N. Fulton doesn’t want expanded MARTA rail

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

State Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell) chairs the Senate State and Local Government Operations Committee.

I am baffled and amazed at the lack of facts and logic used to support issues. Often, these issues are being justified by something I like to refer to as a red herring. A red herring is something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important issue. They are typically used as part of rhetorical strategies such as politics. The samples of red herrings below distract from the real issue. Those perpetrating these false and misguided tales are misrepresenting the facts and causing fundamental mistrust.

I represent all six cities in North Fulton County and speak to residents every day. The people overwhelmingly tell me they do not want a heavy rail solution forced upon them, so why are they being sold a bill of goods? This is the case for the proposed and nearly $3 billion expansion of MARTA rail into North Fulton County. A project of this magnitude will likely increase traffic and taxes for North Fulton residents. Cobb County learned through a study commissioned by the Board of Commissioners that their proposed transit system could make traffic worse at key intersections. North Fulton does need innovative solutions to circumvent traffic congestion, but a heavy rail expansion is not the solution. Citizens are smart and understand the reality of the situation.

North Fulton is blessed in many ways. We rank highly in Georgia and nationally in most major categories, including: public safety, level of higher education, household income, parks, best places to start a business, best places to raise a family, lowest unemployment, cutting-edge businesses, best quality of life, top-ranked schools and so much more.

One popular red-herring argument starts with the millennial generation saying they will never own a car or live in the suburbs. I guess they forget people grow up, get married and desire a different quality of life. I think the millennial generation is very talented; and I have already seen them moving to North Fulton in large numbers, and according to Bloomberg, they account for 27 percent of all new car sales.

Another myth to debunk are claims businesses need to have heavy rail transit in order to thrive. Businesses locate to our area because we lead in most major areas as referenced above and employees love and work in their community. Some people are saying Mercedes-Benz chose a new office location based on the MARTA line. That made me laugh out loud. This is a luxury car maker who provides automobiles for their employees!

Furthermore, I even read an article where someone compared the quality of life to the number of heavy-rail miles?? To draw that conclusion, this fable must assume the people reading it are senseless. We are already thriving and leading in most every metric in North Fulton.

Lastly, and perhaps the most outrageous, was a “Twitter Poll” claiming strong support for expansion with no basis or controls whatsoever. This was the height of irresponsible journalism. I speak to constituents every day and this could not be further from the truth. As John Adams said, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

Let’s review together; an expansion of MARTA will increase taxes, cost billions, take countless years to complete and increase traffic. Additionally, it will not improve our public safety, household income, parks, business climate, quality of life, unemployment rates, or our top-ranking public school system. Why defy the will of the people?

Expanding a heavy rail line is not operationally, financially or logistically feasible. However, adding additional lanes to GA. 400 first and then following up with a BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) solution can provide a reasonable solution at a fraction of the cost, time and impact. Let’s listen, be smart and get something done.