Does ESPLOST Passage Help Next Year’s TSPLOST?

Several counties last night passed SPLOSTs dedicated to education. After reading several comments in the election result open thread it made me wonder: do last night’s results in favor of ESPLOSTs indicate the public might be willing to vote for next year’s transportation SPLOST?

There are differences of course. Most, perhaps all of last night’s SPLOST votes were renewals. On other words it was not a “new” tax. The TSPLOST will be a new tax. On the other side of the coin, you could make the case that voters are willing to pay more if they see a return on their money, i.e. they’ll see the money being spent on new school buildings etc… The same could be said for the TSPLOST. Folks will see their money being spent in a visible way.

I think the sample size is too small. Too few people voted last night to draw any conclusions about next summer’s TSPLOST vote.

What do you think?

61 comments

  1. bowersville says:

    When the public discussions of TSPLOST began, I was under the impression that few would consider voting in favor of it. That belief was partially bolstered by the heated public discussion by the TEA Party opposing the change in the TSPLOST referendum date.

    Now it appears voters will at least listen. As for me, no new taxes. I can’t see it.

  2. TPNoGa says:

    Well, I voted in favor of the DeKalb ESPLOST for a couple reasons:

    1) The money being spent on capital expenses for schools. They did a nice job on Dunwoody High and now started much needed work on Chamblee High. Just like Buzz said, I can see results.

    2) I would rather people from other counties help pay via sales tax (thank you Perimeter Mall) than we pay all cost via property tax.

    3) Not a new tax, just extension of existing tax.

    I am undecided, leaning towards “No” on TSPLOST because I am not sold on the actual proposed or rumored projects.

    • Bridget says:

      TPNoGA – I used these three reasons almost verbatim when asked why I supported Cobb’s SPLOST a few months ago. I’m also a NO on TSPLOST.

      • GTKay says:

        TPNoGA and Bridget, the projects that the TSPLOST will fund are not a rumor. There is a completed, voted on and published list that you can look at – with maps and projected costs. Responsible voters have an obligation to do their research and check out what benefit their county will receive from the TSPLOST. If you still don’t like it, don’t vote for it. But know what you’re voting against. It’s just too important an issue.

        As to your three points:

        1)Each county in the region will see results from the projects built. The projects were submitted by local leaders who carefully submitted projects that were the most vital to their area. Each county and city will also receive an unconstrained amount that can be used on badly needed local projects .

        2) As this is a sales tax, every visitor (who traveled a road to get there) to every mall in the region (which is full of merchandise that came off a truck that traveled a road to get there) will help pay for the regional projects – whether they’re from the region or not. That’s actually a more direct user tax than having mall goers paying for schools.

        3)Yes, this is a new tax. But the current gas tax revenues are declining. We’re buying more fuel efficient cars so we’re buying less gas. That trend will continue, expecially with the mandate for greater fuel efficiency in the very near future. There has to be another means of funding transportation.

        So why not apply the same criteria to the TSPLOST?

        • 22bons says:

          Can you document that gas tax revenues are declining, and if so on what basis? Total revenue? Per passenger mile? Per capita? Thanks.

          If gas tax revenues are declining and we can’t pay for necessary infrastructure the obvious fixes are to first stop diverting gas tax revenues to other uses, stop diverting federal gas taxes from one state to another, and to set gas taxes at the level necessary to pay for and maintain necessary infrastructure.

        • TPNoGa says:

          I said I am undecided, leaning towards “no”. I will research before I decide. Heck, I was undecided on ESPLOST right to the moment I voted.

        • Dave Bearse says:

          “But the current gas tax revenues are declining. We’re buying more fuel efficient cars so we’re buying less gas. That trend will continue, expecially with the mandate for greater fuel efficiency in the very near future. There has to be another means of funding transportation.”

          Yeah, it’s called increasing the gas tax, but then why should road users pay for transportation when they can have general taxpayers provide them a subsidy.

        • Bridget says:

          GTKay,

          Feasibility studies have not been completed for the projects. The funds for the studies are IN the TSPLOST i.e. ‘You have to pass it to find out what’s in it.” That didn’t work out so well for me last time…

          Once a feasibility study is completed, it could be determined that the light rail projects aren’t, well, feasible. The money earmarked for the huge project would not be returned to the taxpayers – it will become a massive slush fund to be controlled by whomever sits at the top of the transportation food chain at that point.

          Honestly – that doesn’t bother you?

          • Rambler1414 says:

            Fact:
            There are no “feasibility studies” on the T-SPLOST project list.

            Fact:
            If any of the projects on the list end up NOT being able to be delivered in a 10-year period, or if the project county/city sponsors withdraw their support, that $ is distributed under the same formula that the 15% to local jurisdictions is applied. It doesn’t go to any kind of “slush fund” for the legislators or GDOT.

            • GTKay says:

              We don’t have to pass it to find out what’s in it. We know what’s in it. Go look at the list. The projects on the list are what will be built with the tax revenue. Either you like the list or you don’t, but it’s all out there for public review.

