Posted: 11:01 pm Friday, July 4th, 2014

Joe Lowery urges Clayton County voters to swamp Saturday meeting for MARTA 

By Jim Galloway

The Rev. Joseph Lowery at a prayer vigil at the Central United Methodist Church in May. AJC/Jason Getz

The Rev. Joseph Lowery at a prayer vigil at the Central United Methodist Church in May. AJC/Jason Getz

Ninety-one year old Joseph Lowery, still an influential voice in metro Atlanta, is urging Clayton County residents to swamp a special Saturday morning meeting of the county commission, to persuade it to approve a referendum for a penny sales tax that would promise both bus and rail service in the transit-starved county.

The Clayton County Commission this week approved a half-penny sales tax that would finance only bus service. MARTA officials have rejected the proposal. A Sunday deadline is involved.

The Clayton County meeting is at 9 a.m. Saturday at 112 Smith Street in Jonesboro. Here’s the robocall that went out from Lowery:

Said the aging civil rights veteran:

”Transit is a civil right. As we celebrate 50 years of civil rights in America, don’t let them take away your right to vote for good public transportation. Come out tomorrow.”

217 comments
Infraredguy
Infraredguy

It's predictable that the majority low information voter in Clayton will never look at the MARTA contract to see how one sided and noncommittal it is, they will vote a tax on themselves them cry when the rail and expanded service fails to materialize in coming years, just as they have for the promise by Obama that all their problems would be solved just by voting for him.

HELLNOMARTA
HELLNOMARTA

I like Jeff Turner but MARTA in ClayCo is stupid. Clayton is a disaster. They need to fix its already existing litany of problems before embarking on spending more money. Clayton is a poor county. IT DOES NOT NEED AN 8% SALES TAX. So far, the way they have wastes SPLOST, is enough to convince me to drive to my neighboring counties to make ALL future purchase. C-Tran failed yet we don't learn. IDIOTS.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

If the Majority low information voters in Clayton County want to vote higher taxes on themselves for the promise of a future MARTA service, by all means, let them do it, those voters with common sense left Clayton long ago.

NWGAL
NWGAL

Part of being a citizen of a country with a democratically based government is chipping in to make the country a better place for all. Improving transit improves job opportunities. That ultimately means higher pay and more taxes. It's a smart investment.  My county barely passed a SPLOST tax to pay for a tennis center which will bring in tourists, for  improving parks, and for a better shelter for stray animals. The tennis center probably will pay for itself over time. The safer parks and  pets, not so much. I guess some in this county like some of the posters on this site would expect the shelter animals to pay for themselves. The rest of us just view it as part of the cost of being a civilized nation.



td1234
td1234

Why is mass transit not paying their fair share? Why is gas tax money (set aside to pay for construction and maintenance of the Federal Highway system) being used to pay for mass transit and the mass transit users not paying for their own projects with higher user fees?  


I have no problem with mass transit but since I do not use it then why should I pay for it when I fill up my tank to use the roads that I pay for. 

BuckheadBoy
BuckheadBoy

Odd that the same posters here who continually clamor about able-bodied people not working never miss an opportunity to disparage any measure to facilitate those people working -- access to affordable public transportation, childcare,  and healthcare (especially access to contraceptives and abortion); or guarantee with respect to a living wage and any say with their employer involving their labor. These same posters call others who point to such illogic, "Socialist". I often wonder what these so-called conservatives would do if they realized that the Pledge of Allegiance, with which they open their organizational meetings so proudly, was penned by a real Socialist.

zekeI
zekeI

TRANSIT IS NOT A RIGHT! THERE ARE ONLY A FEW BASIC RIGHTS AND THEY ARE WELL SPELLED OUT IN THE CONSTITUTION!

TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING, EDUCATION, CELL PHONE, INTERNET, HEALTH INSURANCE, YOU NAME IT, ACCORDING TO THE CONSTITUTION IT IS NOT A RIGHT

zekeI
zekeI

MARTA is totally a failure! Unless it can be made efficient, that fares pay the total operating costs, and, it can be made safe and convenient, IT SHOULD BE SHUT DOWN IMMEDIATELY AND SAVE THOSE PAYING THE RIDICULOUS TAX BILLIONS OF DOLLARS!


Or, IT CAN BE SOLD TO PRIVATE COMPANIES!

HELLNOMARTA
HELLNOMARTA

@Infraredguy This county is an embarrassment. I don't care what old fossil they roll out. 8% sales tax in a county with a mill rate exceeding the constitutional max? Lawsuits out the ying yang. Corruption at the airport. A school system that sucks beyond words. Yeah, let's add MARTA. 

honested
honested

@Infraredguy 

Might as well start the next move toward real Civilization in Metro Atlanta in Clayton.

Gwinnett and Cobb can't be far behind!

