The Georgia Road Geek Blog Site

I think Steve Williams’ blog,The Georgia Road Geek Blog Site is an excellent resource for getting to know the issues and events in regard to Georgia’s roadways. He posted a very well written article on the State Road and Tollway Authority with respect to House Bill 18 as follows:

If House Bill 18 were to become law, then Georgia Code Section 40-6-54(d) would be would be altered by removing any and all references to SRTA and substituting “Department of Transportation” wherever necessary (per Section 20 of the bill).

As for the SRTA, I can honestly say that I don’t have a single ounce of sympathy for their governing board, given that they, then-Governor Sonny Perdue, and the GDOT board had the audacity to break a promise made to us, the Georgia taxpayers, by extending the GA 400 tolls for another ten (10) years. In other words, good riddance to bad rubbish!

I want to thank him for helping to spread the word about House Bill 18. Please look up your state legislators at congress.org so that you may call or write them in support of House Bill 18.

References:

Steve Williams, State Roadway and Tollway Authority May Be Gone Soon, The Georgia Road Geek Blog Site

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Alert! Please Call your State Legislators

Please call your state legislators to support House Bill 18, which dissolves the SRTA, the State Road And Tollway authority and folds the functions and assets of that agency into GDOT, the Georgia Department of Transportation. It also gets rid of the infamous Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank that would cannibalize our public assets into private assets. Please look up your local state representatives and tell them “yes” on House Bill 18. You can thank Bobby Franklin for sponsoring this bill. Please feel free to phone your support and approval of Mr. Franklin’s legislation at 404-656-0152.

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Truckers Could Have Been Tapped for I-20 and I-285

In addition to the rising price of diesel raising the cost goods in our stores we can add tolls. One of our old bankster adversaries, Goldman Sachs has submitted a proposal toward bleeding out the the truckers coming to Georgia. Part of the consortium are Maguire Woods and PBSJ. I must confess to not knowing these two latest actors on the scene, but when it comes to parasitizing our infrastructure there always new fungi blooms coming out of the rot of our state government. I will have to had these two new mycelia to my taxonomy. This story is from 2006, but it shows how the banking system is intimately involved in cashing out our infrastructure. Here is an extract from the Tollroad News website:

A Goldman Sachs/McGuireWoods/PBSJ team filed a proposal this morning with Georgia DOT to develop truck only toll lanes (TOTLs) for a northwestern segment of I-285, the perimeter highway, and west on I-20, in the Atlanta area – for a total of 24km (15mi). They would complement TOTLs being negotiated by Bechtel for I-75 from the perimeter highway northwest – another 24km (15mi) project.

The I-285 segment would be 2×2 TOTLs, and the I-20 segment 2×1 TOTLs for a total of 45 lane-miles (72 lane-km). They propose opening their 15mi simultaneously with the Bechtel 15mi. Only an Executive-Summary of the GS/McGW/PBSJ proposal is available. Key passages include: “Our team proposes a public-private partnership with
Georgia DOT that essentially privatizes the delivery of constructed TOT lanes in the northwest quadrant of I-285 with minimal assistance from the Department. We propose to provide all services to fully plan, permit, finance, design and implement the project. We will act as an agent and work through Georgia DOT to coordinate with other state and federal agencies.”

Addendum

A further reading of the article will show that a decision on the idea was supposed to have been made in 2009. I have heard nothing to show that the idea was ever taken up.

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Press Release from GDOT, Lane Closures on Metro I-85

GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Press Release

For Immediate Release: Contact: Teri N. Pope

Thursday, October 21, 2010
(770) 718-3924 Office

DAY AND NIGHT LANE CLOSURES WEEK OF
OCTOBER 25TH ON I-85 EXPRESS LANES

DULUTH, Ga. – Lane closures continue next week on the Interstate 85 Express Lane project in DeKalb and Gwinnett Counties. Georgia DOT’s contractor, World Fiber Technologies will work day and night next week as weather permits.

The work plan will require the overnight closing of the outside lane of I-85 northbound from Pleasant Hill Road to State Route 316 in Gwinnett County starting at 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday, 25th through Friday, 29th. “If the weather cooperates, crews will bore under the interstate for the third week. Boring is the first step to running the hundreds of miles of conduit needed for the technology that will operate the Express Lane system,” explained Georgia DOT District Construction Engineer, Randall Davis.

