Mayor Floyd: Vote “Yes” on T-SPLOST, “There Won’t Be” a Better Option Later

Decatur Mayor Bill Floyd writes in urging folks still with outstanding T-SPLOST questions to attend a transportation rally Monday on Decatur Square.  Click the flyer to the right to enlarge (PDF).  Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis, State Senators and Reps, and more will be in attendance, along with Mayor Floyd.

Additionally, Floyd, a man with deep knowledge of the Atlanta metro’s political system’s capabilities, writes in no uncertain terms…

This vote is crucial. Don’t vote no because you think there will be a better option later, there won’t be, and don’t not vote because you think your vote will not matter. Every vote is essential. It is our time to step up to the plate, take our responsibility and move this region forward. Let’s not let our children or grandchildren have to go to some other part of the country for jobs that should be here. Please vote YES. Bill Floyd


78 thoughts on “Mayor Floyd: Vote “Yes” on T-SPLOST, “There Won’t Be” a Better Option Later”

  1. Mayor Floyd is absolutely right. It’s sometimes easy, living in Decatur, to forget that we still live in Georgia. And in a state like this, not known for its progressiveness on any front, you take what you can get. If this doesn’t pass, and I’m afraid it won’t, we’ll be dealing with the results for a generation. The spirit of Lester Maddox still hangs heavy over MARTA and transit in general around Atlanta, and this is our best opportunity to cast it out.

  2. This won’t “repair” MARTA in any way. I’m against it. The plan is not in any way comprehensive, but more a hodgepodge of projects. That is what will set this area back, not forcing the politicians to create an actual plan that has more transparency and actually makes sense from a transportation persective.

    1. The basic problem is, by the Atlanta Regional Commission’s reckoning, there are $30 billion of projects that need to be done, so of course it’s not comprehensive, since only less than $ 7 billion can come from TSPLOST.

    2. I don’t think repairing MARTA was a stated goal. There’s also a lot more wrong with MARTA than just money. But, it does expand MARTA to a more usable area. Rather than just going North South East and West it will actually start going into the neighborhoods where it’s needed. One of the biggest winners is Decatur on that front. MARTA will never be repairable until people are willing to ride it, and for them to be willing to ride it it has to be a useful alternative to driving. Right now, it isn’t.

      1. There is $600 million to provide partial funding for identified repairs and upgrades of the MARTA system. Remember that parts of it are 40 years old.

        1. The repair work to MARTA is crucial and the region will be paying for it: aerial support structures on the east line, a new train control system, rebuilt electrical systems, escalators, ventilation and communication systems.

  3. The catch here is that several years ago GRETA wanted the bus systems to merge. Consolidate service. Sounds like good business model right. Not so fast. Not of the other counties wanted to consolidate with MARTA after a review of their books.

    Bad management, Poor financial planning, corrupt vendor contracts . On an on.. MARTA is now in the same boat again.


    I am disappointed that our current CEO Ellis has not taken the leadership reins to clean up both isses for Dekalb County. Watch the mileage rates people , just watch. County government has not made the cuts that could balance the budget.. Instead it will again be on the back of the home owners .

  4. You hit the target. Extending Marta without requiring a board that is fiscally responsible. So in essence lets extend Marta’s on going documented, incompetence and add more to the operation model that has proven to be unsustainable. This is not the right decision for riders who will depend on a service where the vendor is inept.

  5. Yes this is not the most optimal plan – but we wont have another plan probably for another 10 years. We need to get some things fixed now and rebuild some of the transit ideas that are put forth – I dont understand why anyone would not do this. just being shortsighted….

    1. Shortsighted is putting together a plan with a hodgepodge of unrelated parts. Atlanta Metro needs a plan that makes sense versus a plan for the sake of a plan. IMO, this is a plan for the sake of a plan. And when congestion is not relieved, because this plan does not address that, then you will NEVER be able to ask the public to fund another plan.

      There needs to be a 15-20 year plan that shows HOW these projects will work in conjunction with one another to relieve congestion and move people more easily throughout the region. I have yet to see that w/ this referendum.

      I’ve lived in NYC and DC. If DC, VA and MD can create a TRUE regional commission that handles transportation, why is it so unfathomable that a single state cannot have one in place and the public properly informed of how it will operate and who the members will be. Metro Atlanta will regret this, but the contractors will all be able to retire.

