Remove Fayette from transit plans

If you are planning on living in Fayette County beyond the next five years, this is your decisive warning. I pray to God that you are paying attention and you will act.

On Wednesday, March 2 at 3:30 p.m. (140 Stonewall Avenue; Fayetteville) I am introducing an official resolution asking that Fayette County be removed from all regional government mass transit plans. You need to be at this meeting in a show of support.

There has been a secretive movement by specific Fayette County leaders to pull our county into the tar pit of regional mass transit, dragging us down with the rest of the metropolitan Atlanta counties, stealing our tax dollars to keep other counties’ heads above the heavy pitch to keep from drowning.

The lies have been exposed. Our previous Fayette County Chairman Jack Smith and our other regional government representative Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele continuously voted us into the regional mass transit plan called Concept 3.

They kept telling us they opposed mass transit in Fayette County. This Concept 3 mass transit plan is now being merged into the 2012 Regional Transportation Roundtable referendum and latest round of regional transportation plans.

The Concept 3 plan designates Fayetteville and Peachtree City as “transit centers,” (Source: Transit Planning Board Final Technical Report, Concept 3, p. 16, figure 2.2, System Framework). The plan calls for buses from Clayton County, Henry County and Coweta County to come rolling into Fayette (the busiest route being Riverdale to Fayetteville). In fact, we are the heart of their new “cross-regional corridor” for mass transit.

For years, our region has been heading toward creating a regional mass transit system, joining MARTA with all the other bus transit systems. As a matter of fact, “Georgia House Speaker David Ralston said a regional transit agency is among the ‘reasonable options that we have this [legislative] session,’” (“Regional Transit Agency in Mind” AJC, Feb. 17, 2011). Obviously, in a regional transit system, we will not be able to control our own destiny.

The odds are Chairman Herb Frady, Commissioner Lee Hearn and Commissioner Robert Horgan will oppose my resolution and, instead, favor linking Fayette County via mass transit to Clayton, Coweta, South Fulton and Henry counties.

I have lived in DeKalb, North Fulton and Cobb counties as well as the city of Atlanta. I have family living in Gwinnett County. I can attest that those mass transit counties have proven the trains and buses are highly ineffective and very costly.

MARTA began as a way to shuttle the working poor to metropolitan job centers. This is why MARTA connects to some of the roughest areas in metropolitan Atlanta.

The big joke about linking crime to mass transit was the yarn about the guy taking the bus from one of those rough areas, going to your house and stealing your 40-inch TV and taking it back on the bus. However, if we said crime was not an issue around mass transit, we would be lying.

MARTA bus drivers have been attacked by criminals. Recently, the father of a 14-year-old boy whose throat was slashed just minutes into the New Year at MARTA’s Five Points station sued the transit authority, claiming a uniformed police officer ignored the teen’s request for help. Later, another man was shot to death at the same Five Points station.

Last year, a 19-year-old criminal law student was shot and killed for his new touch-screen cell phone at the East Point MARTA station. Another incident at the end of 2010 was a woman who was kidnapped from the MARTA Lakewood station and sexually assaulted.

People have been shot getting off of buses at night. Moreover, K-9 units have been added to conduct sweeps of MARTA trains and stations. In addition, a series of fires on transit buses have raised concerns about the safety of the Gwinnett Transit and MARTA fleets, although no one has been injured in any of the incidences.

The quotes below from the article entitled “MARTA identifies Five Points shooting suspect” (AJC, Jan. 8, 2011) really says it all.

“Rachel Rodriguez, who moved to Atlanta almost five years ago and has used MARTA to get to sport and music venues, said the recent violence has changed how she uses mass transit. She won’t be taking the train to her new job near Midtown’s Arts Center Station.”

The article continues, “For the first time since moving here, I could use MARTA to get to and from work, but I’m concerned that as a young woman, it would be unsafe to use it at night by myself,” she said Saturday. “I’ve encountered the usual cast of crazy characters that you would encounter riding on mass transit in any city, but that’s not what makes me feel unsafe ... I rarely see MARTA officers in the trains or on the platforms.”

One evening years ago, I convinced my wife, who refuses to ride, to take the MARTA train to an event so we could avoid having to search for a parking place downtown. When we arrived at the station downtown, we were threatened by a man who was, luckily, unarmed. In truth, I still take the MARTA train from time to time, but would NEVER allow my wife or my daughters to go by themselves.

The most baffling and uneducated comments made about mass transit are related to costs. I cringe when I hear local government officials say if gas prices get around five dollars a gallon we will have to rely on mass transit. Their inexperienced and unqualified opinions prove they have no idea that only around 20 percent of the operating and maintenance costs of local mass transit are cover by rider fares. Guess who is paying the balance?