Daytime work will occur Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The outside southbound lane of I-85 southbound will be closed from Dawson Blvd to I-285 so crews can inspect and repair existing communications equipment. The lane will be closed from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. only.

The I-85 Express Lanes Project includes installation of 16 miles of fiber and signage along Interstate Highway 85 between Chamblee Tucker Road and Old Peachtree Road and along State Route 316 between I-85 and Riverside Parkway. This $11.7 million project was awarded to World Fiber Technologies, Inc., of Alpharetta.

When completed, registered transit buses, motorcycles, alternative fueled vehicles and vehicles with three or more passengers will be allowed to use the inside (left) HOT lane for free, while single- and double-occupant vehicles will be allowed to use the lane if they choose to pay a variably priced toll.

For additional information and construction updates on this project, please email Teri Pope at tpope@dot.ga.gov.

Georgia DOT urges travelers to call 511 for updated information about these or any other construction projects on interstates and state routes. Georgia 511 is a free phone service that provides real-time traffic and travel information statewide, such as traffic conditions, incidents, lane closures, and delays due to inclement weather. Callers also can transfer to operators to request assistance or report incidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More information is available at http://www.511ga.org.

*****************

If you want to know what is happening with GDOT, get in touch with Ms. Teri Pope. I have found her to always be friendly and helpful.

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World Fiber Technologies Builds a Network in the Statehouse

Recently I wrote an article on GDOT preferring to contract with local talent to build the HOT system on I-85 through Gwinnett County. To achieve good relations with state government officials and politicians, World Fiber Technologies has given campaign money to some members of the Georgia State Senate Transportation Committee.

Here is a roster of state senators and state senator candidates plus a house representative, who received campaign contributions from World Fiber Technologies as documented by the Georgia State Ethics Commission:

Cash Campaign Contributions by World Fiber Technologies
to State Representatives and Senators or the
Candidates There of

Candidates’ Oganizations and Names Contributor’s Name PAC Affiliation /
Occupation / Employer
Received /
Type /
Election
Cash
Amount
Jill Chambers for State House, Jill Chambers World Fiber Tech Inc
4070 Nine McFarland Dr
Alpharetta, GA 30004
  09/23/2010
Monetary
General
2010
$1,000.00
Comm. To Elect Jeff Mullis Ga. St. Sen.,
Jeff E. Mullis
World Fiber Tech Inc
4070 Nine McFarland Dr
Alpharetta, GA 30004
Business
07/13/2010
Monetary
General
2010
$1,000.00
Friends of Judson Hill,
Judson H. Hill
World Fiber Tech Inc
4070 Nine McFarland Dr
Alpharetta, GA 30004
  06/21/2010
Monetary
Primary
2010
$1,000.00
Belle Isle for Senate,
David C Belle Isle
World Fiber Tech Inc
4070 Nine McFarland Dr
Alpharetta, GA 30004
  06/07/2010
Monetary
Primary
2010
$1,000.00
Beach for Senate
Brandon L Beach, Brandon L. Beach
World Fiber Tech Inc
4070 Nine McFarland Dr
Alpharetta, GA 30004
 

08/03/2010
Monetary
Run-Off Primary
2010

$1,000.00

The Chairman of the State Senate Transportation Committee, Mr. Jeff Mullis has also received donations in total of $2500.00 from Pittman Construction over 4 years. Pittman specializes in highway construction. So if any major modifications are needed for use in tollway infra-structure then the synergy of World Fiber and Pittman would be an excellent to motivating the transportation committee in certain policy directions- more toll roads! Pittman has contributed cash to the campaigns of several other state level politicians too numerous to mention here. Mr. Brandon Beach and David Belle Isle were opponents in the Republican primary for the state senate seat to represent the district covering the Roswell/Alpharetta area, which happens to be the home of World Fiber Technologies. Apparently World Fiber changed horses when it appeared that Mr. Beach was the stronger candidate.

By the way, Judson Hill serves on the Georgia Transportation Committee in the State Senate. As for Jill Chambers, she serves in the House on Appropriations and as Chairman on MARTOC, the committee overseas MARTA’s operations. I point these people out so that you, the driver, will know who to blame or praise when your toll road fees are starting to bleed you dry. I am hoping alternatives to toll roads are thought out so that the state does not heavily rely on toll fees to fund the budget. Why has not the fuel tax been raised? I think a nickel more in fuel tax would be more effective than draining the public through road use fees. The temptation is just too great to privatize the road system, once road use fees become common.