      1. This is the best worded description of a NO vote.. It is unforturnate the the Marta Board or Mayor Reid doesn’t get it.. Sort of like talk about relieving traffic . The phrase sells. But don’t mke anyone clean up their balance sheet or be accountable if it doesn’t work. It has always been in Georgia, specifically Atlanta where the corrupt rip offs of tax dollars occurs and then the issue disappears. This tax will never relive any traffic issues.

      2. What you’re asking for is perfectly logical and sane, but will never happen in Georgia. Georgia always has been and always will be too parochial and the Legislature always has and always will be too weak-kneed, especially with the current party in power.

      3. Mayor Floyd is not suggesting that this plan is a winner in terms of solving everything. He’s suggesting that it’s a winner politically which, in Georgia, is the only kind of winner you’re gonna get. Opponents who hold out for perfection, despite every indicator that such perfection is not, and never will be, an option, may maintain their righteousness, but they’ll do so in an increasingly less viable place.

        1. “may maintain their righteousness”

          Is it righteous to expect elected officials to be responsible with our tax dollars?

          1. I was not responding to a comment about funds administration or trust in elected officials. I was responding to a comment about the imperfection of the project list.

            1. Apologies for misinterpreting your statement. I highly doubt anyone is waiting for perfection, but there’s a lot of junk in here that has nothing to do with congestion. So if you’re asking people to raise taxes on themselves, perhaps they’d rather pay for what is critical, instead of airport lights, parks, and other frivolous non-essentials.

              Btw, is it part of the law that SPLOST has to be 10 years, or can it be for shorter increments?

    1. Having grown up in Detroit, I can say with 100% certainty that its well documented ills are not the result of a poor transportation system.

      1. Understood. My comparison is of a city in a death spiral. Detroit may have been due to lack of industry diversity and the cost of union labor, where Atlanta’s problems are based on poor responses to growth (among other things).

  6. Okay yes voters–I need that extra push to vote with you: Any of you concerned about the potential increase in our morning commute times with the transition of the reversible lane on DeKalb Ave to a bike lane? Am I reading that part of T-SPLOST correctly?

      1. I’ve actually found that interactive map missing a few details that other pages have…which could very well be user error on my part, I’ll admit…or maybe I’m reading bad info.

        This was referenced on a cycling board I read…but I enjoy driving on DeKalb when I need to, and leave the cycling downtown to the McClendon Path or the bike lanes on Hosea Williams.
        and it’s High Priority Project 7 (HP-7):
        “DeKalb Ave from Hurt St to City Limits – Complete Street: milling and repaving, sidewalk and ADA ramp repair and installation, reversible lane removal and addition of bicycle facilities along DeKalb Ave from MARTA Inman Park-Reynoldstown Station (Hurt St) to the city limits, including bicycle and pedestrian improvements at DeKalb Ave at Oakdale Rd/Whitefoord Ave and DeKalb Ave at DeKalb Pl/Rocky Ford Rd and pedestrian safety improvements in the vicinity of MARTA Edgewood-Candler Park and East Lake Stations.”

        Is this an accurate document, T-SPLOST supporters? Thanks.

        1. This is a good example of a project that will do absolutely nothing to releive traffic congestion, will likely make it worse, and is not necessary to begin with. Adding a bike lane to DeKalb Ave is not needed, as the Stone Mountain trail already runs along a very similar route.

          1. Similar but does it not abruptly end at some point, without signage, leaving the rider (me) stumped and having to wind through Lake Clair and Candler Park before finding the path again? That was my experience last time — years ago — when I attempted to ride it from Decatur to downtown.

        2. Interesting. So that project is one of the discretionary ones funded by the 15% local set aside, which is why we haven’t seen it in the other lists.

          As a person who works downtown and sometimes bikes to work, I’m 100% against that project. We’ve got a perfectly good bike route using Hosea.

          1. There are some terms of art that add to confusion. “Mass transit” in the HOV lanes means “an automobile with two humans inside”. “Alternate transportation construction” can mean “paint bike lanes”. “Increase transportation options” means building rail lines that no one will really use.

            It’s this gobbledegook of descriptions that has everyone really upset. Sure, we’re all in favor of MARTA but do we use it? “It doesn’t go where I want to go,” is the most common complain. At this point in our metropolitan area development, especially given the choices in where people choose to live and where they choose to work, it will be damned near impossible to align these projects that have been selected with what any mass really wants in terms of options.

