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Yeap this is a conflict. The Xpress Bus service should be funded. But to be fair the Counties getting the service should be funding it and/or the DeKalb/Fulton should get state aid for MARTA. Granted one could say the Xpress service is good for DeKalb/Fulton/COA on the other hand I'm sure many people using Xpress would end up going to an outlying MARTA rail station and use that, thus increasing ridership.
3 months, 1 week ago on GRTA quietly making case to state lawmakers to fund Xpress bus service
@ScottNAtlanta @Burroughston Broch
Don't forget that as long as we subsidize driving in cars, (zoning codes that require or result in free parking, Property and general sales taxes that match or build local roads, insurance and police, operation via traffic lights, zoning codes that promote car dependent development) transit will need subsidy to compete.
For instance studies of just doing Parking Cash Out where the cost of a parking spot can be exchanged for a $50 monthly credit for transit usage drives up transit use dramatically (cost of a space in a parking deck is over 20,000)
As to cost cutting, keep in mind MARTA commissioned the KPMG study just so they could implement more cost savings measures.
I fully expect that as a result of the study MARTA will look to raise compensation but also improve absenteeism and lower the costs of benefits in order to be in line with national averages.
7 months ago on New MARTA CEO Keith Parker will be a daily rider and have an open door
"who said he would be moving to a home next to a MARTA stop. “That’s going to be part of my daily plan — use my BreezeCard and ride it everyday.”
I think this is great news and very important. After all the best way to understand the rider experience is to be a daily rider.
Though you forgot to mention another challenge a hostile legislative committee called MARTOC that ...... ok ok I won't go there.
I'll just say I agree that this looks like a great selection and the MARTA board should be commended for their efforts and for the result.
@YellowJacketsFan from the above article "how and when the public entity should start publishing their weekly blogs"
MARTA is paying for the space to publish their own column that hopefully will make their case on various issues related to their provision of transportation service and/or the need in the region for transportation supportive development.
As many have noted, MARTA's ridership could be higher if we could overcome the false perceptions about riding MARTA. Not to mention there are a number of decision makers or other relevant folks who read the Sapporta Report. This seems like a worthwhile investment in marketing.
7 months, 2 weeks ago on About MARTA, SaportaReport and building a new journalism model
What's the problem here? Mr. Harris was a journalist and on the editorial board of the AJC. That's the experience I'm sure that got him the job with MARTA's Public Relations.
Are you saying because Maria maybe friends with him or respect him she is making stuff up?
7 months, 2 weeks ago on State Rep. Mike Jacobs acts inappropriately during MARTA’s search for new general manager
@YellowJacketsFan you are probably right. there are some missing.
I forgot about the last change to the board that was passed by the legislature. Mike's bill apears to have made the GDOT member a non voting member but the GRTA member a voting member. Though I'm getting that from an article, not from the final bill.
The executive director of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority would serve as a voting member and the planning director for the Georgia Department of Transportation would be a nonvoting member as long as they held their state positions. Read more: CrossRoadsNews - More changes afoot for MARTA’s board of directors
My mistake on Gwinnett, guess I need to shop there more.
Yes I think Mike's a decent legislator and a good guy, but I also think he does engage in more punching bag than support in terms of his relationship with MARTA - I hate to use the term punching bag since i guess that's a bit of a loaded term but its the best shorthand I can come up with.
Yes Mike as MARTOC chair should express opinions on who the board should pick as the next GM, but I think he went beyond that. And no I don't think the board get approval from Mike or any of the legislators relative to who they should pick. They clearly knew who Mike wanted. Relative to outside input, keep in mind the the State has two representatives via their GDOT and GRTA appointments and Mike has Ms. Butler. So i think there was plenty of input, the statements to the press were I think were heavy handed.
MARTOC is oversight, not the manager. MARTOC should watch for waste and corruption. But MARTOC is also supposed to be an ally. That should be the board pushing for state funding. Pushing for transit friendly legislation relative to transportation and funding bills AND relative to bills effecting development and land use, that's where I think MARTOC has failed though I don't blame them because of the legislature and Governor.
