The Greenroom: July 2007

Atlanta’s long suffering transportation community was not spared the humiliation of the 2007 General Assembly, much to the insult of residents anxious for real solutions to traffic problems that are to be compounded by the repaving of Inter-states 75 and 85 as well as bridge construction downtown this year.

House Speaker Glenn Richardson (R-Hiram) called the proposed “Brain Train” commuter rail line from Atlanta to Athens “a train from nowhere to nowhere,” leading the Athens Banner Herald to call him “the nowhere man” and research his 2006 campaign contributors – among them the Georgia Independent Automobile Dealers, the Georgia Oilmen’s Association, the Georgia Truck Political Action Committee, the BP North America Employees PAC, the Associated General Con-tractors, the Georgia Limousine Association, QuickTrip, and the C.W. Matthews Contracting Co.

Meanwhile, State Transportation Board Member David Doss has unveiled legislation (not yet numbered) to raise more than $20 billion through a statewide sales tax over the next 10 years, largely for road projects, including the crazy “big dig” idea for Atlanta, which involves double-decker interstates and tunnels suggested by Los Angeles’ Reason Foundation.

Only a third of Doss’ funding is suggested for MARTA and the Peachtree Streetcar – nothing for the Beltline, although an undisclosed sum is included for a futuristic and expensive sounding levitating train from Atlanta to Savannah. – Ben Young

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