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The End Game

Yes, I know my tone toward the state DOT is very hard and sharp, but I have seen and heard experiences of people in Indiana, Texas, and Illinois. This isn’t about the state of Georgia only collecting tolls off of drivers to fund road building programs. The end game is to sell off public assets to private interests. I know I will be accused of being acerbic and mean spirited, but I want you the public to keep state and regional highway and road authorities in check. And they are authorities. The members of the boards of these government entities cannot be voted out of office. Barring an enraged and hostile public they will be able to push through fire sale transfers of public assets to the private sector. Please read Jay Bookman’s commentary on the SRTA. He had stated, “In other words, SRTA is basically unaccountable to the people, and is designed to be. It may control public assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars, assets that generate many millions more in annual public revenue, but SRTA could — and did — take its vote without real regard to public input.”

In the South one is supposed to be gentile and polite, but when your toes get step on you have to yell out. I know the South has had its history with slavery, but we Southerners also have a history of fighting for freedom. If it had not been for the South in the American War for Independence, we would not be free from Great Britain today. The north all through the American Revolution was for the most part occupied by British troops. All those battles by General Washington in New Jersey and so forth were mainly holding actions and guarded retreats. The British were never able to occupy the South. It was Southern men, who ambushed and sniped at British troops. The final battle was at Yorktown, Virginia. With the alliance of Rochambeau and Washington, a feigned military movement fooled the British into thinking that American forces would seize New York City. It was the French Navy that kept British supply ships from entering Chesapeake Bay, thus starving the British fortress at Yorktown, but it was dedicated Southerners who kept hounding and harassing the British forces in all those years of war.

It is that same fighting spirit of the South that I ask to legally and civilly wage battle against foreign and transnational interests that would seize ownership of Georgia roads through an unaccountable government authority, the SRTA.

References:

http://blogs.ajc.com/jay-bookman-blog/2010/10/08/tolls-a-result-of-avoiding-the-real-issue/

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Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank

This is a remotely operated vehicle, an ROV, that operates in deepwater to photograph such things as huge sunken ships like the Titanic.

Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority is going to open a bank. Not just anybody will get a loan at this bank though, and given the ominous acronym of SRTA, you can probably hazard a guess what sort of projects this bank will approve. It will be called the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank or GTIB. An initial equity stake will be provided by the state of Georgia in the sum of $33.1 million. Another $10 million will be given to the bank for outright grants. The way banks work is that one can theoretically hypothecate $33.1 million dollars of equity by 10:1, 20:1, or 30:1. If the state of Georgia is not going to do that then why call the new leviathan on the scene a bank. I know my diction very well. If you call a thing by its name, it should be known to have the qualities of that name or why call it that? I received such counsel from the Red Queen of Wonderland.

The SRTA states, “The Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (GTIB) is a revolving infrastructure investment fund, much like a bank, provides loans with attractive terms to eligible state, regional, and local government entities to fund eligible transportation projects. The GTIB is also authorized to administer grant money for specific programs related to transportation.”

How can the SRTA say it is much like a bank when the word “bank” is in its very title? Pure knavery!

Of course why would state, regional and local governments need a bank established specifically for them? Aren’t there enough municipal bond writing companies headed up by former mayors of large cities? (Hello, Mr. Maynard Jackson. God bless you, sir.) Isn’t there JP Morgan who already does underwriting and marketing for the state of Georgia? Better the devil you know- not to disparage anyone in particular.

Well, let us consult SRTA again, “The GTIB is an exciting new funding resource for government entities whose eligible projects may be limited by traditional funding sources. Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 32-10-120 et seq., the GTIB operates under the authority of the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA).”

Holy sputum! Batman! It looks like GTIB is there to establish subprime lending to some dubious projects. When my lending is limited by traditional lending sources, it usually means I have to get a pay day loan or go to the pawn shop. Imagine GTIB with an enormous junk loan portfolio as underwater as the Marianas Trench. Someday the state will have to contract with Woodshole to get ROV’s(Remotely Operated Vehicles) to help the forensic accountants see what went wrong at such depths.

References:

http://www.georgiatolls.com/gtib/

Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn: A Saga of Race and Family, Author: Gary M. Pomerantz, Published 1996.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=deepwater-robot-sub

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