But there are other things that can be done. Has MARTOC ever conducted a training session for legislators on how to ride MARTA? or promoted the use of MARTA by legislators while in session, including a ride to MARTA day? When was the last resolution or proclamation done in support of MARTA? When was the last time a MARTOC got a quote in the AJC or on WSB about the many benefits MARTA provides? Like Kasim Reed did yesterday? http://midtown.patch.com/articles/mayor-reed-everyday-marta-workers-do-better-job-than-given-credit-for
The 50/50 split is antiquated yet the legislature defends it. Even that south GA legislator admitted a couple years ago that his constituents were not MARTA riders [or taxpayers], and he had no problem using MARTA as a political football.
Though Bus lanes were put on GA 400 for the buses, did anyone in the legislature speak up when the Governor yanked them away thus negatively effecting the commute of hundreds of bus riders?
As to picking the next GM, so little of the MARTA GM position involves the State Legislature, in large part because they provide no significant aid. The MARTA GM bigger relationships are with the GDOT/Gov's office, The county and city governments, (especially regarding land use and zoning, sidewalks and bus routes) and with the Federal Government, should the MARTA board be getting their approval also?
I know several of the MARTA board members, they are professionals and they are good people http://www.itsmarta.com/board-of-directors.aspx. Their letter was not some half backed shot. http://www.itsmarta.com/marta-board-statement-to-media.aspx The characterization of the candidate selection together with the story about the $144,000 contract to try to salvage the contract they had with the previous GM are just the latest in a series of examples.
Us transit advocates and riders are not crazy people, we pretty much recognize that MARTA at best is a political football for many legislators. Its an opinion shared by many who follow these things. True they are opinions. I don't expect the legislators and Mike to agree but rather than wave off this story as merely a byproduct of a $10,000 contract I'd suggest taking a second to consider if Maria may be partially correct or have a point or two. http://brookhaven.patch.com/articles/rep-jacobs-responds-to-accusations-of-inappropriate-behavior-as-marta-oversight-chairman Maria speaks for many and has a deep knowledge and understanding of these issues.
Oh I'm also not sure what the point of getting all the emails between MARTA and the Saporta Report is. The article surely is not that bad. I mean come on, you've been reading Maria for awhile. Do you really think she wrote this stuff because of a $10,000 media contract?
Clearly it makes sense for MARTA to start publishing more columns explaining the value of transit. There's clearly a valid benefit to MARTA to get a column that will be read by the choice readers (people who live and breath these transportation/development/city stuff) .
Keep in mind the state has representation through the 2 board members on the MARTA board from GDOT and GRTA.
@whoDean Will DeKalb and Fulton residents be fairly compensated for the 40 plus years we've dedicated 1% of our sales tax revenues to MARTA?
@ScottNAtlanta So it was just federal funding NOT state funding
@ScottNAtlanta hgrad said "You also realize that much if not a majority of the sales tax collected in Fulton and DeKalb is generated by people who don't necessarily live here, right?"
Yea but that's a sales tax we can't use for something else. Most County's have a 7% sales tax in Metro Atlanta like DeKalb and Fulton. We used our 1% to fund MARTA, that's Fulton and DeKalb's revenue stream. It doesn't matter who actually pays it.
And the federal government does do oversight on MARTA as a condition to giving its federal dollars
And Maria didn't say the state should have no oversight ability. She correctly pointed out that the way the state inserted itself into the selection of a new leader was overstepping.
The new person should be picked by the board. If the legislature wants to lobby board members outside the press that's ok, though I don't think they should use threats. And the fact the lobbying was so public it does then call into question the complaints filed with the Attorney General.
Look, Rep Jacobs is a good person, and one of the better State Reps. however I do think he does sometimes use MARTA as a political punching bag. MARTOC should do oversight but they also need to do support, morally, legislatively and financially. I think they've failed on all that. And much of that minimal state capital contribution is related to the need to meet federal air standards by buying cleaner buses and often its a trade off for services MARTA lends to GRTA or the GDOT.
Federal Income taxes are a just a portion of the taxes people pay. Sales taxes, property taxes (directly or through rent), excise taxes, social security (which is over 12% when you include the employer match), franchise fees paid on your phone and utility bills, the list goes on and on.