            • Bridget says:

              Rambler,

              I love facts and will openly consider any additional facts and references you either post here or email to me at [email protected]. I can admit that the article linked at the bottom of this comment is probably a little editorialized, but it says:

              “Johnson asserts that the “Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission is responsible for payments and ensuring that the revenue is being spent as authorized by the list.” This is true, but it misses the point. Nothing in the law prevents GDOT or other agencies from moving money from one project to another within a district, especially if any future study shows it is infeasible to build a particular project.”

              It also says :

              “The Transportation Investment Act was deliberately written to be vague and open to interpretation. The law is silent concerning enforcement by the state attorney general, the administrative law process and grand jury oversight. This is the real teeth of any enforcement of any law, not an appointed citizen oversight panel with virtually no legal authority. TIA as written has no enforcement provisions. The only way to make sure all promised projects will be built is if we as citizens litigate.”

              I asked Sam Olens about the legality of the a regional TSPLOST when it first popped up that counties were looking to sue if they were ‘taxed against their will.” He was very cordial, but as the attorney protecting the state there’s wasn’t a lot he could comment on. He’s a good guy (I wore the tshirt and campaigned for him), but with a very savvy Attorney General being a past ARC chair, I’d like to see a few less things left to interpretation.

              http://clayton-neighbor.live2.communityq.com/stories/TSPLOST-Transportation-Tax-Dangerous-for-Taxpayers,177167?content_source=&category_id=29&search_filter=&event_mode=&event_ts_from=&list_type=&order_by=&order_sort=&content_class=&sub_type=&town_id=&page=2

      • 1. Except the SPLOST in Cobb this past March didn’t fund schools. It funded skateboard parks and soccer fields among other projects. Recreation. Parents don’t want to pay for their kids to play soccer or lacrosse? No problem, let’s just ask the entire county to chip in. (Nevermind that nobody in my household plays soccer or lacrosse.)

        2. The lower the sales tax in Cobb, the more likely people are to shop in Cobb to realize a savings when spending. When there’s a 1% savings in sales tax, a few people may be more willing to shop here. When there’s a 2% savings in sales tax, I would imagine even more people would make an effort to shop here.

        3. Yep, it’s an extension of an existing tax, but that doesn’t make it right. We could have extended the blue law that banned Sunday alcohol sales as well. Thankfully times change. SPLOST wasn’t designed to be continued forever. If that’s the case and the county has pretty much come to rely on it, why not call it what it is… a LOST?

  3. Mike Stucka says:

    There was at least one government SPLOSTs as well. Bibb County’s won a majority in every single precinct, and netted nearly a 3:1 margin.

  4. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    “I think the sample size is too small. Too few people voted last night to draw any conclusions about next summer’s TSPLOST vote…..What do you think?”

    Well, I do know that all of the commuters and taxpayers in Gwinnett who were supposedly so disgruntled over the government scandals and the bumpy (to say the least) start-up of the HOT lanes on I-85 didn’t quite materialize to take out their frustrations at the polls on the E-SPLOST.

    I don’t know what happened? Maybe they were stuck in traffic, or maybe they weren’t aware that an election was going on yesterday or maybe aliens appeared and abducted the anti-tax opposition for one day or whatever, who knows?

    All I know is that since no meaningful opposition to the E-SPLOST materialized is that the anti-tax people were blowing a bunch of HOT air (Tea Partiers, anti-HOT lanes people) and we’re seemingly stuck with those [darned] HOT lanes forever.

    If the anti-tax people can’t organize to show up to vote against a referendum with as historically as small of a turnout as the E-SPLOST (or at-least even give the E-SPLOST a run for its money) then how-in-the-heck are they going to turnout in any meaningful numbers to take down the monster, the SPLOST of all SPLOSTs (T-SPLOST) next year?

    I guess this means that I’ve got no choice but to join my dearest and bestest friends over at SRTA, GDOT and ARC to go on a world tour across to promote the HOT lane concept and the T-SPLOST referendum in every nook-and-cranny across North Georgia.

    “Does ESPLOST Passage Help Next Year’s TSPLOST?”

    Not necessarily, but it sure as heck doesn’t hurt like it would have if these numerous E-SPLOSTs would have failed.

    If anything, passage of the numerous E-SPLOSTs yesterday demonstrated to supporters and backers of next year’s T-SPLOST that the opposition to the tax may not be even remotely anywhere near as organized as they’ve repeatedly made themselves out to be.

    Dare I say that next year’s T-SPLOST will be like “taking candy from a baby” for supporters and backers of the tax?

  5. Low turnouts always favor SPLOSTS of any kind. Thats why many are held in the middle of the summer like the one that passed in Richmond County a few years back. 7% turn out on this single issue, I believe.

