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Oh, there you are

10 Oct

Full moon over Georgia Power HQ

Entschuldigung, ya’ll. I’m back.

Things to do for 20 minutes on a single-tracking Sunday

13 Aug
  1.  Count the tiny mice scampering around the track bed
  2. Try to remember when the information displays in the station last worked
  3. Try to figure out whether you could walk to the next station in 20 minutes
  4. Move out of the way so that guy can use the outlet behind you to charge his phone
  5. Think about just going back outside to catch the bus to where you’re going, but then remember that that bus route was eliminated last year
  6. Decline to buy socks/DVDs/a half-fare card/incense/a 9-volt battery
  7. Wonder what the life span of a transit station-dwelling pigeon is
  8. Be glad you’re not sitting next to the guy holding forth on what’s really in the Bible/the Constitution/the tax code/the water
  9. Wonder how anyone gets up to the ceiling to change the light bulbs over the tracks
  10. Check your phone to see how long you’ve been waiting now (See Item 2)

Deal: No deal to move TIA tax vote

25 Aug

It appeared briefly that an agreement had been reached on moving the regional transportation tax referendum from July to November, but Gov. Nathan Deal announced late Wednesday that the issue had been dropped from the General Assembly’s special session agenda.

Deal said in a statement that, although he believes it’s important to allow as many voters as possible to participate in the vote on the proposed one-percent sales tax, “it will take too much time to reach a consensus on changing the date.”

“It’s best for taxpayers,” Deal said, “that we not let this special session drag on. Redistricting was our priority, and we have delivered a great product.”

The last opportunity for supporters of the measure to work on getting the date moved will come during the regular legislative session, which begins in January.

H/T to AJC Political Insider

TIA revenue estimates trimmed

17 Jun

Georgia’s fiscal economist announced this week that the Atlanta region should expect the Transportation Investment Act to generate less revenue than originally estimated for regional projects.

The one-percent sales tax that the TIA would put in place was previously expected to generate about $8 billion over the ten years for which it’s authorized, if voters approve it next year.

But Kenneth Heaghney, who prepared the estimates for the state, said that the calculations had to be adjusted to account for “a slightly worse outlook for the economy, as well as having time to do more exact work for this year’s projections,” the AJC reported.

The figure released this week was $8.5 billion – in 2011 dollars. Adjusted for inflation, the value is expected be reduced to about $7.2 billion. But only 85 percent of TIA-generated revenue will be available to spend on projects described as “regionally significant.”  The rest is allocated for local projects in the cities and counties in which it was raised. Shaving off that 15 percent leaves $6.14 billion for funding regional projects.

 Original and adjusted revenue estimates for all 12 Georgia regions are here (PDF).

This news means even more re-calibration and re-calculation for the Atlanta Regional Roundtable tasked with putting together a list of useful, affordable transit projects to go before the voters next year.

The “unconstrained list,” or “wish list” already far exceeds the original, more optimistic estimates that the one percent tax was expected to generate. The roundtable’s job is to reduce that list to one consisting of projects that the projected revenues can pay for. Now another $235 million worth of projects will have to be jettisoned.

But public officials have had to get used to getting more mileage out of less money lately.  Asked whether having less money to divvy up among projects would make the new tax a tougher sell, Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson, who heads the roundtable for the Atlanta region told the AJC “I don’t think so. I mean it’s going to be hard enough,” and said, laughing “What’s a billion dollars among friends?”

One step closer

10 Oct

The downtown Multi-Modal Passenger Terminal is inching a bit closer to becoming something we can use rather than something we keep hearing about.

The AJC reported Friday that Georgia DOT is scheduled to begin meeting with master developers interested in the project in just a few weeks. From Nov. 8 to Nov. 10 DOT representatives familiar with the legal, technical and financial aspects of the project will hold one-on-one meetings with leaders of development companies that are interested in submitting proposals, according to a late-September DOT press release.

I work in one of the buildings perched right over the gulch and walk right through there on my way from Five Points every (work)day. Far off though it still is, it’s going to make a huge difference to that part of downtown when that walk is through a someplace rather than a noplace.

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