            In perusing the list of projects what stands out is the amount of infrastructure within the City of Atlanta, particularly related to railroad crossings, is in desperate need of repair. There are an incredible amount of references to “improve traffic flow” in the project descriptions all over the region.

            Given the number of municipalities and counties that cover the area, and the connecting corridors that pass through multiple jurisdictions, the list seems somewhat reasonable. DecaturMetro’s question above about what is “reasonable” is quite to the point. Why DeKalb Avenue and not Hosea Williams? Probably because one is a designated State Route and the other is an Atlanta street. Therein lies the rub of some of the overlap of governmental authority. So, why not make Hosea a State Route? Because doing so changes the ongoing maintenance of the roadway.

            My biggest fault with the entire T_SPLOST initiative is that it doesn’t provide the new funders of MARTA with adequate authority over MARTA and doesn’t address the issues of operational problems within MARTA as it is now. The use of light rail is not as great as I would prefer. I also think that the trains need to be more self sufficient in funding themselves operationally.

            All that being stated, voting “no” won’t solve anything. The next set of solutions is more central control from on high.

        3. From the Atlanta Bike site. Sounds like turn lanes will be added, which is essentially what the reversible lane functions as. And with this, there will be turn lanes for both directions, which you don’t get with curent set up:

          “On the 2.6 mile stretch of DeKalb Avenue from the Inman Park-Reynoldstown MARTA station (Hurt St.) to the Decatur city limits, the reversible lane will be removed and bike lanes and turn lanes added.”

          1. That was exactly the point I was about to make when I read the Bicycle Coalition description. So, we’ll give up the reversible lane (good riddance) and instead get bike lanes and turn lanes. The lack of turn lanes on Dekalb Ave seems like the biggest cause of congestion as things stand today.

            Sounds like a win-win to me.

            Also, I think the reason you want bike lanes on Dekalb Ave is not for bike commuters going downtown, but to provide “last mile” connectivity for people using MARTA. You can’t do that on Hosea Williams.

    1. I have had two different periods in my life when I used DeKalb Avenue a ton. I think the design of that road is dangerous and reversible lanes are a bad idea. That one especially because sometimes there’s two real lanes and then there’s only one plus a reversible lane, and vice versa, back and forth. A set up for disaster. There’s just not room enough for four lanes of traffic. I’d rather that the extra lane be for bikes than for reversible traffic Russian roulette.

      In an ideal world, get rid of the reversible lane and have the trains run so frequently that it makes much more sense to take the train along DeKalb Avenue than to drive. There was a time that was almost true. Trains were frequent enough that you could figure out how to connect to the bus to Zoo Atlanta or to various points in midtown Atlata. But the current schedule with reduced service to balance the budget is counterproductive.

      1. If you board at Candler Park heading towards Downtown you get double frequency trains, which is pretty great. That doesn’t provide much of of benefit for Decatur folks, but since the bike lane only goes to the city limits (where exactly is the city limit on Dekalb Ave?), maybe that’s an attempt to make MARTA (or cycling) a more attractive option than driving.

        1. Good point, bike to train is still probably feasible. I never figured out the whole cycling in skirt and pumps/shower when arrive/make it home in time when school calls to get kid pronto logistics but I could have tried harder,

      2. a total on sided comment – some of us HAVE to drive. We have to take our kids to daycare, we both work. we cant bike to work. getting rid of that reversible lane is absolutely stupid. It helps with the morning commute and the commute back to decatur. I love dekalb ave! I can drop off my kids and get to work in 10 to 15 minutes. I would love to bike to work, I would then have to bike to clients meetings, bike back to work, etc. Not feasible! what they have done with dekalb ave relieves congestion.

        1. I share the need to drive a lot too. But does the reversible lane add much? I’m not sure that getting rid of it would make much difference at all in the commute and it would definitely be more safe. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen headlights coming straight at me on DeKalb Ave. and I have to hope that the driver quickly figures out that they are going the wrong way in a reversible lane. I think that either DeKalb Ave. needs 4 lanes and we should invest in widening it and providing them or it doesn’t. Reversible lanes are tragedies waiting to happen.

  7. I thought this was interesting from our friends? the Sierra Club:

    And yes, I just checked, a vote for T-SPLOST means the reversible lane on DeKalb Avenue from Decatur to the Inman Park station is going away… Unless we all switch to bikes that means congestion on DeKalb Avenue isn’t going to be improved. (If I worked in that direction, though, I would be taking MARTA).

