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Old 12-27-2014, 09:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gulch View Post
The problem (if one is supportive of this horrible idea) is that the political fallout of the state coming in an swooping MARTA out of the control of Fulton/DeKalb would be enormous, especially if "Northside interests" were too chickensh*t to not push for Gwinnett and Cobb referendums that would (if approved) allow suburban expansion, especially if the endgame was privatizing the system.
I would think a state agency would have a much better shot at it than MARTA, however. In the minds of many MARTA means COA/DeKalb control and that will be an uphill battle in many suburban areas.
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Old 12-27-2014, 01:03 PM
 
5,359 posts, read 4,886,734 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gulch View Post
The problem (if one is supportive of this horrible idea) is that the political fallout of the state coming in an swooping MARTA out of the control of Fulton/DeKalb would be enormous, especially if "Northside interests" were too chickensh*t to not push for Gwinnett and Cobb referendums that would (if approved) allow suburban expansion, especially if the endgame was privatizing the system. Then again, it would be another example of our state government taking a big steaming dump on Atlanta.
With Republicans in control of all statewide offices and basically holding a two-thirds supermajority in both legislative chambers (the State House of Representatives and the State Senate), one should not necessarily assume that there would be as much (if any) political fallout from such an effort for state control and privatization of MARTA as one might think.

Northside business and real estate interests already pushed for more transit funding outside of Fulton and DeKalb counties with the 2012 T-SPLOST and it was an unmitigated disaster, not only from a political standpoint but also particularly from a public relations standpoint.

The overwhelming defeat of the T-SPLOST referendum (by a 62-38 margin) was strongly interpreted by the national and international business community as a sign that Metro Atlanta is a region that does not want to invest in its transportation infrastructure.

With so much at stake (both in terms of the metro area's and state's national and international reputation for business-friendliness and in terms of the tens-of-billions of dollars that can be made in business and real estate profits from increased transit connectivity), the Northsiders (and much of the Metro Atlanta business community in general) are not going to take the chance of once again having MARTA expansion and/or a major transportation funding initiative rejected by small transit-averse and tax-averse electorates in Cobb and Gwinnett that likely don't match the much larger and much more diverse populations of those large post-suburban/urban counties.

With so much money likely to be made from rail transit expansion into the suburbs and increased transit connectivity, it's not a matter of if, but a matter of when Northside business and real estate interests will come to take control of MARTA away from Southside interests in the name of increased real estate profits on the Northside.

Keith Parker's excellent early performance in getting the system "right-side-up" financially and operationally, as well as the current expansion of the system into Clayton County gives Southside interests much more leverage than they might have had otherwise during the eventual takeover and privatization attempt by profit-hungry Northsiders.

Having MARTA on an improving operational footing, in the black financially and expanding into Clayton County means that Southsiders can get many more concessions from the Northsiders (particularly in terms of maintaining a quality level of transit service in less-affluent areas in Clayton, South Fulton and South DeKalb counties) when the Northsiders come for control of the agency.

Having the agency in a much stronger position financially and operationally means that the state will have to enter into a partnership with the Southside factions currently controlling the agency instead of the Northside business community being able to justify a total "hostile takeover" and privatization of the agency by the state because of a dismal financial and operational standing.

(...Remember, before Keith Parker arrived at MARTA, the agency was hemorrhaging cash and was seriously facing the prospect of becoming completely financially insolvent within the next several months, an event that would have made a state takeover, privatization and dismantling of the remains of the MARTA system a piece of cake politically.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by arjay57 View Post
I would think a state agency would have a much better shot at it than MARTA, however. In the minds of many MARTA means COA/DeKalb control and that will be an uphill battle in many suburban areas.
arjay has an excellent point.

One of the major reasons why we are likely witnessing the early stages of a push by the business and real estate community for state control of MARTA is because expansion of the rail transit network into the suburbs by a regional transit entity and/or entities controlled and dominated by state officials would have a much better chance of being accepted by the suburbs than it would if it were pushed by MARTA.

