The TSPLOST – Passage will obstruct progress
By Ron Sifen
The TSPLOST was supposed to be about reducing traffic congestion.
The Atlanta Regional Commission has conceded that the TSPLOST projects list will do little to reduce regional commute times. The ARC says they are defining “alleviating traffic congestion” as meaning increasing the number of people who can reach a point in the region within 45 minutes. The ARC has conceded that this has nothing to do with improving the flow of traffic, and that it will have an insignificant impact on reducing commute times.
The reason that so many state legislators are now opposing the TSPLOST is that the projects list became a massive bait-and-switch. Most of the money, billions of dollars, is going to projects that will do little or nothing to improve the flow of traffic.
In public presentations on both July 12 and July 13, TSPLOST proponents said
* Light rail has NOTHING to do with reducing traffic congestion, and
* Light rail has NOTHING to do with moving people.
* Cities build light rail to promote economic development.
The Georgia Public Policy Foundation recently concluded that the TSPLOST projects list has “massive boondoggles that will put this state at a disadvantage for decades,“ and that “it would commit the region to wasteful spending on questionable projects for long past the 10-year sales tax.”
They also point out that rail transit is appropriate in places with very high population density. However Atlanta has the lowest population density of any major city in the world.
Express bus is the form of transit that can best meet the needs of a city that has low population density and widely dispersed employment centers.
Light rail will likely wind up being at least 50 times more expensive to implement than express bus, and light rail is also drastically more expensive to operate and maintain. The TSPLOST will obligate a huge amount of future transportation dollars for purposes that have nothing to do with improving traffic flow on our roads.
In 2004, the State of Georgia produced the Regional Transit Action Plan (RTAP). The RTAP could have provided an affordable seamless transit network, serving the entire region, for less than 1/5th of what three light rail projects will cost.
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