    1. Where did you find that project? I’d like to see it too. That will crush my daily 15 minute commute. Should be a TOTAL dealbreaker for everyone in Decatur.

    2. Getting rid of the reversible lane will improve traffic flow on Dekalb Ave. because in the place of the reversible lane will be turn lanes. No more backups because one person is trying to take a left. Bikes will also have their own lane, not getting in the way of traffic as they do today.

      In my view, this will be a great improvement for Dekalb Ave. and will also help a lot with transit connectivity to the MARTA stations.

      1. But the reversible lane largely solves that problem by providing two lanes in the direction of the greatest traffic flow. Moreover, on the morning commute, there are only a few places where left turns are even possible. It seems to me that reducing a fairly heavy flow of rush hour traffic to one lane is going to greatly increase commute times along DeKalb Ave. for those who drive that route, and a turn lane won’t offset that.

      2. Even if it makes Dekalb Ave worse, it’s easy enough to jump over to Edgewood and ride all the way to Downtown from there. I’ve never seen Edgewood get backed up and I’ve been driving it into town for years.

  8. Still voting no. Traffic congestion is a problem for suburban and exurban commuters who chose to live far from work. Let them pay for their decision by sitting in traffic or paying higher gas taxes.

      1. Human beings aren’t good at factoring impending doom into their decision making unless that doom is pending in the next 10 minutes.

      2. Well first off, we need to question the assumption that supporting the sprawling region is a good thing. I think the habit of sprawl will correct itself if we don’t try to fund it, or if we pay for it with a gas tax. It has gotten where it is because we overinvested in highways and roads.

        The major employers near Decatur are not going to be impacted one way or the other by infrastructure. Emory, CDC, Ga State, GA government, Turner, Coke – these companies are not going to move out of state. If the other areas of the region decline – so what?

        1. TeeRuss, you’re obviously not going to be convinced so that’s fine. Go ahead and vote no. But remember almost everything you consume at the Brickstore, Farmer’s Market, or whatever you’re into, has to get here in a truck which runs on gas. So don’t think that congested outer highways don’t impact your Decatur cocoon. I am as anti-sprawl as the next guy, but there are over 5 million people in this region, and having them unemployed and stuck on crappy roads doesn’t do anybody any good.

          Also, to say that employers near Decatur are not going to be impacted is completely false. The idea that Coke or any other major employer in this town could not pack up and leave is a very arrogant assumption for a city that is losing its international relevance by the day.

        2. Unfortunately, you can’t live in a bubble. Local areas are impacted by regional, national, and international decisions, like it or not.

          Its that old adage…”we are all connected.”

          1. sigh.

            Look folks, I’m not an idiot who doesn’t get basic concepts.

            All I’m saying is that the bedrock of Decatur’s economy is the big employers in Downtown ATL and Emory, who are very much anchored to their locations (Coke and Turner are hugely committed to downtown, btw). The Detroit scenario is not in play here.

            Given that, and absent any additional infrastructure improvements, over time the Decatur area becomes more desirable for more people.

            1. sigh back. Not sure why I am even engaging in this but I find your point of view shockingly short sighted.

              Of course Decatur is very desirable. And that’s great for you and me who live here. But do you care about anyone else in the region? Do you honestly believe that people who live in, say, Stone Mountain because it’s cheaper – deserve to be punished for that? Or could we work together to fix some roads while simultaneously strengthening intown mass transit?

              1. I do honestly believe that “you get what you pay for”. I paid for Decatur, and I get little congestion. Some people paid far less to live in Suwanee or whatever, and they get congestion. It’s a free country, no one put a gun to their head and made them live in a larger house that’s farther out.

                1. I feel you, but this view of suburban Atlanta only accounts for the McMansion, soccer-mom set. Huge swaths of Dekalb and Gwinnett, and certainly Clayton – don’t look anything like that. I am not very sympathetic to the Suwanee set either, and they are paying for their choices to the tune of huge gas expenses and negative home equity. But that’s a very white view of OTP Atlanta.

                2. Plus, there are plenty of places close to MARTA stations (ones with parking) that are available for relatively cheap prices. I don’t see why we should make it easier for people to live far away from job centers (I’m mostly thinking about people who live in Cobb, Cherokee, and N. Gwinnett and drive in to midtown, downtown, or the perimeter area).