That's because, as arjay pointed out, suburbanites (who dominate the state's political scene) might be much less accepting of an expansion by MARTA (whom suburbanites regard as being controlled by urban interests that they don't like) they would if a proposed transit expansion into the suburbs was led by state interests helmed by suburban and exurban interests that politically dominant suburbanites can relate to.
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Old 12-27-2014, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Kirkwood
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Originally Posted by Born 2 Roll View Post
That's a valid point as Matt is correct on at least one account....Just before Keith Parker became MARTA's CEO, the intention of state lawmakers (who were being pushed by the wealthy and powerful Northside business and real estate interests who fund their campaigns and expenses) was to takeover MARTA and privatize it using MARTA's then-dismal finances as the impetus to do so.

Now whether those plans involved dismantling the MARTA system as we know it, I don't know. I just know that the Northsiders wanted to use the state to takeover and privatize MARTA as a means of getting high-capacity transit lines (rail and bus) extended into and through the Northern suburbs.

I also know that under the Northsiders' plan to have the state takeover and privatize MARTA, expanding transit to and through selected areas on the Northside would have been the overwhelmingly dominant priority (if not the only priority) potentially at the expense of the much less-affluent and much less-politically powerful Southside.

With interests in each Northside radial freeway corridor (Cobb and the I-75/I-575 NW corridor; North Fulton and the GA 400 N corridor; Gwinnett and the I-85/I-985/GA 316 NE corridor) basically wanting some kind of control over the transit operations in their respective corridors, a dismantling of the MARTA system as we know it certainly would have been a distinct possibility if the state would have taken control of and privatized the system as it was planning to do before Parker's arrival at MARTA.

And even with Parker's impressive performance as CEO at MARTA, there is still talk within state government of the state wanting to make a power play for control of MARTA on behalf of the powerful Northside business and real estate interests who desperately want to see transit expanded up the I-75 NW, GA 400 N and I-85 NE corridors much sooner rather than later.

Just earlier this month in December 2014 during a state legislative orientation gathering and transportation summit in Athens, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle (the early odds-on favorite and leading candidate for governor in 2018) alluded to the possibility of a state-led reorganization of MARTA that would be similar to the way that Grady Hospital was reorganized a few years back.

From the article titled "Nathan Deal hedges on gas tax hike; Casey Cagle says ‘we cannot avoid the issue of transit’" on the Political Insider blog in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on December 9, 2014:

Nathan Deal hedges on gas tax hike; Casey Cagle says

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle's comments signify that a state-led takeover and/or reorganization of MARTA still seems to be very much on the table despite Keith Parker's excellent performance in getting the agency on a positive financial and operational footing....Which is a major reason why Parker's work in getting the agency on a good financial and operational footing is so critically important....Because getting MARTA on a good financial and operational footing will give less-politically powerful Southside political and social interests (particularly those who live south of the I-20 in Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties) much more political leverage when the Northsiders attempt to takeover control of the agency by way of the state government that Northsiders totally dominate.

Southsiders will particularly have much more leverage during the seemingly imminent takeover attempt by the powerful Northsiders than if the agency had been in the same dismal financial and operational position it was before Parker's arrival. The addition of Clayton County to MARTA also gives Southsiders even more political leverage than they would have had before Clayton's membership into MARTA.


A good example of the way that the state would takeover MARTA and assume MARTA's debt can be found in what the state just recently did in privatizing student housing at state-funded public universities.

In privatizing student housing at state-funded public universities, the state got the private company taking over operations to agree to assume all debt that the state had accumulated up to this point in constructing, operating and maintaining student housing. The state also got the private company to agree to pay the costs of building more student housing where needed at public universities.....One can probably infer that the state would have arranged the same kind of deal with private interests if the state would have taken over and privatized MARTA as it was planning to do before Keith Parker's reign as CEO.
Wouldnt the other counties have to approve marta sales tax?
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Old 12-28-2014, 11:02 AM
 
Location: Atlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, and Raleigh
2,300 posts, read 1,419,946 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gulch View Post
The problem (if one is supportive of this horrible idea) is that the political fallout of the state coming in an swooping MARTA out of the control of Fulton/DeKalb would be enormous, especially if "Northside interests" were too chickensh*t to not push for Gwinnett and Cobb referendums that would (if approved) allow suburban expansion, especially if the endgame was privatizing the system. Then again, it would be another example of our state government taking a big steaming dump on Atlanta.
This is why I don't take anything those "Northside interests" do very seriously. If they were as strategic as they were about this then they would have mitigated a way in the past 4 years aside from the T-SPLOST to have gotten those other 2 counties on board by now.
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Old 12-28-2014, 12:00 PM
 
28,109 posts, read 24,639,595 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jero23 View Post
This is why I don't take anything those "Northside interests" do very seriously. If they were as strategic as they were about this then they would have mitigated a way in the past 4 years aside from the T-SPLOST to have gotten those other 2 counties on board by now.
I wouldn't underestimate those old boys. They played a huge part in getting the TSPLOST rolling in the first place back in 2012.

