Category: Transportation

Managed Lanes, The Untolled Story

By Ron Sifen As schools wind down and summer travel begins, commuters are thrilled to see weekday traffic improve on metro Atlanta streets and interstates. What many north metro motorists have begun to notice over the past year, however, is the overall, incremental improvement in their weekday commutes. How is that happening? According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, since the opening of the reversible express toll lanes alongside I-75 and I- 575 north of I-285, enough commuters are choosing to pay the tolls that it’s making an enormous difference to traffic flow in the general-purpose lanes. The improvement is reflected in the data. The department compared the average traffic performance from January to February 2018 – before the toll… View Article

Still Asking for Whom Georgia’s Roads are Tolled?

By Benita M. Dodd The toll lanes are coming! The toll lanes are coming! Despite a lengthy history of tolling in Georgia, many current residents appear intimidated or uninformed about the state’s expanding toll lanes: how they work, what they do and whether to use them. Opposition misinformation also influences perceptions as memories and tales of the days of tolls fade. Recent recollections begin with the SR 400 toll plaza. The 50-cent fee was ended in 2013 by Governor Nathan Deal, who said he was keeping the state’s promise to end the toll once the construction bond was retired. Some people remember the 35-cent causeway toll onto St. Simons Island, which ended in 2003. (Jekyll Island calls its $6 toll… View Article

Gwinnett Has Time to Do Transit Right

By Benita M. Dodd and Dave Emanuel Advocates of transit expansion in Gwinnett County blame timing for the failure of the March 19 transit referendum, which voters rejected 54-46 percent. The proponents, who say their well-funded advocacy plan got off to a late start and the special election date hurt turnout, vow they will be back again and again until transit expansion is approved. Make no mistake: Changing demographics and the money behind advocates practically guarantee transit expansion will come to pass in the growing county. The questions are how it will work and what the county needs. On that, referendum opponents won the day, despite a lack of organized opposition or funding for their effort. Timing did indeed play… View Article

Gwinnett Transit Vote a Mixed Bag

By Benita Dodd Before Gwinnett County voters even decide whether their transit plan leaves the station, it will cost taxpayers almost $770,000. That’s the cost of holding the election on March 19 instead of during last November’s general election. Such special elections are notorious for low turnout, bringing out the diehards on either side of an issue. They’re a waste of taxpayer money, a way for politicians to limit opposing voices, and they deserve to be outlawed. At the polls, Gwinnett’s voters face an especially vague referendum question – another practice long overdue for legislative change: “Gwinnett County has executed a contract for the provision of transit services, dated as of August 2, 2018. Shall this contract be approved? YES… View Article
By Baruch Feigenbaum A recent study, “Access Across America: Transit 2017,” by Andrew Owen and Brendan Murphy of the University of Minnesota, claims that accessibility to jobs by transit increased between 2016 and 2017. The study, which has been conducted for the past three years, has found increasing accessibility to jobs each year. Given declining transit ridership across the country, the study’s results seem surprising. But a closer look at the methodology shows that “accessibility to jobs” has little connection with actual transit ridership. The study estimates accessibility to jobs by transit and walking for each of the United States’ 11 million census blocks in 49 of the 50 largest metro areas (Memphis is excluded due to a… View Article
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution of January 18, 2019, published an op-ed by Benita Dodd in response to MARTA CEO Jeffrey Parker’s proposal for a $100 billion “moonshot for transit.” The op-ed, “A successful MARTA’s future shouldn’t look like the past,” is accessible online on the newspaper’s website here and is published in full below.  Opinion: A successful MARTA’s future shouldn’t look like the past By Benita Dodd Forty-five years ago, Congress was told the Apollo program – landing a manned spacecraft on the moon – had cost the United States $25.4 billion. With inflation, that would be $143.7 billion in today’s dollars. Ten years ago, an updated NASA estimate put that cost at about $200 billion in 2005 dollars.… View Article

2018 Victories: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

By Kyle Wingfield As 2018 dashes away like Donner and Blitzen, many Georgians will remember it as a year of major political transition. But 2018 also brought some substantial improvements to Georgians’ lives through better policy, much of it championed by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. The year began with a bit of a hangover from 2017: The tax reform that Congress passed late last year, though beneficial for your federal tax bill, threatened to raise your state taxes if unaddressed. Thankfully, legislators didn’t drop the ball. They set in motion a series of changes that will shield more of Georgians’ income from the state income tax and, for the first time in our state’s history, lower the top marginal… View Article

Transit’s New Technologies Leaving Planners Behind

By Eric J. Tanenblatt  When it comes to transportation in Atlanta, there are two things on which everyone can agree: Our cash-strapped transit grid is bad, and our traffic is worse.  Here, where one need only cast their gaze skyward to the swoop of cranes fashioning a towering, new skyline of glimmering glass and steel to understand the sea of red that drowns our highways each night, it’s plainly clear that growing pains are at hand – and, with them, worsening road congestion.  Our sprawling city is in desperate need of expanded public transportation. And it’s critical that it be equitable and accessible, because Atlanta will only truly be connected and vibrant when its mass transit system has equal buy-in… View Article

Bus Rapid Transit: Burden Reduced on Taxpayers

By Dave Emanuel Relatively few people use public transit but everyone pays for it. No public transportation system in the country is economically sustained by the fares paid by riders; all are subsidized by taxes. That public transit must be subsidized with tax dollars is recognized by virtually all transportation professionals, but the justification for creating or expanding a transit system is economic development. In essence, “If you build it, few will come but many will spend.” That point is well documented with the Charlotte, N.C., light rail system. A ride on the city’s 18.6-mile long LYNX Blue Line leaves no doubt that there is development along the system.   Construction of housing and commercial buildings is rampant along the newly… View Article

Express Toll Lanes: What you need to know

Express lanes: WSB Radio held an information session with transportation leaders this week about the metro area express toll lanes. With the Northwest Corridor reversible Express Toll Lanes (I-75/575) expected to be operational by Labor Day, the learning curve is steep. Listen to the program podcast here; read the highlights below. Highlights of the Northwest Corridor Reversible Express Toll Lanes on I-75/575 Pricing: A uniform pricing approach. During non-demand hours, (about midnight–5AM), the toll will be a flat 50 cents per trip,  regardless of length. Otherwise, a minimum charge of 10 cents per mile. Speed: The goal is to keep traffic moving at a minimum of 45 mph. Access: There are 10 new points of entry.… View Article

The Foundation’s positions are well thought out and are often ahead of their time.

State Senator Jack Hill more quotes