The Naked Truth About (Subsidized) Wages

If you have read my work over the years, then you know that I am not a proponent of Minimum Wage.  An adult should be able to work for anyone at an agreed price.

However, a new issue has come into my view I did not realize existed until recently.

Apparently there are groups out there (think Chamber of Commerce) that works with your local governments to hold wages down by:

A)  Making sure that there is Affordable Housing in your area so their workers can live nearby

B) Making sure there is mass transit options so that low cost workers can get to the businesses that want to hirer low cost employees(A Chamber Objective for sure) Continue reading

(*) Local Option Sales Taxes- How We Are Ripping Ourselves Off

Chances are, you have cast votes on more than one occasion to tax yourself via sales tax for education. traffic or other local projects.  Chances are, you, like many others, felt it was just a penny here and there, and chances are you bought into the notion that others from outside your jurisdiction would also be paying the tax, which is a win-win for all but those outside of your community.

tax dollars

And chances are, you’d be wrong. Continue reading

What’s The Real Cost of that MARTA Ride?

MARTA is in the news a lot lately in Fulton County, as they push for more funds to expand heavy rail, especially in North Fulton County.  We are told of the benefits of MARTA, and one could argue that there are indeed benefits, especially for those that do not own vehicles.

MARTA is pushing today for a sales tax increase that would increase their sales tax revenues by 50%.  By doing so, Fulton County will be increasing the subsidies that are given for each MARTA rider.

But what is the true cost of of this Mass Transit system today, and where do the funds come from?  Is it a positive or negative expense when it comes to other modes of transport?

Only 22% of MARTA’s funding comes from fares.

Twenty-two per cent of MARTA’s funding comes from Fare Revenue, 58% from sales tax revenues, and the other 20% from other sources such as State and Federal government.  What would it cost if MARTA relied entirely on fares, and not on sales tax dollars,and federal and state dollars? Continue reading

MARTA: It’s Not About Racism-It’s About the Math

MARTA_trainSince the beginning of the Mass Transit era in the Atlanta metropolitan area, I’ve constantly heard the arguments that the reason people were against the transit system was racism.

This is usually the moment that the local politician or commentator makes the statement about how people feared that their homes would be broken into and their tv set stolen and taken away on a bus or train. It’s a tired example, and an inaccurate example. Continue reading

Johns Creek and MARTA: The REAL Reason it is NOT the Right Answer

Recently, the City of Johns Creek passed a resolution effectively saying they would not support an increase in the MARTA sales tax, which is and has been collected in Johns Creek since MARTA was formed.

That decision has led to the usual bellowing of racism.  Racism is on the path to becoming the argument of first resort when people, generally on the left, do not get their way.  It used to be the argument of last resort, but why wait?

I am sure that there will be people that claim that my views are biased as well.  They would be wrong.  I graduated from Georgia State University, and I took the train from Hightower to Georgia State daily.  Even then, it took longer by train than by car.  Which is generally true for a lot of MARTA versus car travel cases.

For example, Windward Parkway in Alpharetta to the Atlanta Airport would take 42 minutes at 1:33 p.m. on 11/23/2015.  By bus/rail? One hour and 27 minutes(if you get there as soon as the bus arrives).  Click on the link below, and it will show you current travel times by both modes.

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Windward+Pkwy,+Alpharetta,+GA/Hartsfield-Jackson+Atlanta+International+Airport,+6000+North+Terminal+Parkway,+Atlanta,+GA+30320/@33.8724997,-84.6242664,10z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x88f59e6c38cf93d3:0x8fcf80e0cde8a243!2m2!1d-84.2459577!2d34.091148!1m5!1m1!1s0x88f4fd2fe1035901:0x4117a3ef1892b048!2m2!1d-84.4277001!2d33.6407282!3e3

We are often told “Look at how successful the METRO is in Washington, D.C.”.  Of course that system is successful.  It was designed and built the proper way a transportation system should be built.  MARTA took a different path.  Well they basically took two paths: North-South and East-West.  That’s their failure.  That they have continued to this day without modifying that plan is why MARTA is not and cannot be the answer.

Have a look at the two systems.  Here are the maps for each:

Washington METRO Map

Washington METRO Map

Washington’s METRO has multiple 8 spokes to their transportation system.  Those 8 spokes three separate transportation circular routes that allow passengers to get to where they are going without the need for everyone to transfer at one primary station if they need to change directions while traveling.

This system is a functional system, and provides for additional expansion because they can connect any two outer spokes, creating another circular path, when the demand is there.

The Washington Metro was started in 1976.  It has:

  • Six Lines
  • 91 Stations
  • 117 miles of track
  • 712,843 passengers per day
marta-map

MARTA Metro Atlanta Rail Map

Atlanta’s MARTA system is shown here:

MARTA was started in 1971:

  • Two Main Lines
  • 38 Stations
  • 48 miles of track
  • 438,900 passengers per day
  • No new stations since 2000

 

As you can see, there is no connectivity between the two main spokes, except at Five Points.  There are no circular paths for patrons to take to get to their destination.

This also creates another major problem.  If MARTA has a failure between Lindbergh and the Airport, or between Holmes and Indian Creek, it disrupts all traffic and buses muse be used.  The Washington METRO allows riders to pick another route if one of the stations happens to be on one of their circular sections of track. Continue reading