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Old July 3rd, 2012, 07:14 PM   #41
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So by sites they mean exact locations in the fabled gulch, correct? I can't fathom them relocating the entire concept to, say, Lindberg.
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Old August 1st, 2012, 01:59 AM   #42
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Atlanta Votes Today On T-SPLOST Transportation Tax

image hosted on flickr

Traffic Jam in Atlanta, Georgia by mattlemmon, on Flickr

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(Jim Burress – Atlanta, WABE for Marketplace) Atlanta traffic stinks. I live just eight miles from work, but it often takes an hour or more to get home. So, let’s start the car, start the stopwatch and see how tonight’s commute shapes up.

There’s an acronym you’re about to see a lot — “T-SPLOST.” Like “y’all” and “bless your heart,” T-SPLOST is an expression that’s inserted itself into our vernacular down here. It stands for “Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.” It’s a 1 percent sales tax that over 10 years will generate more than $8 billion for regional transportation projects. It’s safe to say everyone in Atlanta hates our traffic. It’s just as safe to say that’s where the agreement ends.

“If we are successful on Tuesday,” says Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, “we’ll move the equivalent of 72,000 cars each day from our roads.” Governor Nathan Deal agrees. “We have to do something to address the transportation and transit needs of our state.” It’s not every day Atlanta’s Democratic mayor the Republican governor agree. But they — and a lot of other unlikely allies – -are campaigning for the T-SPLOST. They say it will ease congestion and create jobs.
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Old August 1st, 2012, 06:03 AM   #43
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^ Must be Nice to be the State Capital....


Wish We were the capital here... Here's to hoping that gets passed in ATL. (Traffic was never that bad even on 4th of July Weekend? That bad as in that picture Traffic was always more like Northbound 85 in that picture. Even when congested more than that, It moved along at a pretty good pace considering the sheer amount of traffic. Was that picture taken during an accident or something? 1 hour for 8 miles seems like a stretch...)
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Old August 1st, 2012, 10:38 AM   #44
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Guess it didn't:

Voters Slam Brakes on Transportation plan

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Initial results show $7.2 billion tax failing in all 10 metro counties

Distrustful of government and riven by differences, metro Atlanta voters on Tuesday rejected a $7.2 billion transportation plan that business leaders have called an essential bulwark against regional decline.

The defeat of the 10-year, 1 percent sales tax leaves the Atlanta region's traffic congestion problem with no visible remedy. It marks failure not only for the tax but for the first attempt ever to unify the 10-county region's disparate voters behind a plan of action. "Let this send a message," said Debbie Dooley, a tea party leader who early on organized opposition to the T-SPLOST tax measure. "We the people, you have to earn our trust before asking for more money."

Kasim Reed, who fought years for the referendum as a legislator and as Atlanta mayor, rallied supporters gathered at a hotel in downtown Atlanta. "The voters have decided," Reed said. "But tomorrow I'm going to wake up and work just as hard to change their minds." Gov. Nathan Deal's office told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he would now take a central role in transportation planning for the state's metro areas, and he would not support a sequel to Tuesday's referendum. "It's heartbreaking," said Ashley Robbins, president of Citizens for Progressive Transit, one of dozens of organizations that worked for the referendum. She predicted a loss of valuable young workers to the region's economy. "If Atlanta's not the region that we want, the young energetic people that drove these campaigns are going to leave."

Results were still pending Tuesday night in the state's other 11 regions. The Transportation Investment Act of 2010, which set up the referendum, was touted to raise as much as $19 billion if approved district by district. Leaders with the Metro Atlanta Chamber, which pushed to create the referendum in the Legislature and then poured millions into a campaign to pass the tax, did not immediately return telephone calls.

Voter revolt

The metro Atlanta result was no surprise to independent pollsters who in recent weeks predicted an overwhelming loss, fueled by citizens' distrust of government and the metro area's splintered transportation desires.

Voters interviewed Tuesday — urban transit fans and suburban drivers — confirmed the predictions. Shirley Tondee, a Brookhaven Republican, thinks the region must do something to solve constant transportation woes. But she voted against the T-SPLOST anyway. "I just don't trust that government is going to take the money and do what they say they're going to do," the retired sales representative said outside her precinct. Robert Williams, a 59-year old electronic technician and a Decatur Democrat, is skeptical too. But in the end he voted yes.

