By Baruch Feigenbaum (This Issue Analysis is published by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation in response to a legislative request for an update of the Foundation’s August 2013 transportation study published jointly with the Reason Foundation.) Several Georgia legislators and members of the business community are supporting a sales tax increase to fund an 11.9-mile MARTA rail expansion from North Springs Station in Sandy Springs to Windward Parkway in Alpharetta. Given the high cost of expansion of rail and the corridor’s low population and employment densities, a bus rapid transit/express bus line using SR 400’s soon-to-be-constructed express lanes would be a much better option.   The Georgia General Assembly passed… View Article
A January 22, 2016 article by Dave Williams in The Atlanta Business Chronicle quotes Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd on the folly of rail expansion for metro Atlanta. The article is below; access the article online here. Market forces will power state’s new transportation plan By Dave Williams Toll lanes across the entire top end of the Perimeter and on Georgia 400 north to Atlanta’s far suburbs. Rebuilt interchanges at Interstate 285 and I-20 east and west of Atlanta. And new truck-only lanes on I-75 from Macon to McDonough. All are part of an ambitious $10 billion, 10-year transportation plan Gov. Nathan Deal announced Jan. 12. After some initial experiments, the plan’s unprecedented scope shows theGeorgia Department of View Article
By Robert Krol Each year, state and local governments decide on which transportation infrastructure projects to build. Often, priority goes to projects directed at reducing highway congestion or air pollution. The economic backbone of the decision process is supposed to be an objective cost-benefit analysis. However, calculating the costs and benefits of any major project is technically difficult. Cost estimates require a determination of labor and material quantities and prices. Benefit estimates require forecasting economic growth, demographic trends, and travel patterns in the region. Clouding the analysis is the fact that this decision process takes place in a political environment. Politicians love the publicity they get at the opening of a high-occupancy vehicle lane or the expansion of a mass… View Article

Transit findings’ not-so-silver linings

This op-ed by Benita Dodd, vice president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, was published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on January 6, 2015. By Benita Dodd An Onion report that 98 percent of Americans surveyed favor public transportation – for other commuters – is one that, since its publication in 2000, remains probably the satirical newsletter’s most reality-based article. Just this past November, an Atlanta Regional Commission survey found 70 percent of people in metro Atlanta – and 79 percent in Clayton County – consider public transportation “very important” to the region. Why is this relevant? The Census Bureau reports that just 3 percent of metro Atlanta residents use public transportation. The ARC omitted asking respondents whether they feel the… View Article

Transit Tall Tales and Coping With Too Much Money

Randal O’Toole, The Antiplanner According to pro-rail transit Metro magazine, American cities face a dilemma: The demand for rail transit continues to grow, yet there is a scarcity of federal dollars to pay for it. In fact, most of the things the article says are wrong or, at least, they indicate that cities have too much money, not a shortage. If it weren’t for this surfeit of funds, cities wouldn’t plan ridiculously expensive rail lines that, in most cases, do nothing for transit riders or transportation users in general. This is shown by all of the examples in the Metro article. Los Angeles’ Westside Subway will be less than four miles long yet is expected to cost well over… View Article
The July 19, 2014, Atlanta Journal-Constitution published an op-ed by Benita Dodd on mass transit in Clayton County. By Benita M. Dodd By all accounts, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) is operating infinitely more responsibly and responsively and, for that, CEO Keith Parker and a largely sensible MARTA board deserve credit. Unfortunately, that and the flimsy prospect of MARTA rail service for Clayton County hardly justify adding a penny to Clayton’s sales tax for MARTA to operate its mass transit. There’s that famous saying: “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” Many Clayton workers have struggled with public transportation since the 2010 shutdown of C-Tran service. Remember why it shut down? That was the result of… View Article

Studies: Cars, Not Transit, Will Help the Poor

‘Car ownership plants the seeds for upward mobility’ By Scott Beyer (The Daily Beast) For decades, urban planners have preached mass transit as the key to economic mobility, but new studies show that improving access to cars may be the best way to help the poor. Sometimes academic studies are good at officially validating what people already know intuitively. For Americans who wait through lengthy public transportation commutes, it’s common sense that owning a car would offer advantages. Now two recent studies show that cars offer more than just convenience: they can give lower income Americans an economic leg up. A 2011 Brookings Institute study (PDF) found that in the 100 largest U.S. metro areas, only 22% of… View Article
By Baruch Feigenbaum Baruch FeigenbaumSenior FellowGeorgia Public Policy Foundation Discussions are resuming in the Southeast about a high-speed rail corridor. Unfortunately, the  evidence suggests that high-speed rail’s limited success in Europe and Asia is not transferrable to the United States. From a financial standpoint, things don’t look good. The majority of high-speed rail lines require large government subsidies from both general taxpayers and drivers. Even with generous subsidies, traveling by high-speed rail is still more expensive than flying for 12 of the 23 most popular high-speed rail routes in the world. The evidence suggests that high-speed rail can only be competitive on routes that are 200-to 500 miles in length. High-speed rail is also very expensive to build. Most new… View Article

Transportation Roundup

TRANSPORTATION ROUNDUP Compiled by Benita M. Dodd   Logistics and innovation: More than 1,100 people have registered already for the fourth annual Georgia Logistics Summit on February 8th, 2012, in Atlanta. Hosted by Georgia’s Center of Innovation for Logistics, the Summit is the only state-led collaborative event of its kind and size in the nation – and draws 85 percent of its participants from the private sector. The deadline for registration is Friday, January 27. Go to http://summit.georgialogistics.org/ to register to attend.  The Center of Innovation for Logistics is led by Page Siplon, who was a panelist in the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s second annual Legislative Policy Briefing in the fall of 2011. Watch his presentation at the Briefing here:… View Article

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