MARTA studies rail expansion despite T-SPLOST’s rejection

Did you make it to the Connect 400 MARTA study meeting Thursday? Me neither. Like many in north Fulton, I was firmly ensconced in my cubicle. It should come as no surprise that the meeting, held during the middle of a work day, was attended mostly by Chamber of Commerce and Community Improvement District business leaders. Perhaps that was by design.

MARTA and GDOT board member Brandon Beach continue to plow forward with planning for transit in north Fulton. Apparently they didn’t get the memo dated July 31st. T-SPLOST’s resounding defeat was not just a rejection of funding, it was an indictment of transportation planners in this region. The voters simply don’t trust them.

Why then do the same distrusted planners continue to push for the same rejected projects using money that doesn’t exist? We shouldn’t be having this conversation right now. Heads need to roll in places like GRTA, the Atlanta Regional Commission, GDOT and elsewhere. Let’s begin to rebuild public trust in transportation leaders.

But until then MARTA will spend money on this study with a report due in the Spring. If you’re concerned about spending billions to bring rail up GA400 then you should let your voice be heard. Visit the Facebook page for the study and leave a comment. Or you can email your comments to MARTA’s Jason Morgan or Janide Sidifall.

For those on Alpharetta’s City Council, you have more options. The best way to fight rail expansion is to starve it of density. Refuse to add residential density and high-rise development along the GA-400 corridor. I’d also take a hard look at the Northpoint LCI study, which is on the city’s agenda to reexamine in the coming weeks. The plan favors MARTA rail expansion and even suggests setting aside land for a transit station. Several council members campaigned in opposition of MARTA rail expansion to Alpharetta, including mayor David Belle Isle and Jim Gilvin. Now’s the time to take action to stifle this project before it gains any more traction.

Photo credit: RTABus (creative commons)

4 Responses to “MARTA studies rail expansion despite T-SPLOST’s rejection”

  1. jason September 5, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    I have a tremendous distrust for anyone who spends my money without thought.

    However, I can’t forget some announcement somewhere in the last 10 years by MARTA proudly proclaiming they had a plan to expand to Windward Pkwy by something obscene by 2025 or 2030.

    I’m not a huge MARTA rider, but no one can argue that A) GA 400 is at capacity (or more) and B) MARTA expanded in directions less meaningful to the general public.

    I moved from Alpharetta largely due to the traffic. My taxes were too high to justify me living there. Yet, I still am fond of the community (thus, read things like your blog). I think MARTA to exit 14 makes sense…. and ultimately exit 17 as we continue to develop the corridor.

  2. Michael Hadden September 5, 2012 at 11:39 pm #

    Lee, I just want to clarify for your readers that this is part of a longer term initiative that started at least a year ago. The Facebook page was started in Oct 2011 and Connect400 branded meetings date back as far as August of last year. As you probably know, there has been talk of expanding MARTA to Windward for at least 13 years when North Springs Station opened. So, Connect 400 was not started post-TSPLOST to try and double down on transit.

    Also, the TSPLOST failure was not purely an indictment of transportation planners in the region. There were a number of more significant reasons that went well beyond transportation planning.

    It will be interesting to see what happens with the LCI study review.

  3. Lee September 6, 2012 at 7:21 am #

    Michael, yes TSPLOST failed for a lot of reasons. Distrust was way up there on the list though. That’s why I think a change in guard is necessary.

    Alpharetta will not do anything with the LCI plan. It is a 5 year status update on the projects. I don’t expect anything more than a rubber stamp, then the document will go back on the shelf.

  4. Jennifer April 25, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    It’s also worth noting that Alpharetta already pays a 1% sales tax that goes to MARTA. It makes sense to get something back from that tax; and rail is an obvious choice considering many people in Alpharetta have to commute into Perimeter, Buckhead, Midtown, or Downtown for work. This would provide easy direct transit access. We just need to make sure they get it right and design it in a way that is beneficial to the tax payers.

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