Before the housing crisis ever began, Marietta was having a big problem with newly developed, unoccupied homes. Since then, all of Georgia has developed similar problems. So last year, as Obama was giving away millions in transportation subsidies, GA had the perfect opportunity to get public transportation to these homes, thereby increasing their occupancy. But nobody did a thing. Middle and upper class people didn't want the poor through their neighborhoods and the poor weren't mobilized to demand rail.
It is not too late to ask the federal government for much needed rail subsidies if we come to them with a reasonable plan. I propose that each individual county should be allowed the option of having and controlling their own commuter rail system. Federal money is given to the state, but the state would then give money to whichever counties would be willing to use it. The counties would decide whether to link to MARTA, travel to the airport, or travel to other counties. If a county's cars ride on MARTA's rails, then the county would pay MARTA a rail usage fee. These fees will help MARTA sustain itself.
Individual counties would decide whether to have different classes of cars and whether to have cars that run directly to the airport. 1st class and airport-only cars would help pay for the whole rail system. These cars might have wifi or other useful features that could allow business people to make better use of their time than if they were in cars. Public transportation never generates much money because it has traditionally been designed for the poor. This plan will be the first step toward bringing public transportation to the middle class. It will now have the power to generate revenue, lower pollution, and reduce traffic congestion.
Also, the federal government loans money to states based on a 20 year plan because that is the life expectancy of asphalt and we all know how cozy they are with the oil industry. I will solicit from them a 40 year plan for rail, giving counties more time to generate revenue and pay back part of the loan.
This plan will greatly benefit counties with housing market problems, i.e., all counties. It will particularly benefit counties with poorer populations whose residents have a more difficult time purchasing cars. Commuter rail will sell houses, generate revenue, and grow the economy for all.
Last year, in the Mayoral race for Marietta, I advocated the idea of putting a heavy rail transit system in Cobb County. It would have been owned by Cobb, but would have rented rail time from MARTA to the airport. The rail would have had a dedicated car system just for airport service.
The Marietta Daily Journal, along with others, made a joke out of it. Now, after a couple of months, some Cobb politicians have started to recognize the value of public transportation between Marietta and Atlanta, especially due to Obama paying 80% of its cost. However, they are still hesitant. They are calling for a light rail system instead of the full rail system that connects to MARTA and that unites the Atlanta area. [05-14]Read More...
The Marietta Daily Journal does a good job of reporting both sides of an issue, in spite of one having to search for a particular side. Their spoof on MARTA was probably used to try to draw commentary from readers. But the citizens of Cobb are so opposed to MARTA in their area that even one person that voted for me later told me that he was opposed to my MARTA stance. He explained how when MARTA comes into an area, the area immediately goes down. [05-30]
A Heavy Marietta Rail Helps all of Georgia
Marietta City is in Cobb County, which is one of the most populated counties in the state and is on the I-75 corridor that connects Atlanta to Chattanooga. A heavy rail system that rents usage of the MARTA tracks to the airport could service all of the towns from Atlanta to Chattanooga. With this system, the rail cars will not be the same as the MARTA rail cars, but will be designed to clime steeper grades and run faster. [05-30]