NWGAL
NWGAL

By "more taxes" in my original post, I meant with increasing wages and power of spending, the wage earner benefiting from jobs out of the immediate area would pay more in taxes. I somehow doubt Clayton County has such a vast number of workers that their entry into any Atlanta job market will reduce the pay being offered. But specious arguments based on fancifully  imagined worst case scenarios are common among certain posters here. Outrage is so tiring, even to read. Maybe at some point we will get beyond endless outrage and try to figure out how to make the country work better, even if it costs all of us a bit more.

td1234
td1234

@NWGAL


"That ultimately means higher pay and more taxes"


Public transportation would actually mean more competition for jobs which would result in lower pay. 


We pay 18.4 cents for every gallon of gas we purchase federally and another 27.5 cents per gallon to the state. If that is not "pitching in" for roads, bridges and new construction then I do not know what is.  

DS
DS

@td1234 Public transportation increases mobility of the workforce, giving job seekers access to a wider range of jobs and employers access to a larger pool of job applicants. The result is a more efficient labor market, which benefits everyone, even those who don't use public transportation themselves.

In 2012, MARTA employed about 4,500 direct employees, plus about 9,400 indirect and induced jobs in the state. Its capital budget supports 10,000 - 20,000 jobs per year. Nearly 65,000 workers use MARTA to commute to their job. Of these, nearly 41,500 rely on MARTA as their only source of transportation. The economic activity of MARTA-dependent workers supports about 36,000 additional jobs. Of Atlanta's 18 fastest growing industry sectors, 14 of them are sectors whose workers rely heavily on MARTA for transportation to and from work.

MARTA has a huge positive impact on our economy, which benefits everyone who lives and works in these economy---even people who don't ride MARTA. That's why it makes sense for everyone to help support it.

http://www.itsmarta.com/uploadedFiles/About_MARTA/Reports/UGA-Report-on-MARTA-Financial-Impact-2012.pdf

There was a landmark study released about a year ago which found a relationship between labor mobility and poverty. Cities with more developed public transportation showed greater labor mobility.   Poor people have better chances of escaping poverty through their own efforts, because they can get to where the better jobs are. Cities with less developed public transportation had larger pockets of long-entrenched, multi-generation poverty. Poor people have a harder time working out of poverty because they can't get to where the better jobs are.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/22/business/in-climbing-income-ladder-location-matters.html

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

td no transit system anywhere is totally self sufficient - not roads, not trains, not the airline industry , none of them.

You simply do NOT pay the full costs of the roads you use.

And several people below have provided those facts for you.

And especially in this case, we're talking about  a penny increase in the sales tax in Clayton County - how will that affect you at all?  If the good folks there want to tax themselves to pay for transit, and I hope they do, why in the world do you continue to complain about it?

td1234
td1234

@BuckheadBoy Access is not the problem. It is when access becomes means tested entitlement at the expense of the public is where the problem exist.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

I realize I'm wasting my breath here, but the only rights you have are the ones llisted in the constitution???

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

Okay fair enough.

But we also need to make every road a toll road, so that you pay your own way when you drive, okay?  I'm tired of my tax dollars being used for roads so you can indulge your driving habit.

td1234
td1234

@NWGAL Who is "outraged"? Now to want government to live within its means, to keep taxes as low as possible and want mass transit users to pay their fair share for a service instead of leching off the people that drive is outrage. Wow, just wow


honested
honested

@td1234 @NWGAL 

Your blind obsession revolving around anything to do with 'taxes' is deeply disturbing.

I guess the hollow hope anyone in your party will ever come to grips with the reality of the needs of the broad population can be abandoned while moving to a position of permanent irrelevance.

Back to a discussion we had earlier in the week on taxes and the things taxes purchase, now that the ENTIRE FLEET of F35's has again been grounded, how many tax dollars should we American Citizens be forced to pour down that rat hole before the depth of the mistake is admitted and the entire foolish project is abandoned?

td1234
td1234

@DS @td1234 I have said it three or four times now I am not opposed to public transportation. It should be self sufficient and pay for itself with user fees or money the local community agrees to chip in.




td1234
td1234

@CherokeeCounty If you read down you will see that I have no problem with them voting to tax themselves for mass transit. 


My debate is about mass transit in general and how it is a drain on automobile drivers to subsidize the system. 


My other point is that the FHTF is self sufficient if you remove the money that is currently being taken from the fund to pay for mass transit that most drivers will never use.  

td1234
td1234

@CherokeeCounty You are wrong. It is gas taxes (user fees) that pay for the roads so if you do not buy gas the drive on the roads then your taxes are not paying for the roads. 


Public transportation is only partially paid for by user fees but then is paid for by taxing all the public rather you use the product or not. I have no problem with public transportation as long as it pays for itself and does not reach into the general funds. 