Fulton and DeKalb pays the 1% sales tax, we could use that money for other things, but instead the citizens responsibly provide almost all of the local aid for MARTA. So yes the State Legislature, the vast majority of whom are not accountable to the voters in Fulton and DeKalb should act accordingly.
@YellowJacketsFan 2 million is less than 1% of the capital budget so million so I think its fair to say its not significant and its not dedicated funding. The State gives GRTA more money than that for less riders.
Actually it sounds like the legislators want the internal candidate.
Though again the most of the legislators aren't elected by MARTA taxpayers or riders so I think they need to recognize that. The MARTA board has highly competent people on it. I would say more competent than the legislators.
8 months, 2 weeks ago on MARTA is down to four finalists in its search for a new general manager
@The Last Democrat in Georgia Yes, the fact they slipped that in kind of flies in the face of giving the voters the right to make the decision. Its kind of like holding a gun to our head. Though in the case of DeKalb I'm trying to remember how many local road projects we've had recently. Perhaps in South DeKalb there have been some.
Something tells me if we voted no and didn't come up with a new list in 2 years they would end up changing that provision in the legislation.
1 year ago on Transportation sales tax campaign needs to target voters likely to vote yes
@The Last Democrat in Georgia Its been a while since I checked the VMT figures for the various regions, I wounder how Houston stacks up.
@The Last Democrat in Georgia Though we are only partially opposed. Induced Demand is not a bad thing for rail transit since rail actually functions better with increased demand as capacity can be added by increasing train lengths or frequency at a small incremental cost. You don't get an economy of scale with roads. And in fact each additional lane added to a road makes the other lanes handle less capacity. For example a lane in a 2 lane road (one in each direction) handles more cars per hour than a lane in a 4 lane road (2 in each direction). And some have said that once you are at 4 or 5 lanes adding a lane can actually lower the total capacity of the road if there is not some sort of grade or barrier separation.
Though there is a fiscal limit to how rapidly one can expand rail. Though I agree implementing commuter rail on all 5 or 6 previously identified GDOT lines would be transformational for the region and well worth the investment.
We learned in the 90's that because of induced demand you can't pave your way out of congestion. And that's what bothers me most about this ad campaign. The phrase "Untie Atlanta" or the mailings showing the sad children waiting at home for their parents sell a false premise and makes it harder to address the root cause of our traffic problems - that being that because of our asphalt addiction we drive more than almost any other region and thus lead the way in Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) per person. Unfortunately "Hate Traffic? Vote Yes" seems to also promote the misconception that we can fix the problem by building more roads.
In fact I'd go so far to say that because of the far to high projected population growth rate (3 million) and the projected placement of this new growth (largely out of reach of transit)* that is used to justify the region's transportation plans I fear that a more correct slogan would be "Hate Traffic? Vote No!"
I fear that because the region has not come to grips with adopting and enforcing sound and sustainable Land Use and Development policies subsidizing and thus hiding the cost of driving by funding roads with a general sales tax (that exempts gasoline no less) is not a sound long term policy. And thus I am convinced that future growth would happen in a better and more sustainable manner without this regressive TSPLOST sales tax.
*highest growth rates are in the outer 10 counties of the 20 county Atlanta Region, out of reach of transit. The tia tax area covers the inner 10 counties.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Induced_demand Induced demand, or latent demand, is the phenomenon that after supply increases, more of a good is consumed. This is entirely consistent with the economic theory of supply and demand; however, this idea has become important in the debate over the expansion of transportation systems, and is often used as an argument against widening roads, such as major commuter roads. It is considered by some to be a contributing factor to urban sprawl.
@The Last Democrat in Georgia Yes the original plan was not very realistic. and the subsequent plan I think probably had problems because of the blow back on 85 and investors not wanting to give up control if it was done with more private money.
Interesting if they can't even get a bare bones 2 lane HOT lane built, granted elevating it sounds expensive.
1 year ago on Cauldron of proposed transportation projects is a challenge to monitor, even for experienced policy makers