The proposal, titled "Getting Georgia Moving," was created in response to the failed Transportation Investment Act referendum -- or TSPLOST -- that was soundly rejected by metro Atlanta voters in July.
In order to move the state forward, GPPF is encouraging leaders to build public trust through transparency, reform and performance and to provide effective, efficient and affordable transit alternatives. Rail, according to GPPF, is not a viable transit solution.
"In addition to having very low density, Atlanta’s commuters are not primarily traveling to one central destination, but often from one suburb to another," the GPPF report states. "This makes a railbased network unaffordable. We find it very frustrating that the Georgia Public Policy Foundation is often referred to as 'anti-transit.' We are not anti-transit, we are 'anti' wasting money. We believe a rail focus is a lose-lose scenario."
Instead, GPPF recommends "rubber-tired transit" -- in particular, bus rapid transit (BRT).
"BRT looks and feels like a light-rail vehicle, but it has rubber tires," GPPF explained. "It can use the HOV, HOT or managed lanes on the interstates to escape traffic and dedicated lanes on arterial routes or virtual dedicated lanes (controlled by an ITS) that offer very competitive trip times. Because this offers a high quality experience at a much lower cost than rail, we can afford to build out a true network."
To fund BRT and other transit programs including the Xpress bus service and MARTA, GPPF recommends the state allocate $65 million a year to transit.
The GPPF also offered several recommendations related to traditional road projects.
"For roads and bridges, there are several quick fixes that should be addressed immediately to maximize the capacity of existing infrastructure," the report stated. "Synchronizing lights (Atlanta has some of the worst signalized arterials of any major metro area in the U.S. so this needs to be a priority. GDOT should have the responsibility for setting and maintaining traffic signals on all state roads, including in local counties or cities.), adding shoulder bus lanes to highways without HOV/HOT lanes, expanding programs to clear accidents or incidents more quickly, and enhancing major arterials by adding median turn lanes or turn restrictions, adding raised medians and adding acceleration and deceleration lanes."
GPPF also advises state officials to take a closer look at some of the projects on the failed TSPLOST list and work to address the less controversial ones such as the GA 400/ I-285 interchange.
Another recommendation from GPPF involves working to create a statewide freight network, which would allow a significant amount of freight traffic to bypass the metro Atlanta area.
According to GPPF, "This could divert from 30-60 percent of the truck traffic out of metro Atlanta, removing the equivalent of up to 100,000 cars per day from the metro interstates."
GPPF recommends funding these transportation initiatives by rebalancing infrastructure spending without raising new taxes.
What do you think about BRT? Do you think these projects can be funded without raising taxes? Let us know in the comments.