Category: Transportation

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

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

Atlanta Has Reached Peak Transit

By Randal O’Toole For decades, the transit industry has tried to convince Americans that they have a moral obligation to subsidize public transit and to spend billions of dollars building new rail transit lines. Yet the reality is that transit is increasingly irrelevant, as Atlantans have shown by deserting transit in droves. Federal transit data show that Atlanta transit ridership has declined every year since 2009 and was lower in 2014 than in any of the previous 30 years. Since the region’s population has grown by nearly 150 percent during those years, per capita transit ridership has dropped by more than 60 percent since 1985. Data are not yet available for all of 2015, but in the first nine months… View Article
By Benita M. Dodd A Georgia Senate committee heard this week from proponents and foes of a sales tax increase to fund public transportation projects including an 11.9-mile MARTA heavy rail expansion up Georgia 400. Witnesses represented developers, environmentalists, Millennials, elected officials and the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. The Foundation’s Senior Fellow Baruch Feigenbaum, a transportation analyst with the Reason Foundation and an affected metro Atlanta resident, testified that, “for one MARTA heavy-rail expansion we could provide 20 high quality bus rapid transit expansions.” Transit activists frequently portray the Georgia Public Policy Foundation as “anti-transit” because our experts consistently rail against rail in metro Atlanta – heavy, light and commuter rail as well as streetcars. The “anti-transit” label is… View Article
The Georgia Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee, chaired by Sen. John Albers, held a hearing February 9 on legislation for a local countywide sales tax increase to fund transit, including 11.9-mile MARTA rail line expansion along Georgia 400. Albers invited Baruch Feigenbaum to testify. Below is Feigenbaum’s testimony.   Members of the Georgia Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee, my name is Baruch Feigenbaum. I am the Assistant Director of Transportation Policy at Reason Foundation, a non-profit think tank. I am also a Senior Fellow with the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. For almost four decades Reason’s transportation experts have been advising federal, state and local policymakers on transportation matters. My Credentials on Today’s Topic I am a… View Article

The Truth About Millennial Commuting Patterns

Proponents of MARTA rail expansion have cited Millennials’ travel patterns as justification. But in an article published February 3, 2016 by the Reason Foundation, Joseph Knight and Baruch Feigenbaum (a Senior Fellow at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation) analyze the claim that Millennials were driving less because they took more transit. Of particular interest, they note, “while the temporary decrease in driving sounds impressive, the development of technology is a bigger factor. Since 2005 telecommuting has increased a hefty 79% — much faster than transit usage has increased. To attract talent, employers are keen to offer flexible schedules that include telecommuting. Millennials are using ridesharing including Uber and Lyft and home-delivery services such as AmazonFresh, Birchbox and Trunk Club View Article

Friday Facts: February 5, 2016

It’s Friday!  A REMINDER: Friday Facts made possible by the generosity of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s donors. Enjoy them? Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to help advance our important mission by clicking here. Then and Now My, how we’ve grown: In 1991, the year the Georgia Public Policy Foundation was established, there were 1,350 public schools in 185 school districts with 1.2 million students and 68,000 teachers, according to federal statistics. The latest data show 181 districts contain more than 2,400 schools, 1.7 million students and 109,000 teachers. The staffing surge is even more remarkable at the administration level, as Foundation Senior Fellow Ben Scafidi points out here.  Events  February 17: Register now for, “… 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
Marc Scribner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute writes on the dangers of regulation delaying automated vehicles. Self-Driving Regulation Pro-Market Policies Key to Automated Vehicle Innovation By Marc Scribner Leonardo da Vinci first sketched the design for a self-propelled cart with programmable steering in the late 15th century. Fast forward to 2010, when Google announced its fleet of self-driving cars had quietly racked up over 140,000 miles on public roads. Robotic cars found in science fiction, as well as Leonardo’s sketch books, will soon be science fact. To ensure innovation is fostered and fleet deployment is rapid, policy makers must prepare for this new reality. Google’s announcement surprised even those who had been tracking vehicle automation developments. As of this writing,… View Article

Thank you for the great work that the Public Policy Foundation is doing across our state setting a wonderful example. I first ran for the Senate in 1994, and the Foundation was that resource I called upon to be a great help to me as we were articulating positions and formulating public policy initiatives. We appreciate very much your leadership and all that you stand for.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle more quotes