The transit riders and everyone else ends up paying for the other 80 percent in additional taxes. In fact, we calculated the mass transit train to Peachtree City will cost around $144,000 per each roundtrip rider.

Why not buy them a Mercedes and call it a day? But hang with me for a second — as part of the regional transit system, we will not only pay excessively for our county mass transit in additional taxes, but we will also be administering the financial bailout for mass transit in the most populous counties.

MARTA and the transit system in Gwinnett are hemorrhaging red ink. Clayton County had to give their transit system up. In March 2010, MARTA had to cut a quarter of its services.

Next we have the obvious. Most of our residents are not going to tolerate the multiple bus transfers required to get to work every day. Handling bus transfers into the MARTA system to get to Atlanta employment centers will make for a longer and less convenient commute.

One local resident told me she tried going from the nearest MARTA stop to Dunwoody and the trip took 2 hours and 45 minutes to reach her destination (one-way).

Most of the bus routes in Concept 3 for Fayette are east-west routes not heading toward the employment centers. So for Fayette riders, we would have to take the route from Fayetteville to Riverdale to even begin moving in a northerly direction.

Wednesday, March 2 at 3:30 p.m. will be the day a majority of our Fayette Board of Commissioners commits to mass transit in our county, or they try to protect the wonderful, affordable quality of life we have always enjoyed. You need to be at this meeting.

Steve Brown

Fayette Commissioner, Post 4

Peachtree City, Ga.

Spear Road Guy
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To The Lovers Of Mass Transit

If you want to pay higher taxes and live in less desirable areas then move to Clayton or Fulton. You don't need to bring it here for crying out loud!!!

And "NO" I didn't move to Fayette County to be near a transit center in Peachtree City!!! I've seen the transit centers in Fulton and if you make it out with your wallet in your pocket during the off hours consider yourself lucky.

albion
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Smell the fear

Steve Brown has dished out a big old steaming bucket of fear. I fail to see the reason in calling for residents to "pray to God" that we act to stop the busses from rolling through Fayette Co. Not knowing whether God favors or opposes busses may result in an undesirable outcome.

Isolated incidents of urban violence, on or around public transit, have zero to do with providing logical alternatives to thousands of single passenger vehicles bottle-necking in and out of the county every day.

Strip away the emotional clutter and personal paranoia and there's not much substance to Brown's arguments. Metro Atlanta is light years behind the transportation systems found in cities of similar population density world wide.

I invite you to consider the possibility that the "quality of life" in Fayette Co. might improve with access to well planned and managed mass transit.

It doesn't have to be a failure and it does not require divine intervention for well-meaning people to design and implement a system with benefits equal to, or greater than, the costs.

Robert W. Morgan
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Bingo on not much substance

Glad to see more people able to see through this fear-mongering charade. And the debate is not really about mass transit. It is about individual egos and is a complete waste of time. There will never be a Marta line or bus route in Fayette County. A train station in Fairburn? A bus line beginning at Shannon Mall? Maybe. As you say, access is not such a bad thing.

What should happen at the meeting is that Robert Horgan (the one with the least to lose) should ask the county lawyer during the discussion period of Brown's resolution "Is this vote today binding on future county commissions?" The answer being no, of course not, allows Horgan and maybe 1 or 2 others to approve Brown's meaningless resolution and take the wind out of his sails on this stupid discussion and force him to move on to something meaningful without all the self-promotion.

A quote from Brown "tar pit of regional mass transit."

jmatute
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Fayette County Transportation

I realize that people are fearful of safety concerns. That usually accompanies any discussion regarding transportation service where none has existed before, whether it be here or any other place. My concern is that senior citizens who are no longer desiring to drive, or who cannot drive, will not find Fayette County accommodating to their needs. If I wanted to take a bus to downtown Atlanta to go to a ball game, or the Fox theater, or any other place, I would first have to walk about 17 miles to the closest place, which is the park and ride station off of Flat Shoals off of I85. That is not very attractive for me. I would have no way to get around town to my doctor or to any other place in town. All I can say is that the future for seniors is not transportation friendly at present, and will not be in the future. Consequently, I have made my decision on this need, which will apparently not be met, and that is to relocate to a different environment. That is not the only reason, but it plays an important part in my decision.

jmatute
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Fayette County Transportation

I realize that people are fearful of safety concerns. That usually accompanies any discussion regarding transportation service where none has existed before, whether it be here or any other place. My concern is that senior citizens who are no longer desiring to drive, or who cannot drive, will not find Fayette County accommodating to their needs. If I wanted to take a bus to downtown Atlanta to go to a ball game, or the Fox theater, or any other place, I would first have to walk about 17 miles to the closest place, which is the park and ride station off of Flat Shoals off of I85. That is not very attractive for me. I would have no way to get around town to my doctor or to any other place in town. All I can say is that the future for seniors is not transportation friendly at present, and will not be in the future. Consequently, I have made my decision on this need, which will apparently not be met, and that is to relocate to a different environment. That is not the only reason, but it plays an important part in my decision.

