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-   -   Campaign for Atlanta Transportation Referendum Kicks Off (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=198662)

M II A II R II K Apr 5, 2012 4:10 PM

Campaign for Atlanta Transportation Referendum Kicks Off
 
Transportation referendum campaign starts


April 3, 2012

By Ariel Hart

http://media.ajc.com.coxnewsweb.com/...s/ajc-logo.gif

Read More: http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-poli...s-1406224.html

Quote:

The full campaign kicks off Wednesday for one of the most important votes in metro Atlanta’s history. It’s going to be a long fight. The 10-county referendum for a 1 percent sales tax for transportation takes place July 31. Bolstered by better fundraising than they expected, advocates plan to blanket the metro area with four months of advertisements. The campaign for the referendum, organized by business and civic groups such as the Metro Atlanta Chamber, is divided into two parts. “Education” advertisements already started two weeks ago. “Advocacy” advertisements, a much bigger portion of the privately funded campaign, will start airing Wednesday, according to campaign officials.

- Bob Ross, an opponent in Fayette County, said the ad addresses exactly the most important issue, roads -- but has no right to do so when slightly less than half of the referendum's project list is composed of roads. Just more than half goes to mass transit. “I agree we’ve got a traffic problem,” said Ross, who, like many of the opponents, is a tea party member. “My concern is over half the money is coming from what’s pitched as a solution, but has very little impact on road congestion.” Backers of the referendum say the transit will get drivers off the roads, and offer everyone more choices. Paul Bennecke, a head strategist for the campaign, said the ad speaks to all voters. “I think it certainly gets the visual image of what people are dealing with every day; they feel like they’re in a knot,” Bennecke said. “I feel, at the end of the day, we have an issue that has nearly unanimous consent. We have a traffic crisis. The issue becomes, do we want to solve it or not?”

- In the referendum, for the first time in Atlanta’s history, voters from across the region will vote together as one district. They will decide whether to approve a 1 percent sales tax across 10 counties, to fund a list of transportation projects in those counties. The regional list totals $6.14 billion. In addition, about $1 billion will be sent back to the counties and towns where it was raised, based on the amount of people and lane miles in each. Bennecke expects the campaign to spend about $8 million, most of it on advocacy. Donations to the education campaign are tax-exempt, but donations to the advocacy campaign are not. The campaign structure has drawn some fire from critics who see little distinction between advocacy and the education campaign, which touts the referendum as "one possible solution."

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tdawg Apr 9, 2012 11:34 AM

I hope this passes. Atlanta, once the southern model of public transportation (MARTA trains have been running for over 30 years), is falling behind it's neighbors.

atlwarrior Apr 10, 2012 1:19 AM

Yes this really need to pass, Marta is operating on 1980's infrastruce, Atlanta is approaching 6 million people in the metropolitian area, its time that a rail system match that growth. If not surburban Atlanta will suffocate in there own political backwardness, and nonprogressivity. However central Atlanta, and communties along the beltline project will thrive, as people exit the surburbs because of traffic problems.

atlwarrior Apr 10, 2012 1:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tdawg (Post 5659495)
I hope this passes. Atlanta, once the southern model of public transportation (MARTA trains have been running for over 30 years), is falling behind it's neighbors.

You are so right

tdawg Apr 11, 2012 11:04 AM

this isn't really relevant to the TSPLOST but when I was in Austin, TX last Fall, for the first time, it really reminded me of Atlanta in the 90s, which is when I lived there. Friendly, booming, just a great hopeful vibe about the future.

TarHeelJ Apr 11, 2012 10:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tdawg (Post 5659495)
I hope this passes. Atlanta, once the southern model of public transportation (MARTA trains have been running for over 30 years), is falling behind it's neighbors.

I agree with the hope that this passes, but exactly which neighbors is Atlanta falling behind? There isn't one transit system that I can think of that is anywhere near the size and scope of MARTA, so I don't think there is any danger of those systems ever moving ahead of MARTA.

min-chi-cbus Apr 12, 2012 2:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tdawg (Post 5662132)
this isn't really relevant to the TSPLOST but when I was in Austin, TX last Fall, for the first time, it really reminded me of Atlanta in the 90s, which is when I lived there. Friendly, booming, just a great hopeful vibe about the future.

