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@The Last Democrat in Georgia @Burroughston Broch "No one is throwing insults and no one is demeaning Speaker Ralston's constituents."

You chose these words:"struggles mightily with poverty and high unemployment", which are certainly not terms of endearment, and then attempted to draw a contrast to Atlanta. Your chosen words were both insults and incorrect. The statistics I quoted are from the US Census Bureau.

1 day, 4 hours ago on Technology can improve transit but not replace new network investment

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@The Last Democrat in Georgia Get your facts in order before throwing insults. Ralston's district encompasses parts of Dawson, Fannin, and Gilmer counties. The unemployment rate in each of those counties in February 2014 was lower than in Fulton County; in fact, Dawson County's rate was 2% less than Fulton's. The poverty rate in these three counties is only slightly higher than Fulton County's 16.8%. So you are completely offbase to demean the Speaker's constituents.

The Speaker should not be City of Atlanta-centric because the City of Atlanta is less than 4.5% of Georgia's population.

1 day, 12 hours ago on Technology can improve transit but not replace new network investment

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@The Last Democrat in Georgia Surely you jest. You couldn't be writing this from a pot fest in Colorado, could you? Let's check back in 5 years and see whether the big boys on the Northside have done as you predict. My guess is no because of the unrestrained risk to which they would be exposed, with government as a both partner and as a regulator.

2 days, 3 hours ago on A MARTA story: Why the state never contributed funding – from day one

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@The Last Democrat in Georgia "land which will likely be taken through Eminent Domain if necessary"

You propose taking private land by eminent domain and then selling the land off to private investors to build and operate the transit system and adjacent residential and commercial developments. When Hell freezes over! We have enough cases of eminent domain abuse for a dozen lifetimes.

And how would you propose to control the private, for-profit transit system? Georgia Power never figured it out, which is part of the reason we now have MARTA.

Let me predict you believe that, given enough urban planners and lawyers with unlimited powers, all things are possible.

2 days, 10 hours ago on A MARTA story: Why the state never contributed funding – from day one

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@The Last Democrat in Georgia You're avoiding the point a bit. A large capital investment is required to construct transit. This investment is required long before user fees, value capture taxes, CIDs, TADS, advertising, and fares generate any income. How do you propose to pay for the initial construction without bonds?

Speaking of CIDs and TADs, have you seen any capable of paying for a MARTA extension?

3 days, 3 hours ago on A MARTA story: Why the state never contributed funding – from day one

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@The Last Democrat in Georgia Bonds are not income, they are financing vehicles like mortgages. They are used to finance assets that cannot be paid in full out of current income. Are you telling me you've never had a mortgage?

How do you propose to pay for transit improvements? 

3 days, 13 hours ago on A MARTA story: Why the state never contributed funding – from day one

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@The Last Democrat in Georgia Please explain why long term, low interest, tax exempt bonds are an unsustainable form of funding for state and local governments. At the end of the day the taxpayers pay for the roads, regardless of the accounting path the money takes and whether it came from fuel taxes or income taxes.

4 days ago on A MARTA story: Why the state never contributed funding – from day one

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@Rees Cramer "Actually it (MARTA) does just fine, for a half built system that is taken advantage of and used by the suburban critic as the example of urban decay."

So show us the plans for the fully built system. A connection to the International Terminal was planned as a start for a branch but, in typical MARTA clarity of thought, never built.

"You are not going to like it much when you really start paying the true cost of the road you use."

As a taxpayer I pay the full cost of public roads, unless you can prove otherwise.

5 days, 9 hours ago on A MARTA story: Why the state never contributed funding – from day one

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@PeggyPowellDobbins  You obviously haven't tried to hail a cab on Peachtree. Hailing a cab in Atlanta is like watching grass grow.

1 week ago on Atlanta BeltLine buries Peachtree Streetcar to favor other streetcar lines

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@atlman

Here is the Atlanta Regional Commission's 2009 estimate of 480,700 in the City: http://atlantaregional.com/File%20Library/Info%20Center/Newsletters/Regional%20Snapshots/Population/RS_PopNHousing_Feb2010.pdf.