As far as toll roads, I have no problem with them as well. If a community believes they need a road to go from point A to point B and there is no user fees available then if they can get someone to do it on credit and charge a toll (user fee) to pay it off then I am all for it.  

NWGAL
NWGAL

@honested You really can't discuss or debate with someone with blinders on. No one likes paying taxes but no one likes changing diapers either. Sometimes it just goes with the job.

td1234
td1234

@honested Taxes are just like the money I spend in my businesses. I want to make sure that we are using our resources to their maximum potential in everything we spend tax money on so that mine (and everyone else) expenditures are as low as possible and we are allowed to keeps as much of the money we earn as possible. 

honested
honested

@td1234 @DS 

Given that, do you support ending long obsolete subsidies for extraction, refining and 'security' for petroleum products?

The price per gallon would be the REAL 11.00 per gallon for gasoline, but at least those not consuming too much would not be subsidizing the costs for those who are not.

honested
honested

@td1234 @CherokeeCounty 

Use of tax revenue to provide for transportation is to allow for mobility, not to reserve more lanes for those suffering from a delusion of self-importance.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@td1234 @CherokeeCounty So td, you want to continue to expand the roadway system esp for cars with only one person in them? Can't afford that buddy! One bus can carry 30 or so people...getting them out of cars and this also addresses congestion. Trains are even better...need more service...add a railcar!

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@td1234 @CherokeeCounty :"It is gas taxes (user fees) that pay for the roads so if you do not buy gas the drive on the roads then your taxes are not paying for the roads. "

Uh, td, most  items in your home got to the stores by truck...they pay gas taxes, so when you buy something YOU are subsidizing the gas tax!!!

Nobody_Knows
Nobody_Knows

@td1234 @CherokeeCounty 

In recent years, revenues into the Highway Trust Fund have not been sufficient to fully finance the level of federal highway and transit investment authorized by Congress. During Fiscal Years 2008-10, Congress transferred money from the General Fund to fill a revenue gap resulting from the impact of the Great Recession on personal travel and truck traffic. The FY 2008-10 transfers offset funds that had been removed or diverted from the HTF in previous years. To finance MAP-21, Congress injected another $18.8 billion of General Fund revenues in FY 2013-14 and transferred $2.4 billion of gas tax revenues that had previously been credited to the Liquid Underground Storage Tax Trust Fund. The revenue infusion was designed to assure that the HTF would be able to pay all of its bills through the end of FY 2014 and into the early part of FY 2015.

Unfortunately, the FY 2013 budget rescission, which cut all federal discretionary spending, reduced the amount transferred into the HTF by enough to move the time at which the HTF would not have enough money to pay all its bills into FY 2014. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), a shortfall is likely to occur in September 2014 and could happen as early as July. To get the latest HTF outlook, visit the FHWA’s HTF Ticker site at http://www.dot.gov/highway-trust-fund-ticker.

 http://www.artba.org/about/transportation-faqs/

DS
DS

@td1234  True, the Federal Highway Trust Fund gets most of its revenue from fuel taxes, although Congress has had to save it with general funds a few times in recent years. And money from this fund is allocated to states for use on federal highways and state roads.

But all roads aren't paid for this way. County roads, for example, are paid for out of county funds, not fuel taxes.

BTW, the Federal Highway Trust Fund is projected to go bust next month. The fuel tax rate was last set in 1993, and it hasn't kept up with increased road use and improving average gas mileage of cars. If Congress doesn't do something to replenish the fund, Georgia will have to forgo roadwork, which will result in lost jobs. 



honested
honested

@NWGAL @honested 

True dat.

I sometimes forget I am dealing with an ilk that finds it appropriate to make statements like "I've never changed a diaper" followed by some hollow 'pro-life nonsense'.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

You really can't discuss or debate with someone with blinders on.

Amen to that.

This is a guy after all who thinks that 'promote' in the Constitution means to say nice things.

Given that, his constant argument that public transit, alone among transit systems, should pay its own way, just betrays the lack of serious thought that he gives things.

td1234
td1234

@NWGAL And can you show me exactly where I said nothing should be taxed and no taxes paid in this country? 


I am not the one with blinders on my friend, it is the progressive movement that believes it is government role to solve every problem in this country. 

honested
honested

@td1234 @honested 

Mass Transit is Maximum Potential.

You know, that whole Constitutional requirement for 'Promoting General Welfare' which just happens to include maximizing mobility (where does it say in the Constitution that we should take care to make sure production and consumption of petroleum should be subsidized FIRST? I didn't think it said that).

Anyways, how about that F35 rathole that we ALL get to waste our money on?

td1234
td1234

@honested Total hogwash. Oil companies get the same tax deductions as any other corporation in this country. 