[...]
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Old August 1st, 2012, 03:48 PM   #45
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The more forums about this referendum I attended these past few weeks, the more I knew it was doomed to fail. The advocates have been too meek in their campaign and used their money very poorly. An over-emphasis on Atlanta left outlying counties confused about their vote, and in general there was not enough done to counter the misinformation provided by some of the opponents.

Perhaps worst of all, the measure did pass in three regions but it did so in regions that were not considered high priority areas. So we didn't even get consensus from the voters. Now the State will flounder in it's reaction because it's likely this format will not be repeated and GDOT will have to reconsider how it intends to address transportation planning but without clear direction. And none of the immediate scenarios paint a rosy picture for rail.
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Old August 1st, 2012, 08:25 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GunnerJacket View Post
The more forums about this referendum I attended these past few weeks, the more I knew it was doomed to fail. The advocates have been too meek in their campaign and used their money very poorly. An over-emphasis on Atlanta left outlying counties confused about their vote, and in general there was not enough done to counter the misinformation provided by some of the opponents.

Perhaps worst of all, the measure did pass in three regions but it did so in regions that were not considered high priority areas. So we didn't even get consensus from the voters. Now the State will flounder in it's reaction because it's likely this format will not be repeated and GDOT will have to reconsider how it intends to address transportation planning but without clear direction. And none of the immediate scenarios paint a rosy picture for rail.
While I liked many of the ideas proposed, the overall plan was overly ambitious at a terrible economic time and put to voters who are in no mood for new taxes. So I suspect it will be broken down into bite-sized chunks and funded in a variety of other ways.
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Old August 1st, 2012, 10:51 PM   #47
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While I liked many of the ideas proposed, the overall plan was overly ambitious at a terrible economic time and put to voters who are in no mood for new taxes. So I suspect it will be broken down into bite-sized chunks and funded in a variety of other ways.
This along with a massive distrust of government. This vote came almost IMMEDIATELY after the extension of the GA400 tolls (which was walked back by the governor trying to sway some votes), directly breaking a promise made to the northern 'burbs.

I also think some kind of proposal including transit to Turner Field (possibly a trolley line to make the SimCity planners around here cream their pants) from any of the nearby MARTA stations would have bought a few more % points, and possibly created some kind of entertainment corridor South of the Capitol and near the stadium.

The Governor has already started his "Plan B" (which TSPLOST supporters said didn't exist, BTW) of allocating existing funds in the ways which benefit the population the most. Ya know, how things should have been going all along.

You can't get a tax passed in this economic climate, and when you look at the history of "special taxes" levied in GA and Atlanta, they aren't used effectively and don't go away. You'd be hard pressed to find any improvements that the Water/Sewer tax has done in Atlanta for one example.

I believe all this was a much greater cause for its failure than NAACP or Sierra Club opposition. People don't trust the govt. to do what is promised and won't give up more income during a recession. Not to mention it wouldn't lessen commuter traffic.
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 05:01 AM   #48
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This along with a massive distrust of government. This vote came almost IMMEDIATELY after the extension of the GA400 tolls (which was walked back by the governor trying to sway some votes), directly breaking a promise made to the northern 'burbs.
The extension of the tolls was something established several years ago. While the Governor's announcement last week about ending the tolls was a move to endear more people to the TSPLOST, that's about the only direct correlation.

Quote:
The Governor has already started his "Plan B" (which TSPLOST supporters said didn't exist, BTW) of allocating existing funds in the ways which benefit the population the most. Ya know, how things should have been going all along.
When the advocates and GDOT said there is no Plan B they were referring to funding for the projects identified in TSPLOST, and for 99% of those projects that remains true today. The Governor didn't announce some massive shift in funding or redirection of major GDOT activities, but simply affirmed GDOTs priorities now that TSPLOST isn't fully implemented. This doesn't constitue a true Plan B because the alternatives and outcomes from each are decidedly different.

If the legislators find $14B from other sources to invest in transportation, THAT would be a Plan B.



I'm sorry the vote wasn't a full consensus because not only would that have better forced the State's hand to develop a true Plan B, but it would've also made the option easier to manage rather than working around the new political realities of having a band across the middle of the state operating a different infrastructure development scheme.
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Old August 7th, 2012, 06:08 AM   #49
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It's interesting that the feds are fast-tracking The Gulch project: http://www.ajc.com/business/feds-fas...s-1485956.html

So there's movement...but at the federal level.
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Old August 8th, 2012, 04:27 AM   #50
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Transport Politic

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Where There Were Once Many Lines Planned, Just One Opens in Miami

August 5th, 2012


» The failure of a local sales tax to produce revenues as expected should dampen excitement around the latest extension of Miami’s Metrorail system.