I'm not sure native Austinites feel that way about Austin today....the ones I know are pissed about the growth and popularity and can see the crap that is (or is destined) to come with it.

ardecila Apr 12, 2012 3:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TarHeelJ (Post 5662941)
I agree with the hope that this passes, but exactly which neighbors is Atlanta falling behind? There isn't one transit system that I can think of that is anywhere near the size and scope of MARTA, so I don't think there is any danger of those systems ever moving ahead of MARTA.

Dallas.

Houston is going full steam ahead too but their compact system is wisely focused on the urban core and serves only Houston's most dense, intense activity centers - it's not a regional system like MARTA or DART.

L41A Apr 12, 2012 5:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5663328)
Dallas.

Houston is going full steam ahead too but their compact system is wisely focused on the urban core and serves only Houston's most dense, intense activity centers - it's not a regional system like MARTA or DART.

When DART trains start carrying half of what MARTA trains carry...... maybe and just maybe then we can even start talking about MARTA falling behind - no - scratch that falling behind/ more like others catching up.

It may be more accurate to state that the other referenced transit systems are gaining momentum to catch up to Atlanta's MARTA. But to state that MARTA is falling behind them is not true.

And I wouldn't call MARTA exactly regional either. If the MARTA lines extended into Cobb and Gwinnett counties - maybe then you could call it regional. But MARTA trains serve mostly the city of Atlanta and DeKalb County. MARTA train service even in Fulton County outside the city of Atlanta is limited.

fflint Apr 12, 2012 6:31 AM

Even with the advances made by many cities in recent years, Atlanta has by far the highest passenger rail ridership in the south. MARTA metro rail carries 225,300 weekday riders, whereas DART light rail carries 83,400, Miami's heavy rail system carries 63,300 and Houston's light rail system carries 36,100 weekday riders.

ardecila Apr 12, 2012 7:11 AM

MARTA is roughly 30 years old. DART is roughly 15 years old.

That means DART has had only half the time to build ridership, and it already has more trackage and more stations. On the other hand, DART has favored freeway corridors and freight-rail corridors, so the lines don't necessarily run where the riders are.

tdawg Apr 12, 2012 12:31 PM

by neighbors I really meant other Southern metropolises like Dallas and Houston that are competitors. Dallas especially.

electricron Apr 12, 2012 2:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5663460)
MARTA is roughly 30 years old. DART is roughly 15 years old.

That means DART has had only half the time to build ridership, and it already has more trackage and more stations. On the other hand, DART has favored freeway corridors and freight-rail corridors, so the lines don't necessarily run where the riders are.

Maybe DART isn't present where the riders are, but DART is present where the riders might want to go. I can only think of one major destination area in Dallas, specifically the Galleria, where the light rail trains don't go. Many neighborhoods surrounding DART light rail stations are going through regeneration process, more densely packed apartment buildings are sprouting up, and through this process DART will be where the riders are too.
When comparing rail systems with others nationally, you got to give the real estate developers time to do their magic. It took MARTA, I mean Atlanta, 30 years to densify, give Dallas that same 30 years.

L41A Apr 12, 2012 9:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 5663653)
Maybe DART isn't present where the riders are, but DART is present where the riders might want to go. I can only think of one major destination area in Dallas, specifically the Galleria, where the light rail trains don't go. Many neighborhoods surrounding DART light rail stations are going through regeneration process, more densely packed apartment buildings are sprouting up, and through this process DART will be where the riders are too.
When comparing rail systems with others nationally, you got to give the real estate developers time to do their magic. It took MARTA, I mean Atlanta, 30 years to densify, give Dallas that same 30 years.

