From the folks that brought you a one half of a billion-dollar tax increase over 30 years to build the new Braves Stadium, comes a call from the local Braves front man, Mike Plant, that the County should put the 30-year Transit tax on the ballot, and not just a quarter of a percent. As quoted recently in the MDJ, Plant said: “To me, it doesn’t make any sense to do it half ass at a quarter of a penny. You have to do it right.”
In the article just quoted, Plant reiterates the mantra of the spending interests that Cobb’s population may grow by 300,000 in thirty years, so we need to “invest” [read raise taxes] to meet the transportation needs of the County going forward. And when it comes to the full one percent transit tax, the Braves Stadium deal was chump change: a half a billion vs. over $8 billion.
Interestingly enough, Plant admits he wouldn’t use the expanded mass transit system because he’s “…and old guy. I’m in my car.” He is also a very, very well-paid old guy. But he has no problem foisting that kind of tax increase on the rest of us who are not making well into the six figures and will likewise not be using expanded mass transit.
Another problem with Mr. Plant’s argument is that even if the County’s population grew by about thirty percent over thirty years, does that mean we should double or triple the amount of transit infrastructure to accommodate that growth? If so, that would mean the new buses and bus rapid transit (BRT) lines would be even more empty than they are now.
Currently, there are only two bus lines in Cobb that have anything close to what you might consider a decent level of ridership: the number 10 and 30. All the rest are very underutilized, even during peak hours. How is that going to change if we double, triple or quadruple rider capacity over the next thirty years? Yes. The more service you have, the more riders, but no way would there be enough of an increase to justify this phenomenal cost.
Moreover, advances in transportation technology will likely make transit expansion obsolete before the first truckload of concrete is poured. Thanks to advances in data storage and management, in thirty years there would be enough data “in the cloud” to pinpoint where every vehicle is located. That, combined with driverless cars, would do wonders in managing traffic flows and eliminate to a large extent one of the most significant causes of traffic congestion, i.e. accidents due to human error.
Our advice to Mr. Plant and his overseers at Liberty Media that own the Braves is to stick with what you do best, which is to bring the world championship to Georgia, which you have done, and stop trying to raise our taxes on things that don’t make sense.