However, even they can only roll a boulder uphill so long. There are a lot of folks who were just flat didn't see how it helped them.

How metro Atlanta voted for TSPLOST - Atlanta Business Chronicle
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Old 12-28-2014, 12:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cqholt View Post
Wouldnt the other counties have to approve marta sales tax?
Other counties (like Cobb, Cherokee, Paulding, Forsyth, Hall, Gwinnett, etc) likely would not have to approve a MARTA-style sales tax if MARTA was basically taken over, privatized and regionalized by state government.

That's because one of the main motivations for having a privatized regional transit setup is so that rail and bus transit lines can be extended into outlying suburban and exurban areas without a transit sales tax referendum in each county service is expanded into.

Basically transit would be expanded into outlying counties in a way that is similar to how GRTA Xpress regional commuter bus lines are currently extended in outlying suburban and exurban counties without transit sales tax referendums that would need to ask for approval from highly transit-averse and tax-averse voters.

GRTA Xpress regional commuter bus lines currently operate in otherwise transit-averse and tax-averse outlying suburban and exurban counties like Cobb, Gwinnett, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Douglas, Coweta, Henry and Rockdale....That's because the GRTA Xpress regional commuter bus service is funded directly out of the state budget instead of with referendum-approved sales taxes in each county that the service operates in.

Though instead of funding transit service expansions into suburban and exurban counties directly out of the state budget, state officials (at the behest of Northside business and real estate interests) plan to fund high-capacity transit expansions and operations with private money from multiple sources (...multiple sources like various large and small public-private partnerships, real estate transactions and inflation-indexed distance-based fares).

Like I alluded to earlier, if and when the high-capacity transit network is expanded through the region, there's also talk of breaking down regional transit operations into subregions centered along radial freeway corridors all coordinated and overseen by a regional transit organization like a GRTA.

Instead of being tied to MARTA as we currently know it, North Fulton/North DeKalb, Cobb and Gwinnett all especially want to have local control of the regional transit operations within their respective jurisdictions/areas.

In particular, many factions in North Fulton and North DeKalb have talked for many years of wanting to breakaway from MARTA while many factions in Cobb and Gwinnett counties would like to dramatically improve and increase transit service to a high level in their respective areas without joining MARTA.
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Old 12-28-2014, 02:08 PM
 
5,359 posts, read 4,886,734 times
Reputation: 3506
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gulch
The problem (if one is supportive of this horrible idea) is that the political fallout of the state coming in an swooping MARTA out of the control of Fulton/DeKalb would be enormous, especially if "Northside interests" were too chickensh*t to not push for Gwinnett and Cobb referendums that would (if approved) allow suburban expansion, especially if the endgame was privatizing the system. Then again, it would be another example of our state government taking a big steaming dump on Atlanta.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jero23 View Post
This is why I don't take anything those "Northside interests" do very seriously. If they were as strategic as they were about this then they would have mitigated a way in the past 4 years aside from the T-SPLOST to have gotten those other 2 counties on board by now.
Well, from what I understand, a lot of the interests in their respective corridors (Cobb/I-75 NW, North Fulton/GA 400 N and Gwinnett/I-85 NE) each were in the process of making their own transportation plans when they were talked into placing those plans into the regional T-SPLOST by the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce....A regional approach to funding both local and regional transportation needs that turned out to be a political and public relations disaster.

Also, despite the stunning failure of the regional T-SPLOST approach to transportation funding in 2012, it likely would not be a wise thing to underestimate the desire of Northside business and real estate interests in what seems to be a continuing quest for political and operational control of MARTA by having the state take control of, privatize and dismantle the agency.

That's because those Northside business and real estate interests see tens-of-billions of dollars in future real estate profits in high-capacity transit service access in a 21st Century marketplace that places a high value on transit access in large major metro regions like Atlanta.

