Category: Transportation

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
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
The New York Times quoted Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd in a January 1, 2016, article by Alan Blinder about the Atlanta Streetcar System. The full article is below; the link to the newspaper is here. Atlanta Begins Charging for a Streetcar Named Undesirable by Some By Alan Blinder ATLANTA — The streetcar was stopped in downtown traffic, and before long Keisha Schwarzel figured that was enough of a first experience with the year-old addition to Atlanta’s transit system. “I’d rather walk,” Ms. Schwarzel, 35, said on a rain-drenched Wednesday morning. And that was when the ride was free. On Friday, looking beyond the setbacks that became grist for the mass-transit skeptics who populate the suburbs, Atlanta’s 2.7-mile,… View Article

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