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The Cuckoo Choo-Choo

The floating train ‘Smart’ transit option isn’t going to happen and Bob Ott knows it.

On Nov. 11, East Cobb Patch published an article about Commissioner Bob Ott’s town hall meeting, Since I was at another meeting, I enjoyed Wendy Parker’s excellent reporting.

Where to begin? Commissioner Ott took a short ride to South Cobb and had a test ride on the floating (magnetic levitation “maglev”) prototype. The Speaker of the State House, David Ralston, took his family and staff to Germany last year, thanks to a lobbyist’s $17,000 gift, to accomplish the same thing. Good for Mr. Ott.

I went to an impressive maglev presentation at the Cobb Civic Center about 10 years ago. The expensive, quiet, high speed (300 mph), smooth-running train was promoted as a long distance transportation option. Atlanta was competing with other regions of the country for federal dollars with an Atlanta to Chattanooga route with minimal stops.

Now, the maglev has become a Hooterville Cannonball right out of Petticoat Junction, with multiple stops from Kennesaw, The Big Chicken, Delk Road, East Cobb, and ending up in Sandy Springs. Since the train starts in mostly white north Cobb and ends in mostly white Sandy Springs, maybe it should be called the Confederate Railroad with the lead car named the General.

The Nov. 11 article called the maglev plan a dream for light rail opponents. Whether dream or fantasy, the plan has no contact with reality. Perhaps it should be called the Cuckoo Choo-Choo.

Twelve years have gone by with no transportation progress from the Republican dominated legislature and governors. Now that the decision-making power of selecting transportation options and financing (TSPLOST) has been put in the hands of local elected officials and voters, East Cobbers who refused to help or provide leadership in the past continue to block progress.

The TSPLOST is the only transportation option out there. It isn’t perfect but, after 12 years of zero progress, it looks pretty good. Cobb will not see double-decked interstates. Cobb will not see Star Trek-type transporters.

Thanks to Governor Deal and Speaker Ralston’s lobbyist friends, we may see a reversible lane on I-75 that, according to Georgia estimates, will make no difference for the 99 percent of regular commuters but will help the one percent of affluent commuters.

By the way, there will never be a maglev train created by East Cobbers for East Cobbers. Remember the Trauma Center in South Georgia that was on last year’s ballot as a referendum? Everyone agreed that there was a need for it, including the Georgia Tea Party.

But the T-people could not agree on a financing formula. They kept looking for a perfect way to fund it and naturally could not find it, so the South Georgia Trauma Center did not get built.

The T-people in East Cobb will be debating the perfect way to build and finance a maglev train for decades. Let them debate all they want, but also let them get out of the way of the adults who are trying to create real progress.

I think that it is cruel the way Commissioner Ott teases the T-people with false ideas and false hope.

He knows better, if they don’t.

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.

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