An example of the potential value of transit in the 21st Century marketplace is Hong Kong's largely privatized transit system which is worth over $250 billion (a quarter-of-a-TRILLION dollars) in monetary value.

Atlanta's transit system likely may not ever grow to be worth a quarter-of-a-trillion dollars in monetary value like Hong Kong, but with the Atlanta region experiencing population growth rates of more than 500% over the last 50 years, reaching the $50-100 billion range in monetary value with a largely privatized transit system is not out of the realm of possibility.

$50-100 billion dollars in monetary values and potential real estate profits is too much for those profit-hungry Northside business and real estate values is too much to ignore....Which is why those Northside business and real estate interests absolutely should not be taken lightly in their quest to take control of, privatize and dismantle MARTA as we know it.
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Old 12-28-2014, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Georgia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnHarris View Post
Excerpt from AJC:

"You have probably seen the artist rendering of the sleek new Braves stadium. Set to open in 2017, SunTrust Park should be a state of the art live-work-play facility with more options for patrons than Turner Field could ever dream of offering. Though the new park will have 9,000 fewer seats than Turner Field, the added attractions should boost crowds at the site in the northwest quadrant of the Interstate 75/Interstate 285 interchange in Cobb County.

This brings us to what should be the biggest concern of SunTrust Park - the traffic.

Both the two interstates and the big surface streets in the Cumberland area are already busy. Local officials are working with developers on big changes, including intersection redesigns, sidewalk installation, a diverging diamond for Windy Hill Road at I-75, a pedestrian bridge, and 15 planned entry/exit points to the new property. Officials are also planning stepped-up services from Cobb Community Transit buses and MARTA.

One idea would be a way to shuttle people from the North and Northeast MARTA lines to the new stadium. The Department of Transportation could implement shoulder lanes on I-285 (like the ones on GA-400 and soon on Interstate 85) before and after the games for use by MARTA buses only. Buses could gather and transport people from the Doraville and Perimeter stations straight to the stadium, much like they do from Five Points to Turner Field. Braves officials could even work with MARTA on discounts for ballgame goers when they use the trains or buses..."


Full Story: Gridlock Guy: Mass transit improvements key to Braves stadium success | www.ajc.com
My prediction is that MARTA will not have any kind of shuttle bus connection to Suntrust Park. If it were to exist, the logical connection point between Braves shuttles and regular buses would probably be the bus bay south of Cumberland Mall. I-285 traffic sucks during the evening, so I suspect that the connection would be from Arts Center station, which is 9.5 miles away according to Google maps. By constrast, Five Points station is 1.5 miles away from Turner Field. And that doesn't even factor the transfer!

Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingImport View Post
Not only that, but we're forgetting another clusterf...

The construction of the 400/285 interchange.

I can see the entire top end at a complete standstill in both directions on game day.
Oh god that's so true. Forget about those variable speed limits--they might as well leave them at 10 mph between the hours of 3 to 7:30.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HH82 View Post
Absolutely right. The thing that makes this part of Cobb different though is that, unlike the area immediately surrounding Turner Field, Cumberland already has the density to justify a MARTA rail line, even without the Braves stadium. Cobb's leadership is being shortsighted about HRT, and they will find out the hard way in a few years when they discover that all the road improvements they're making don't do enough to get people to or through the area. At some point, big businesses will consider moving to less congested areas, possibly in other counties, and Cobb County will be forced to offer them tax incentives to stay, which will still do nothing to solve the traffic problem. There will come a time in the next five to ten years when major business interests who draw a lot of water in the community will demand rail transit to serve the area, but by then, it might be too late to keep some of them around. HRT costs a lot of money, but in this case, the area needs to make a plan to stay competitive with Perimeter, Buckhead, Midtown, Downtown, and the new big developments going in at Doraville and the Airport, or else that's exactly where those disgruntled business leaders will ship out to. Why not save the millions in incentives they would have to offer, or the millions more in road expansion, and start putting it towards something the people there will already be begging for in five to ten years in order to sustain the level of growth they are currently seeing? Politics only serve themselves, never the future.
Great points. Somebody recently suggested that since Cumberland is its own tax district, it's not out of the question that they could accept a 1% MARTA sales tax.
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Old 12-28-2014, 06:13 PM
 
Location: Kirkwood
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Originally Posted by Born 2 Roll View Post
Other counties (like Cobb, Cherokee, Paulding, Forsyth, Hall, Gwinnett, etc) likely would not have to approve a MARTA-style sales tax if MARTA was basically taken over, privatized and regionalized by state government.