Last week, Georgia voters overwhelmingly denied the passage of the T-SPLOST referendum, which, among other things, would have provided $7.2 billion for transportation over the next ten years to the Atlanta region thanks to income from a 1¢ sales tax. About half of that funding would have gone to public transit operations and expansion; in the city of Atlanta itself, the program would have paid for the beginning of work on the Beltline transit corridor, a light rail line to Emory University, several BRT lines, and a MARTA heavy rail extension. Voters were clearly unconvinced of the value of the transportation investments, were motivated by anti-tax sentiment, and felt that the projects would not benefit them directly. The result may be decades of increasing traffic in the metropolitan area with few new alternatives.

Yet some voters also expressed another concern: That the proposed projects, despite their inclusion in the official list of priorities, would not actually be built. Their sentiments were not necessarily unreasonable. The $7.2 billion supposed to be generated by the tax was an estimate, and if the economy continues to underperform, it’s quite possible that the actual revenues collected could have been much lower. Moreover, the list of transportation priorities was itself based on project cost estimates, which, if you know anything about U.S. construction projects, are liable to increase wildly.

If anyone was paying attention to Miami, they might be especially skeptical of the tax’s value. There, voters passed a 1/2¢ sales tax increase in 2002 by a huge margin. They were promised an enormous expansion of rail transit service, with dozens of miles of new lines shooting out of the existing Metrorail system in virtually every direction. What they got in reality, however, was one project: The 2.4-mile, one-stop Orange Line extension to the Airport, which opened last weekend at a cost of $506 million. No other rail service is expected to be funded before 2035.

Nonetheless, the Airport extension, which will bring downtown Miami within a 15-minute trip of the airport, is an impressive addition to the city’s transit network. The terminus at the Miami Intermodal Center (MIC) is a beautiful feat of steel, concrete, and glass. By next year, the $2 billion MIC will allow for connections between Metrorail, Amtrak, Greyhound, rental cars, seven bus routes, and the region’s commuter Tri-Rail line. An automated people mover called MIA Mover already connects the complex to the terminals.


Miami’s Metrorail system, showing 2.4-mile extension to the airport and new Orange Line. Ridership in the southern part of the system is higher, so doubling service to the south is a reasonable decision. Source: Miami-Dade County. Read a critique of the new map from Cameron Booth.

The MIC station is expected to see 7,500 daily riders on Metrorail, a huge increase over the 66,000 daily riders currently recorded on the system’s 24.4 miles, according to APTA (up from about 45,000 a day in the late 1990s). Ridership on the system has been increasing relatively steadily since it opened in 1984, unsurprisingly considering the city’s growth during that period. Since 2000 population increase has been particularly quick, with the city now housing more than 408,000 people, a more than 10% increase over the past decade. Miami’s population density of more than 12,000 people per mile is now about the same as Chicago’s.

Thus the argument back in 2002 that something needed to be done to significantly improve the rail system. The People’s Transportation Plan, as it was known, was supposed to have raised $17 billion over 25 years, enough to guarantee the completion of a 10.6 east-west Metrorail corridor and 9.5-mile north corridor by 2016.

Several problems arose. The North Corridor, originally supposed to be the first project completed, repeatedly received poor ratings from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) thanks to low ridership estimates and poor management on the part of Miami-Dade transit. The FTA would have to contribute a significant portion of the project’s cost for it to be funded. At the same time, its projected price tag increased from $515 million to $1.63 billion. Similar problems plagued the East-West Corridor, of which the Airport Link was supposed to be the first phase. Indeed, the cost of this project doubled since initial estimates.

Meanwhile, the beginnings of the recession (which hurt Florida particularly badly) led to a decline in tax revenues. And the system, whose finances had been incorrectly tabulated in previous years, spent far more than expected on operating deficits and a new headquarters, leaving only the $400 million in local funding for the airport line.

By 2010, a partial expansion of bus service was basically entirely reversed, the other rail projects simply do not exist according to the Miami-Dade website, and the only improvements to the North Corridor have been in the form of an improved bus line.