Here's an AJC article from 2011 stating the Census Bureau's own 2009 estimate (no longer available on line) was 540,000: http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/census-shock-result-of-flawed-estimates/nQszH/.

1 month, 1 week ago on Atlanta’s income gap problem rooted in poverty, not in a lack of middle-class

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@Rees Cramer The City of Atlanta is 7% or less of the metro area population, and that percentage falls with every census. At its 1970 population peak of 497,000 (18% more than in 2010) the City of Atlanta was 27% of the metro area's population.

The "city's best high schools" are mediocre when compared with the state's best high schools. Please explain the educational benefit of having the Beltline near a high school.

1 week, 1 day ago on Chris Leinberger: Atlanta region ‘absolutely needs rail transit;’ question is will you lead or be a laggard?

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@Rees Cramer  Then MARTA will go even further in the financial hole. It already has a very low farebox collection rate.

Regarding a congestion charge, it's a game two can play and could as easily be levied on those who drive out of the city.

1 week, 1 day ago on A MARTA story: Why the state never contributed funding – from day one

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@freckleface You and I cannot ascertain the author's intent, but we can see what he wrote. And it is not correct. Finis.

1 week, 1 day ago on A MARTA story: Why the state never contributed funding – from day one

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@atlman My, my, my. You certainly get your knickers in a twist when someone disagrees with you.

I wrote nothing about despising anyone, in Atlanta or not. I observed that the author's closing is incorrect in at least one case, and that there may be other cases. Don't presume to put words in my mouth, but feel free to rant as much as you wish.

1 week, 1 day ago on A MARTA story: Why the state never contributed funding – from day one

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@freckleface Please read the author's last sentence - "the only major mass transit system in the country that does not receive state support." That's different from what you state. The standard MARTA supporter lament is what the author wrote, and it is not correct.

1 week, 1 day ago on A MARTA story: Why the state never contributed funding – from day one

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@atlman What a cop out and smokescreen on your part. You don't like that I proved the author was wrong on at least one count, and disproved the mantra that MARTA is the only major sytem not subsidized by a state.

Austin Capital Metro is certainly a large transit system and was the previous purview of MARTA's General Manager/CEO Keith Parker. Part of the reason for hiring him was his performance in a major transit system - Austin. Austin's operating budget is about 40% of MARTA's, but then MARTA's operating budget is only 5% of New York MTA's operating budget.

1 week, 1 day ago on A MARTA story: Why the state never contributed funding – from day one

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"And to this day, the State of Georgia has yet to make any contribution to MARTA – the only major mass transit system in the country that does not receive state support."

Austin, Texas Capital Metro received 0.2% of its 2013 $255 million budget from the State of Texas. For all intents and purposes this is zero state support.

I suspect there are others as well.

1 week, 2 days ago on A MARTA story: Why the state never contributed funding – from day one

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@mnst The problem is "the experts" don't like having to explain to mere peons why they have done what they did. They believe, as "the experts", their actions should be accepted without question. In this, they are much like Professor Marvel in "The Wizard of Oz."

3 weeks, 2 days ago on City of Atlanta must carefully weigh its future transit and streetcar options

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@atlman "had the same been passed by someone from the (again insert your preferred code words here) Atlanta leadership there would be tar, feathers and pitchfork brigades encircling the capital right now."

The City of Atlanta was already tapped out to subsidize Arthur Blank to the tune of $500 million or so. They couldn't afford to keep the Braves as well, just like they cannot afford to repair their $1.1 billion of decayed infrastructure..

3 weeks, 2 days ago on Ted Turner: ‘I wouldn’t have moved the Braves to Cobb County’

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@mnst  In the mid 1930s, the greatest airplane designer in the UK (and perhaps in the world) told his #2 test pilot, "If one of my engineers or designers tells you anything about an aeroplane so complicated you cannot understand it, you can take my word that it's all balls." Put it in today's parlance, if someone says to you that you cannot understand a technical subject, then they are trying to feed you manure.

