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Are Conversation and Compromise Endangered?

Respectful discussion that allows for different opinions is the path to solving our transportation problems.

From watching TV, you would think that the accepted definition of compromise is “I win. You lose.”

On Dictionary.com, compromise is defined as “a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc., by reciprocal modification of demands.”

At a recent holiday party, I discovered that friendly conversation and compromise, while not as common as they used to be, are not extinct.

Two friends who see each other infrequently were sipping eggnog or something like it and swapping stories. The lack of a good local news source, besides Patch.com, left them wondering what was happening in Cobb. One was an R (Republican) and the other a D (Democrat). They are fond of sharing facts, asking questions, and discussing changes in Cobb, especially in their neighborhoods.

The subject of transportation came up. Almost everyone in Cobb is an expert on this subject. D liked the idea of commuter rail/light rail as a big part of the solution to our transportation problems. R preferred buses.

D said business and residential construction will be attracted to and build around a permanent transportation system. Rail has the flexibility of increasing capacity without dramatically increasing cost, land use, or pollution. An accident on I-75 won’t stop a commuter train.

R said that bus service is relatively inexpensive to start and expand and thanks to modified lanes (HOV or dedicated bus lanes), it can get people to their destinations faster and more reliably than using a car. Also, the planning and construction process is faster compared to rail. Modifying highway 41 for increased local and Atlanta bus usage was also discussed.   

D admitted that the planning and construction time for rail was painfully slow. R admitted that new construction and jobs won’t come to Cobb because of more buses and bus stops.

It was almost like someone had turned on a light. R and D realized that they were in possession of separate pieces to a complex puzzle. Cobb commuters want some quick relief. Commuters also know that buses alone can’t make up for the shortcomings of asphalt.

The answer wasn’t either or. It was both. The TSPLOST vote this summer is a necessary first step to get the process started. Even Gov. Deal has said that progress in transportation is a priority and the transportation tax is needed. Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee also supports passage of the TSPLOST.

The few Cobb politicians who say “NO” to everything will continue to offer no ideas, no leadership, and no ability to compromise. They will continue to be less and less relevant to any conversation.

If there is no TSPLOST, there is no plan “B.” There is no . There is no double-deck road. Recently, I Googled “double-deck roads.” There may be double-decked bridges and tunnels but no roads.

There is no alternative to the one percent transportation tax.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Chris P. February 19, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Does anyone else see the irony in the author beginning his article with the thesis that compromise is a necessary thing, and then ending it with an ultimatum ("there is no plan B")? So there is absolutely no alternative to increasing the cost of every item we buy in Cobb county by 1%? Interesting, that doesn't sound like compromise to me.

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