Nothing to see here… move along… move along

A curious thing popped up on the city of Alpharetta’s website the other day.

It comes as no surprise that Brandon Beach wants the Alpharetta City Council to accept his billion dollar vision for taxpayer subsidized public mass transit. Mr. Beach simultaneously acts as the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce’s CEO, the North Fulton Community Improvement District’s Executive Director as well as the 6th District representative on the Georgia Department of Transportation and I have personally heard him pitch his vision to the Windward Rotary Club as covered here at the Alpharetta Patch. I have also noticed that local Chamber of Commerce officials along with representatives of area Community Improvement Districts are currently conducting an extensive public relations campaign to promote taxpayer subsidized trains on the northern perimeter of Atlanta. You can see what I mean here and here.

So Mr. Beach’s proposal is not a surprise and there is nothing wrong with businessmen and their employees lobbying Metro Atlanta taxpayers to pay an additional 8 Billion dollars in sales tax which will be spent on transportation projects. When the projects could make them billions of dollars it just makes good business sense. Kind of like when the Cobb County CIDs spent $150,000 to make sure the local SPLOST tax passed.

The only surprise is that once again the Alpharetta City Council is making crucial decisions about the future of our city without actively soliciting the consent of their constituents. I pay a great deal of attention to what is going on in the City of Alpharetta and take care to read every public notice and press release I find. Yet the appearance of the transit item on Monday night’s Council agenda was a complete surprise to me.

I think it is fair to say that 99% of Alpharettans won’t even know the transit issue came up unless the local print media bothers to publish a story after the fact. The decision of approving Mr. Beach’s transit vision of the future is a crucial one. It is a decision that could affect every person in this city for generations to come and may decide how billions of dollars in taxes are spent. Yet there are only a handful of people that even notice what is going on.

Nothing to see here… move along… move along.

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5 thoughts on “Nothing to see here… move along… move along

  1. The appearance of the transit item on Monday night’s council agenda was a complete surprise to us (council) too.

  2. Mike,
    That is reassuring. Given the amount of outrage, I assume that means you all will want to table this to get adequate public input before making any decisions then.

  3. Interesting that Mr. Beach’s presentation (or even an outline of it) was not included in the agenda notice. I also found it interesting that the presentation will supposedly focus on “light rail”, not the current MARTA “heavy rail” line that there is so much “outrage” about. Does anyone think there is a place for “light rail” in our future? See http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_rail for samples.

  4. Mr. Caswell,
    I am well aware of the light rail plans. The Concept 3 Plan developed by the Transit Planning Board proposed light rail and was adopted in 2008. Read about it here. This gets around the “crossing the Chattahoochee” problem so no big surprises here for those of us who bother to educate themselves on what is going on rather than depending on the politicians and local rags.

    I am no proponent of this because, while cheaper than heavy, it still costs too much and does too little. Light rail still must be greatly subsidized for both building and ongoing operation costs. Not to mention that we must ruin our city with high density and further congestion to get it here.

    The outrage has more to do with the shroud of secrecy and backroom dealings while cutting the people who live here and have to pay for it (in taxes and quality of life) out of the discussion. That is truly outrageous and shameful.

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