There is no magic about designing a transit system; an astute and intellectually honest expert can explain it in plain English. When you hear the buzzwords and technical jargon, you know they are insecure.

3 weeks, 2 days ago on City of Atlanta must carefully weigh its future transit and streetcar options

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It amazes me that people are afraid to come into conflict with the King children. I think Ms. Young should publicly tell them to pound sand. They have been bullies far too long.

3 weeks, 2 days ago on Andrea Young takes leave from Center for Civil and Human Rights’ board because of King Estate’s concerns

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"What most single moms and dads lack are not moral standards or a sound work ethic. What they are missing is a second income, which most families who are trying to make ends meet need in today’s economy."

The author forgot to mention that many single moms (and some single dads) have more than one child, thus making their plight even more dire.

"Our choice is to invest now in accessible high-quality child care, or pay staggering costs later and continue to fail our working poor in their attempt to escape poverty."

The UK has already tried this and found that promised improvements didn't happen. Of course, they shot themselves in the foot by offering financial incentives to produce more children; many of those on the dole (welfare in the US) obliged them by pumping out as many as a dozen children.

1 month ago on Offering quality childcare saves taxes and helps poor reach middle class

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@atlman Kasim Reed became Mayor on January 4, 2010, before the 2010 Census was taken on April 1. Check your facts.

How many shares of Apple do you own? You are a one person PR firm. Keep on drinking the koolade.

1 month ago on Sustainability’s next generation flexes young wings of new ideas in Atlanta

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Once Apple falls from its pedestal and becomes just another company, we shall see how long Mr. Cook's Triple Bottom Line lasts. Seeing declining growth and increased competition for Apple, we know that fall is in progress.

It's easy to be green when you're sitting on $160 billion in idle cash, but investors are clamoring for Apple to do something financially lucrative with it rather than leaving it parked overseas. Putting solar panels on buildings in Georgia and other similar activities will not produce the returns investors expect.

1 month ago on Sustainability’s next generation flexes young wings of new ideas in Atlanta

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@faranf43  Getting rid of the ATU would be the best thing that ever happened to MARTA.

1 month, 1 week ago on Plan for big changes at MARTA receives little push-back, except from union; ready for vote at Capitol

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@mnst It doesn't seem you know enough about the subject to correct anyone.

Normal professional practice is to survey the route, work with the utility companies to identify their underground facilities (they have maps), and then pinpoint the utility locations using non-invasive surveying tools. The information obtained is then used to design the new work to avoid utility conflicts wherever possible, to show how utilities must be rerouted if necessary, and caution the Contractor about what utilities exist.

Only the foolish open up the streets first without this design work. MARTA's subterranean work was much more challenging than a streetcar, and they began with proper design. Why should the streetcar be different?

1 month, 1 week ago on Council committee puts Atlanta-BeltLine streetcar plans on hold

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@mnst You missed what I wrote, so I'll repeat it.

There are no previously unknown utilities, just lack of competence, research and exploration. The designers didn't do their jobs and the contractors are having to address utilities as they are encountered, and are submitting large change orders for more money and time.

1 month, 1 week ago on Council committee puts Atlanta-BeltLine streetcar plans on hold

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@mnst

There are no previously unknown utilities, just lack of competence, research and exploration.

Building the next leg along the BeltLine is not smart because it won't generate much income. The next phase should be built where it will earn the largest financial return.

1 month, 1 week ago on Council committee puts Atlanta-BeltLine streetcar plans on hold

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@mnst  If the first project were so wonderfully designed, there would not be massive cost and schedule overruns for dealing with "unanticipated" underground utilities.

The business community is correct to suggest gauging how the first project performs before starting a stampede to do the others. My guess is that, after the new wears off, ridership will be low, expenses will be high, and it will be a money pit.

As for me, I will continue to ride MARTA heavy rail and save both time and money.

1 month, 1 week ago on Council committee puts Atlanta-BeltLine streetcar plans on hold

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