Spyglass
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Take a cab...

to Hartsfield and ride Marta if you can't drive and want to go downtown. That would be cheaper than moving. :)

jmatute
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Taking a Cab

As I said before, the lack of public transportation is one reason for relocation. There are other factors in my decision. I find what I value is elsewhere, and the cost to move is well worth the investment.

ginga1414
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Salvo10 Is Right

More only begets more.

Spyglass
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I'm not for the busses..

and I wouldn't ride them if they existed. I doubt very many in Fayette are. The density is not enough for it to work. Maybe a direct route starting from Hwy 74/I-85 into Atlanta, but not much else. I hear Shannon Mall has plenty of parking.

Chris P. Bacon
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Agreed, Spyglass

It's very hard to justify the cost of mass transit into a relatively sparsely populated area such as Fayette County.

Having said that, I'd love it if they'd run the Marta train down to Shannon Mall. Like someone else said, they've got lots of parking there and it'd be an easier commute to the airport and downtown on a daily basis!!

CCB
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Brown is telling the truth

Look at the facts for a change. It looks like the same people accusing Steve Brown of fear mongering are the ones so high in the clouds they can't see the ground below.

Are MARTA and Gwinnett Transit "hemorrhaging red ink"? If they are do we really want to put Fayette County in the same situation?

Is it true most of the planned bus routes are east-west? If they are does that make any sense?

Is the threat of crime keeping people from riding MARTA? My wife won't go to the Pavilion Shopping Center anymore. There's no way she's going to ride MARTA to her office.

I've got to agree with the part about bus transfers too. Four hours out of each day to and from work on multiple buses. 20 hours a week riding buses. That ain't happening.

Get us the heck out of the bus system.

birdman
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CCB and Salvo

good points all. But the problem with Brown is not that he opposes the plan, that is certainly his right and his duty. But it's his comments regarding how the big 3 will, naturally, not accept HIS plan. Therein lies the problem. The Commission is made up of 5 elected representatives to represent ALL of us. Brown sees the Commission as his "court" to support him in his agenda and endeavors as King of Fayette County. Problem is they didn't elect him King and he is irate about that. So he creates a huge distraction in our governing process. The big 3 are on the Brown hit list. They have dealt with him over the years and there is no secret to their hate-hate relationship. So the big 3, driven by their egos, will not let Brown win. Brown, driven by his ego, will publicly attack the big 3, will oppose EVERYTHING they favor, and create an even greater divide on the commission. Net result, if Brown's plan is the best, the big 3 will have to either override their egos and accept it, or listen to their egos and reject it. Guess which way that one will go. And what if Brown's plan isn't the best? Any chance Brown's ego will actually allow discussion and compromise? Of course not. He has already set the stage with his call for citizens to flock to today's workshop and harangue and harass the big 3 into passing "his plan." Not much room for compromise there.
So, what's the answer? All the commissioners need to realize they represent all the people. That they need to put their petty ego's aside and work with each other. This needs to start with Newbie Brown. He needs to show some respect. But he only calls for the removal of the big 3. He does this weekly in the Citizen. His minions do this daily on the blog. He simply chums the waters for the sharks, to send them into frenzy. Think there is much chance that the big 3 will EVER compromise with King Steve? I doubt it. Let's face it, they know that the chance of re-election is slim. Not much need to work with the idiot that is choreographing their demise.
As I said in another post, the whole bus issue needs open and honest discussion. We need to hear from the other commissioners as to their position and why. We need to have open public discussion, and we need to see some studies as to it's need and viability. Not simply King Browns fear mongering attack designed to get rid of Horgan, Heard, and Frady (and don't forget Ken Steele).

KraftyFla
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Brown is Right--- Mass Transit is a bad idea

Brown is Right--- Mass Transit is a bad idea and you would think that Republicans, in a tight economy, would oppose an expansion of what has proven to be a waste of money rivalled only by these ridiculous roads they build.