MARTA trains have been carrying over 200,000 weekday riders for well over 15 years which coincidentally would make it about the same age (15 years) as you state DART is now and DART carries 83,000. I remember hearing a report when MARTA weekday ridership hit 100,000 and that was in the 1980s I believe. But I do understand that what DART is doing today may be exciting.

fflint Apr 13, 2012 12:22 AM

By building a large rail network from scratch, DART is seeing huge light rail ridership increases. That said, it doesn't carry anywhere near as many riders as MARTA heavy rail does (or did at the same age, apparently), and won't likely for many more years--so it's not obvious DART's creation of a new rail system where none existed somehow shows Atlanta 'falling behind' other southern cities in regards to transit. Mature rail systems don't expand exponentially the way new ones do.

electricron Apr 13, 2012 1:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by L41A (Post 5664299)
MARTA trains have been carrying over 200,000 weekday riders for well over 15 years which coincidentally would make it about the same age (15 years) as you state DART is now and DART carries 83,000. I remember hearing a report when MARTA weekday ridership hit 100,000 and that was in the 1980s I believe. But I do understand that what DART is doing today may be exciting.

True. MARTA had trains leaving downtown Atlanta using the four compass points from almost the very beginning. DART has had trains leaving downtown Dallas on four compass points in just the last few years. The recently completed Green line fulfilled the NW and SE compass points, the Red and Blue lines filled the S-SW and N-NE compass points. Huge areas of Dallas itself didn't have good access to light rail trains, now they do. Watch DART ridership numbers climb. Will they ever get as great as MARTA, who knows?

Matthew Apr 13, 2012 1:51 AM

The state of Georgia has a way to push this forward. If voters defeat this, the state will require cities/counties in the counties voting on this to pay up to three times more to build or repave roadways! This was reported on Fox 5 around 6 p.m. They may rebroadcast it at 10 p.m., if you turn on your TV now. If it's defeated, the state will provide less road construction money. Cities in the story said defeating the transportation sales tax would lead to deferred maintenance and less road construction. A road project requiring $40,000 in city/county money now would require $120,000 in city/county money if voters say no to this tax. This is already convincing anti-transit suburbanites to vote yes. If you vote no, prepare for a rough ride to work in your SUV.

LtBk Apr 13, 2012 1:53 AM

This is surprising coming from Georgia.

electricron Apr 13, 2012 1:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Matthew (Post 5664626)
The state of Georgia has a way to push this forward. If voters defeat this, the state will require cities/counties in the counties voting on this to pay up to three times more to build or repave roadways! This was reported on Fox 5 around 6 p.m. They may rebroadcast it at 10 p.m., if you turn on your TV now. If it's defeated, the state will provide less road construction money. Cities in the story said defeating the transportation sales tax would lead to deferred maintenance and less road construction. A road project requiring $40,000 in city/county money now would require $120,000 in city/county money if voters say no to this tax. This is already convincing anti-transit suburbanites to vote yes. If you vote no, prepare for a rough ride to work in your SUV.

Sounds like a scare tactic, and sensational TV reporting to me. Don't you just love the throw mud in your face politics? If that story was anywhere close to be true, every TV station and every news media outlet would have it, you could even find an internet link, but they don't.

Matthew Apr 14, 2012 2:29 AM

It may have been channel 2 (WSB-TV)? This explains why you couldn't find the link. I apologize for the mistake and found the link for you. I thought I was watching Fox 5. I watch both 2 and 5 news and have it on in the background while I'm at the computer. I trust channel 2. Their reporting is solid. Here's a link and this matches the story I was watching, including the mayor of Kennesaw interview.

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/rejec...st-vote/nMYCJ/

I edited this from the link above.
Quote:

Originally Posted by WSB-TV 2
....uncovered a clause in a regional transportation sales tax referendum that could cost taxpayers even more if it does not pass. ....critics of the plan say that voting against the proposal could actually cost tax payers even more. ....his city can currently get a state grant for the road work and only has to pay about 10 percent of the project, about $40,000. Should the transportation referendum fail, the local match for road work would triple for every community, meaning the same project would cost taxpayers in the city of Kennesaw $120,000. One voter....said knowing about the penalty could sway her opinion.

WSB-TV, WSB 750/95.5 and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution are all owned by the same company (COX) and they are in the same building, sharing resources. This story may appear in the newspaper soon?


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