    1. I don’t see how the “big ticket” projects on this list will encourage more sprawl. Projects like the Clifton Corridor and Beltline transit will actually encourage more dense, transit oriented development in the city and make the existing MARTA infrastructure much more usable.

  9. If sprawl is eliminated with transit, how do you explain the tremendous growth of business areas such as Cumberland/Galleria, Vinings, Sandy Springs, and Dunwoody ( which now has a station but the growth preceded it)? Businesses chose not to locate downtown or along transit lines.

    1. Lots of people live around there. Probably has as more to do with white flight than it does with businesses choosing to locate away from transit.

      1. Actually, businesses follow other businesses. When banking moved to midtown, so did the law firms. Blame it on Muse’s for holding out for more $$$ when C&S/NationsBank tried and failed to purchase the Muse’s property to expand its headquarters.

  10. My biggest problem with this is that I just don’t trust that the money will go where they say it is going to go. I am anticipating another tax increase in a few years when they come out and say “Oh, it looks like the projects are more expensive than we thought.”
    I probably should be more positive, but with the amount of deception and untrustworthy behavior of so many politicians, I just am very frustrated with politics right now.

  11. Can anyone point to information on the Clifton Rd Corrifor transit plan which indicates that it is nothing more than a line from Lindbergh to Emory and stops there. I had thought the line was to connect through to the Avondale Station (with stops at Suburban plaza and maybe Dekalb Medical) but this does not appear to be the case. This was probably the sole reasons I was even considering voting “yes” but it seems my understanding of this aspect of the T-SPLOST project list was incorrect.

    1. I think the long term plan is to connect Lindburgh to Avondale – but I believe there is only enough funding in this 10 year SPLOST for the Lindburgh to Emory portion. To connect with Avondale they will have to find additional funds.

      1. That was my impression too. And if Lindburgh to Emory portion doesn’t happen, the subsequent extension to Avondale won’t happen.

        1. I was originally very excited about that line and the access it would provide our neighborhoods. However, I had an interesting discussion with someone who thought we might actually be better off with that line originating out of Indian Creek or Kensington…if possible. They explained that if that line originates from Avondale, folks will drive in from all over east Atlanta and beyond to park at Avondale station…potentially causing a traffic nightmare for nearby Decatur streets. The land space (and convenience off 285) of Indian Creek Station may be better able to accommodate that traffic…I can envision North Springs-like parking deck there, that might entice people to pull off 285 and use Marta…and those in our neighborhoods can easily ride up to Indian Creek and transfer, if we want to use the line. Anyway, I don’t know if any of this is even possible, but something I enjoyed considering.

          1. I think this line of concern reflects a bygone age when MARTA stations were seen as some sort of concession rather than a community asset. The Avondale station is served by two primary, high-traffic corridors (DeKalb Industrial and College/278). For park-and-riders, it will be far more convenient to enter via the College side rather than the Sycamore side because that’s the easiest to access and that’s where all the park-n-ride parking will presumably be. So I don’t foresee any significant neighborhood impacts.

            For it to be convenient for commuters, they’ll likely be people already headed this way, so it’s also not necessarily inducing traffic so much as it will be capturing it. Note, people can still commute to Indian Trail, then take the train to Avondale and make a line change. They don’t need to come all the way in.

            The most connected communities will be the most competitive in the future, IMO, so I believe we should fight to get the station first, then make sure design serves our interests thereafter.

            1. That was the original argument for railroads and was true for a long time. I’m convinced that with more people working in dispersed areas, often from home, a focus on transit and more roads is not going to improve the situation. We have a congestion problem, not a lack of roads and public transportation problem.

          2. If they were to make Indian Creek a transfer station, rather than going to Emory, I’d like to see it run up 285 to Perimeter, with new stations at Clarkston, Northlake, Chamblee Tucker, etc. I realize I’m just dreaming here.

  12. Barring a big surprise tomorrow, TSPLOST is going to fail. So it’s time to start talking about what can be done. Start small. The first thing I’d like to see happen is part of the hotel tax diverted to MARTA repairs to escalators, elevators and other vital areas, NOT to a totally unnecessary stadium. I’ve heard $300 million in tax dollars may go toward new stadium construction, and there should be outrage about it.

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