Just because the Center for American Progress (American socialism) wants to say a tax deduction on a legitimate business expense is subsidy does not mean it is. 


This group wants to tax revenue like all good socialist wants and not net income like every company in all other democratically elected countries do. 

td1234
td1234

@Nobody_Knows Cut mass transit expenditures and charge the users more money to make their systems self sufficient.  

td1234
td1234

@DS @td1234 Why is only 15.4 cents out of 18.4 cents of all gas taxes collected going to highway construction and maintenance and the other 2.88 cents per gallon going to mass transit? 


td1234
td1234

@DS The highway trust fund would not be broke if it was not spending a huge amount of money each year to subsidize mass transit. This was not the intent of the fund when it was established in 1956

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

What DS said, td - yeah gas taxes pay much of the cost of roads, but just like user fees on Marta, they don't pay the entire costs,  nor many of the maintenance costs.

And to his jobs comment - I work with several street and road contractors - they're hurting, and if something isn't done soon there will be more job losses, and our infrastructure will continue to crumble.

td1234
td1234

@CherokeeCounty And that my friends sums up the difference between a progressive and a conservative. 


Government is rarely the solution to anyone's problems. 

Kamchak
Kamchak

...it is the progressive movement that believes it is government role to solve every problem in this country.

Got proof?

td1234
td1234

@honested Once again a tax deduction for expenses incurred doing business is not a subsidy. 

td1234
td1234

@honested @td1234


There are two terms the progressives do not seem to know the definitions too. Promote and provide. 


"Promote the general welfare"  To promote is to advocate or encourage. 


"Provide for the common defense" To provide is to supply or to furnish. 


The progressive movement wants to turn these to terms around to mean the exact opposite of what their true meaning are. To promote mass transit does not mean provide mass transit. 

honested
honested

@td1234 @honested 

What is the current royalty paid on extracted petroleum in the United States? Why has it not been increased to at least provide full funding for cleaning up the mess?

What is the cost of 'free' security for petroleum transport in the middle east?

These are just two examples of very real and substantial costs paid by taxpayers to ensure profitability of a sector of the economy that is rapidly becoming obsolete.

As for your rabid obsession to justify tax transparency of business expenses, you probably need more professional help than I could provide.

Of course, I guess you will hold onto that Suburban even when gas passes 11.00 a gallon.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

More nonsense.

There are tons of things that government does better than private industry - can't help it if you choose to ignore them.

Defense, roads, air transportation, food safety, product safety, clean air, clean water, education for everyone, fire protection, law enforcement, traffic control systems, public universities, National Institute of Health, the CDC, restaurant inspections, public records... and on and on. 

All paid for with taxes, and all solutions to real world problems, *my friend*.

EdUktr
EdUktr

@Kamchak

—The endlessly repeated response of the blog’s most partisan gadfly and troll.

Thankfully, at least, he’s an adolescent of few words. 

honested
honested

@td1234 @honested 

Tax transparency based on a 'business expense' most certainly is a subsidy. Eliminating the concept will lead to substantial increases in the much vaunted 'efficiency' of all businesses.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@td1234 @honested td: why don't you talk for yourself instead of telling us how to live our lives? Oh and the gas tax rates were set in the 1980's. and , guess what, things have changed! Have you heard of inflation? hybrids and electric cars?

td1234
td1234

@CherokeeCounty "Education for everyone" A 40 to 50% dropout rate is better? What is the dropout rate in private schools? 


Most public record administration has been outsourced to private industry because private industry does a more efficient job. 


Many communities have volunteer fire departments. 


Private universities such as Harvard and Yale do a far greater job of higher education than most if not all public universities. 


We shall agree on defense. It is the number 1 and most important job of government. 


A great deal of the other things you mentioned have never been attempted by the private sector so you nor I have any proof if the private sector could do a better job but I would bet the private sector would be more efficient.  

Kamchak
Kamchak

@EdUktr 

Oh joy. My leg humper decided it was time to get out of bed, and before noon for once.

honested
honested

@td1234 @CherokeeCounty 

tiny dog, 

When you've got nothing, CHANGE THE SUBJECT!!

What about the vast majority of Americans who don't want to be stolen from in order to provide jobs for displaced farmers to 'build' the F35?

EdUktr
EdUktr

@Kamchak @EdUktr

You really have no choice, do you? Your mom's Internet connection's only free during work hours.

td1234
td1234

@honested


The F-16, F-22 and F-18 all had problems to begin with also, so I am sure the MIC will get the F-35 right for our good men and women in the armed forces. 

honested
honested

@td1234 @honested 

By the time the F35 is 'patched', the total cost of the pointless program will be north of a trillion dollars.

Then the Pentagon will be forced to admit the entire weapons system doesn't have a mission.

Who do we contact to get the money back and put it to something of use to Americans?