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The TSPLOST – Passage will obstruct progress

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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