Thursday, December 07, 2006

MARTA to Gwinnett?

In this morning's paper, the AJC's Paul Donsky and Ben Smith are taking another look at Marta rail for Gwinnett County. They report that Bruce Le'Vell, Gwinnett's rep. on the MARTA board, has asked MARTA to commission a study to explore expanding MARTA rail lines into Gwinnett. Gwinnett Village CID has agreed to help pay the costs for the study.

This comes 16 years after Gwinnett voters soundly rejected the idea via referendum. But as the writers point out, Gwinnett's population has doubled since then. The demographics are changing. It's needs are changing. And frankly I-85 through Gwinnett during peak traffic periods is a nightmare.

When discussing rail transit, one of the main arguments against is always that metro area drivers will never give up the convenience of their automobiles. But, more and more, Gwinnettians are finding that working their way into downtown in the mornings and back in the afternoons is anything but "convenient." In fact, I pass by the park-n-rides at Discover Mills Mall and on Buford Hwy at I-985 all the time and those lots are always full. So quite a few Gwinnettians have already divorced themselves from their personal vehicles. Give them more reasons to do so and I suspect more will do the same.

Transportation is another critical issue affecting Georgians from north to south that was virtually ignored in the general election this year. Our "leaders" failed to lead us into any meaningful discussion. But it's also an issue that has a trickle down effect with an impact on our environmental situation and the very quality of our lives.

Lets hope that if this ever comes to a vote, the people of Gwinnett won't make the same mistake twice. Had there been a little more vision and foresight from leaders who stood against the referendum in 1990, perhaps some of our current problems could have been alleviated.

Well done, Bruce.

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