Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The gang that couldn't shoot straight

Can we do anything right?  Atlanta has lost out on federal stimulus funding for the Peachtree streetcar line. This despite Kasim Reed going to Washington to personally lobby for funds.  Oh, not to mention our massively influential senior Congressman who was surely doing everything in his power to further the cause of alternative transportation.  Right?  He must have helped out, right?

I mean, this is the guy who said of commuter rail funding, "I have done my part and will continue to bring federal money home to the people of Atlanta."  That guy surely did everything possible to get the administration to fund this ready-to-go project, right?  Anyway, I'm really glad we keep sending him back to Washington to fight for the things that are important to Atlanta, since that is working out so well for us.

Requisite sad panda at right.  There really isn't a whole lot to say.  Who did get funding?  Cities who could contribute their own funds to the projects.  From regional transportation sales taxes.
A transportation official in Atlanta noted that one of the likely winners that leaked out early, Tucson, Ariz., was paying more local money for its project's capital costs than Atlanta. Where Atlanta's application would put no local money toward the streetcar's construction, Tucson planned to pay a large portion of the building costs of its streetcar project itself, from a half-cent regional transportation tax.
Last weekend I ran into an old friend who lobbies the state for transportation and infrastructure issues - he told me I was to young to feel like it was too late for Atlanta to catch up with other metro areas when it comes to infrastructure and transportation.  I'd LOVE to feel hopeful about things, but lately it is really, really hard.

Can anybody disabuse me of this notion?

Bueller?  Bueller?

5 comments:

  1. I'm remain optimistic - and I'm not young - but for the region not for specific projects. I can't take this Peachtree streetcar line seriously so I'm happy to see it put off. Maybe it will have it's day. Good ideas never die. Neither do bad ones.

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  2. i'm with you, b --- maybe we'll enjoy being a third-rate city

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  3. Could we get MARTA straightened out first before we start doing other transportation stuff?

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  4. It's distressing but despite the countless political flubs Atlanta still has a great deal going for it. MARTA has 4 lines and 50 miles of track. There's nothing to compete with it in the South. The APM at the airport is a major transit system in itself, particularly when you take into account the expansion coming with the international terminal and the train associated with CONRAC. The Beltline is well under way. I don't think the streetcar is dead either.

    If we can get a transportation funding bill done this year -- and things are beginning to look positive for that -- Atlanta could really make some bold progress.

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  5. Georgia will wake up when North Carolina and Virginia complete their portion of the Southeast High speed rail project, linking Charlotte and Raleigh to the Northeast corridor and thereby accelerating growth of those cities. Charlotte is already moving aggressively towards installing more light rail and commuter rail lines, with committed funding to back them. Unfortunately, by then, Georgia will be years behind. BTW- thought you would find this interesting: http://www.dot.ga.gov/localgovernment/intermodalprograms/Pages/default.aspx

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