That's because one of the main motivations for having a privatized regional transit setup is so that rail and bus transit lines can be extended into outlying suburban and exurban areas without a transit sales tax referendum in each county service is expanded into.

Basically transit would be expanded into outlying counties in a way that is similar to how GRTA Xpress regional commuter bus lines are currently extended in outlying suburban and exurban counties without transit sales tax referendums that would need to ask for approval from highly transit-averse and tax-averse voters.

GRTA Xpress regional commuter bus lines currently operate in otherwise transit-averse and tax-averse outlying suburban and exurban counties like Cobb, Gwinnett, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Douglas, Coweta, Henry and Rockdale....That's because the GRTA Xpress regional commuter bus service is funded directly out of the state budget instead of with referendum-approved sales taxes in each county that the service operates in.

Though instead of funding transit service expansions into suburban and exurban counties directly out of the state budget, state officials (at the behest of Northside business and real estate interests) plan to fund high-capacity transit expansions and operations with private money from multiple sources (...multiple sources like various large and small public-private partnerships, real estate transactions and inflation-indexed distance-based fares).

Like I alluded to earlier, if and when the high-capacity transit network is expanded through the region, there's also talk of breaking down regional transit operations into subregions centered along radial freeway corridors all coordinated and overseen by a regional transit organization like a GRTA.

Instead of being tied to MARTA as we currently know it, North Fulton/North DeKalb, Cobb and Gwinnett all especially want to have local control of the regional transit operations within their respective jurisdictions/areas.

In particular, many factions in North Fulton and North DeKalb have talked for many years of wanting to breakaway from MARTA while many factions in Cobb and Gwinnett counties would like to dramatically improve and increase transit service to a high level in their respective areas without joining MARTA.
What happens to those coubties paying the sales tax? Does it get dossolved? It is not fare for those people to benefit from something a few counties pay for. There is no way the state funds transit other than grta. The gas tax can only go towards roads and the state is nearly broke now. Conservatives will not tolerate higher taxes.
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Old 12-28-2014, 07:09 PM
 
5,359 posts, read 4,886,734 times
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Originally Posted by cqholt View Post
What happens to those coubties paying the sales tax? Does it get dossolved? It is not fare for those people to benefit from something a few counties pay for. There is no way the state funds transit other than grta. The gas tax can only go towards roads and the state is nearly broke now. Conservatives will not tolerate higher taxes.
That's a really good question.

With the transportation funding models that they are looking at (which include public-private partnerships, transit fees collected through various regional and local Chamber of Commerce bodies, real estate revenues, distance-based fares and virtually complete privatization), and with North Fulton's and North DeKalb's desire to breakaway from the MARTA system and form their own transit system (along with Cobb's and Gwinnett's desire to have their own transit operations)....A dissolution of the 1% sales tax that Fulton and DeKalb currently pay to fund MARTA would be a distinct possibility if MARTA was reorganized by the state into a private money/distance-based fare-funded regional network of multiple sub-regional high-capacity transit systems.

There's also the possibility that South Fulton, South DeKalb and Clayton counties would be broken up into their own local transit system that would keep the 1% sales tax funding setup for the foreseeable future while the rest of the region was funded with inflation-indexed distance-based fares and private money (Chamber of Commerce transit fees, private sponsorships, real estate revenues, real estate fees, etc).

The 1% sales tax would likely be dissolved outside of South Fulton, South DeKalb and Clayton counties....That's if the 1% sales tax was to be kept at all in a new privately-funded expanded regional transit setup.

Remember, any state funding of an expansive high-capacity regional transit network would most likely come from private money....The state would basically be taking MARTA and folding it into a privately-funded GRTA oversight and coordination umbrella along with dramatically expanded and upgraded versions of CCT (Cobb Community Transit), GCT (Gwinnett County Transit), GRTA Xpress and a future North Fulton/North DeKalb transit system that had broken-off from MARTA.
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