Just as problematic, even when hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in new transit capital, the system has had trouble providing the services that an effective public transportation network is supposed to offer. While Metrorail service has been increased slightly to provide for a distribution of 10-minute peak services on the two branches (the Orange Line to the airport and the Green Line to Palmetto, the other, older terminus), at nights and weekends, trains will leave the airport only every 30 minutes. Nobody should be expected to wait half an hour for a train at the airport when arriving on Saturday at midday. And fewer people will ride as a result. How could the funding for this essential purpose not be available?

[...]
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Old August 13th, 2012, 07:47 PM   #51
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Southern Mayors to Meet on Regional Train Service.

Could have an impact for residents along the Gulf Coast.


http://www.weather.com/news/southern...rvice-20120813
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Old August 13th, 2012, 08:00 PM   #52
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I thought the Sunset Limited ran to Orlando. Funny how they left that out of the article. Perhaps they are not looking at reviving that portion of the route. Would be great to see this service revived. Currently one has to drive to NO or go through Chicago to get to the west coast.

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Old August 16th, 2012, 06:10 AM   #53
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New Atlanta streetcar:


http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/...-flatbed-truck (from Cirrus at SSP)

Quote:
Say hello. A spokesman for Mayor Kasim Reed confirms that the above photo, which was posted on the Atlanta subreddit this morning with the tease "Atlanta...say hello to your new streetcar! (sneak peek)," depicts the vehicle that will coast between the King Center and Centennial Olympic Park starting in late 2013. He says the photo was taken at the Siemens facility in Sacramento where the vehicle was assembled. The propulsion systems, once built in Siemens' Cumming Alpharetta location, will be shipped to California to be installed. "Blue is the base color of what the car will look like," the spokesman says. Exterior decals will be added closer to completion.

NOTE: This post has been updated to include new information, including confirmation of the photo's authenticity.

http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/...-flatbed-truck
Route map:


http://blogs.ajc.com/jay-bookman-blo...losing-streak/
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Old August 17th, 2012, 03:03 PM   #54
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Looks great! I can't wait to see that sleek baby riding the rails in DT Atlanta. Love that blue color.

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Old August 17th, 2012, 05:47 PM   #55
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Looks great! I can't wait to see that sleek baby riding the rails in DT Atlanta. Love that blue color.

Steve
Sexy enough to justify the expense?
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Old August 17th, 2012, 08:55 PM   #56
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Sexy enough to justify the expense?
IMO, yes. But I really am not here to get in a debate on benefits/cost of light rail or street cars.

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Old December 13th, 2012, 07:58 PM   #57
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Train service from Norfolk to DC

Train service is offered again from the Norfolk Va area up to DC and points further north. This is the first train in Norfolk since 1977 though nearby Hampton had service. This is a 'leg' of the train service which is all part of the Southeast High speed rail project.

http://hamptonroads.com/2012/12/norf...k-amtrak-train

http://www.sehsr.org/
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Old December 29th, 2012, 06:02 PM   #58
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Orlando-to-Miami train could generate $145M in fares annually

Florida's HSR project may be dead, but we have a pretty interesting replacement on the way. "All Aboard Florida" would become the nation's first privately financed passenger-rail system to operate successfully since the automobile became the prime choice of travelers, if FEC is able to get the project off the drawing board.

Quote:
If the All Aboard Florida train becomes a reality, the system linking Orlando International Airport with Miami would generate $145 million in fares annually by 2018, according to records filed by the company with the state.

With one-way tickets estimated in the $100 range, that would mean the Coral Gables-based company is expecting to carry nearly 1.5 million passengers between Central and South Florida within three years of its inaugural trip in 2015.

All Aboard Florida also is seeking a 99-year lease, presumably for free or a token payment, to lay down tracks along the south edge of the BeachLine Expressway, which runs from Interstate 4 south of downtown Orlando to Cocoa on the east coast.
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Old January 18th, 2013, 06:02 AM   #59
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ATL Streetcar: Boondoggle or Visionary Project?

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Old January 18th, 2013, 03:53 PM   #60
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We know people respond better to rail vs buses for fixed route transit, due to a visual reaction of certainty in routes and the lack of stigma. The question here is whether the designated routes will yield the traffic desired. If so this could spur more of the same and bode well for the Beltline. If not...

I do wish they made a smaller loop route within the core of dontown that could be used for free or for a quarter. Simplye navigating around from Centennial Park to Underground would do wonders, I believe.
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