Birdbrain and Mike King are single note flutes--- they hate Steve Brown. Got it. Free country. But its amusing and a sign of your baseless attacks when on the one hand you refer to him as tired out, worn out Brown (as Mayor) and yet as a Commissioner he is a "Newbie". You guys are priceless.

BTW---- I see where the State, in anticipation of all of their developer roads coming due, are going to raise gas taxes.

Good job you RINO's.

Spear Road Guy
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Bullseye KraftyFla!!!

Birdman and some of the others are so consumed with hate they'd sell their children into slavery to see Steve Brown fail.

As a recovering Harold Logsdon supporter, I've learned talk is cheap and once burned twice learned. Whenever they start ranting the trash talk about Brown they always forget to say they agree with his position on the issues.

Does anybody except for the extreme liberals really want those buses rolling through Fayette???

roundabout
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SPEAR

Well I wouldn't want them sliding! Rolling is just fine.

When cars in general are outlawed we will need transportation. There won't be enough electricity to keep 50 million cars charged every day!

You will be dead by then, anyway!

birdman
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Cmon krafty

Brown is the "newbie" commissioner. Duh....he only just got elected. Doesn't quite make him the "old salt" that he thinks he is. Or is the concept too much for you to handle?
Never referred to him as tired out or worn out. In fact I think he has nothing better to do than to work tirelessly to find ways to take over. He has no job and his kids rooms have a fresh coat of paint. Now he has unlimited time to save Fayette County from itself.
Um...my attacks aren't baseless. Quite the contrary there is more written history on Brown than any other politician in the County. He has made sure to leave a legacy of his doings in the archives of this very paper on a nearly weekly basis. You could even research it yourself. But that would mean actual work and I doubt you are willing. Not to fear, King Steve will soon establish a "base" for my "baselessness."

roundabout
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KrftyGla: Taxes

Yes, I saw where the TEA members of the Deal administration have found a way to raise taxes automatically without a word or bill being presented to do so.
What they are doing is automatically changing the amount of tax at the pump according to how much money they want to spend---the original bill is all they need to do this. These of course are fees, not taxes.

Also, they have another good idea! The new sales tax idea is to start charging sales tax on EVERYTHING we buy! Even labor. and especially services! The percent number stays the same, so it is a fee not a tax---couldn't be a tax if the percent sales tax doesn't change, now could it?

I guess heart operations will now cost 7% more, doctors charges 7% more, haircuts, etc., 7% more, fix a flat tire 7% more (all labor), lottery tickets 7% more, and food at the grocery store 7% more--that is a BIGGIE.

Also, the charges that colleges make for tuition, now paid by lotto gambling, will vary down according to how many lottery tickets are sold!
The less lottery tickets sold---the more students will pay for tuition. This is not a tax!

Now, the worst one: Georgia now wants to tax (income) old retired folks living on Social Security, and investment income---if they have any. They have already took away any COLA raises, and raised the insurance deduction on SS checks. Wonderful ideas. At the same time they are trying to reduce corporate taxes and taxes on the highest paid people.

One more wasteful thing. Atlanta is looking for another crooked Superintendent of schools. The way they do this is to hire a crooked agency to send them names of qualified people. The They are to be questioned as to how they would protect all black students and all teachers from going to jail for cheating on tests or sundry other infractions.
They pay scores of thousands for these names. Are there NO LOCAL qualified people who don't do these illegal things?

roundabout
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Forgot a key fault to APS management

It apparently is impossible to outright fire the top school officials. If isn't obvious to every soul that nine years of such management is a firing offense without magnificent contract awards, then even murder would not be allowed to give notice to the future about consequences for such management.

It apparently has become more important to "give" away high school degrees to unqualified student and to keep such teachers who will cheat when ordered to do so, than for the students to be taught properly---even if it takes much longer to do it.

Surely there are better answers than cheating and producing unqualified graduates.

Mike King
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Birdman

Yours is the best description of 'King Brown' to date. One can only imagine the wailing should the other three commissioners be replaced and Brown is not elected Commission Chairman. It could happen.

As an aside, our illustrious mayor has proven himself quite capable of being "Steve II".

birdman
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Actually Mike

I don't fear Haddix like Brown. Haddix doesn't seem to live in the delusional world of greatness that King Steve does. I don't think he is one to be feared.

Salvo10
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Here Comes The Bus

Not to Mention the pedestrians, more crosswalks, more taxes, traffic lights,traffic tickets (a sorta tax) turning lanes, more taxes, turn in lanes, benches, accidents, law suits,constuction, did I say more taxes? Trasnportation is a tax man's dream. SPLOSTOPINION