  6. I’m not sure I see that there’s much of a correlation that can be drawn at the moment. As you said, continuing a tax vs a new tax as well as each of these being two totally separate issues – transportation / education. People that may be willing to spend an extra 1% for schools that will stay local in their county may not be willing to pay an extra 1% for a regional tax that may not necessarily benefit their county very much if at all.

    Even after Cobb passed the continuation of it’s SPLOST this past March, property taxes went up anyways. If my property taxes and sales taxes and various other forms of taxes are just going to continue going up, what is the benefit to not start doing more of my shopping “off the grid”? (Craigslist, eBay, Amazon, garage sales, etc.) Of course there are always going to be certain things I can’t find online or through these other markets, but the more the county continues the higher taxation levels and spending of funds on projects I disagree with (soccer fields, skateboard parks, subsidizing CCT operations, etc.) the more I’m more likely to seek out these alternative markets.

  7. rense says:

    Apples and oranges. For one thing, schools versus transportation (especially rail). Folks tend to like and support their own community schools, its THOSE OTHER SCHOOLS OVER THERE that are causing all the problems. (Sort of like how everyone hates Congress but loves their own representative.) Also, pretty much everyone acknowledges a local benefit to schools … even if you don’t send your kid to the local school, your neighbors/friends/relatives do. But seeing/admitting the benefit to transportation (especially rail) projects is different, especially if you have no interest in riding on the roads (or trains/buses) regularly.

    Also, there is the local versus regional thing. Taxes being collected in Cobb and Gwinnett to pay for things in Fulton and DeKalb (MARTA, Beltline) … as a matter of fact if I recall a public dustup between county mayors, folks in North Fulton are even reticent about funding projects in South Fulton.

    As far as the TEA Party thing goes … this continues the disconnect that has already long been noticed and commented on. For TEA Partiers (and conservatives in general) big government and unnecessary taxes are defined by things that they don’t support and things that do not benefit them. Being willing to pay for their own services and things that generally help their communities, but sending that revenue elsewhere is “redistribution of wealth.” Basically, a consumerism view of government, particularly popular with the “run government like a business” crowd where you have the privilege of only “buying” what you want with your tax dollars

    The challenge for those who disagree with the TEA Party is to try to articulate where the line between “providing for the common interest/the common welfare” ends, where government for government’s sake/redistribution of wealth/social engineering begins, and placing yourself firmly into the common interest/welfare camp. Of course, a very good way to promote yourself as a common interest/welfare person as opposed to a big government/redistribution/social and economic justice type is to acknowledge that everyone has to pay income taxes. If there is going to be a common interest and welfare, there is also going to have to be a shared sacrifice and responsibility, including by the poor. (And the upper classes can reciprocate by enlisting their kids in the military, especially during adventures like Iraq and Afghanistan.)

  8. troutbum70 says:

    I voted no for the E-SPLOST yesterday here in Gwinett and with good reason. The Gwinnett Board of Education is teetering on the cliff when it comes to responsible spending. It’s time for a wholesale change with the Board. Buzz along with the rest of the delegation in Gwinnett need to change the rules for allowing construction for schools here in the county. Right now, schools can only be built to accommodate the current population and not a 3-5 year projection. So instead of having a few empty classrooms that can also be treated as temporary storage, we wind up with “Trailer Villages” at our schools. So we could save money by building schools padded with a few extra classrooms or wings ready to be developed but it’s against the law. Did you know that as recently as 5 years ago, a student at Dacula Middle School could spend their entire 3 years in a trailer without ever having a class in the actual building. And how about that 49 acres off of Old Peachtree Road? Amazing stuff to buy it for a new HQ, decide to sell it to an investor group and have that investor group lease it back to the Gwinnett BoE at a far greater expense. And here’s the real kicker, the county plans on buying it back in 2013 with final rental expenses being around $26 million. Don’t even get me started on the land deals and the money they spent on those “evil charter school” people. Heaven forbid a concerned parent find a better route for educating their kid.

    It’s amazing how quiet the Tea Party people were on this. You could have heard crickets chirping with their drive to end this tax. What we didn’t have out here in Gwinnett was an organized effort to really repeal this. Hopefully that won’t be the case next time around.

    As for the T-Splost, I plan on voting no on that as well. And no, last night was not an indication of T-Splost turnout for next year.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      Another shady land deal in Gwinnett…NO WAY! I am totally SHOCKED!!!!

      I completely agree that schools should be built to accommodate a 3-5 year projection, but that might totally negate the need for shady land deals and as we all know, Gwinnett is nothing without its ever so constant and continuing string of dependable shady land deals. (Hey, swampland isn’t just going to sell itself, you know?)

      “It’s amazing how quiet the Tea Party people were on this. You could have heard crickets chirping with their drive to end this tax.”

      Tell me about it…

      “What we didn’t have out here in Gwinnett was an organized effort to really repeal this. Hopefully that won’t be the case next time around.”

      (Yet again) THIS was supposed to be the “next time around”…If meaningful opposition to the E-SPLOST can’t materialize in this wretched economic environment when people are so supposedly fed up with wasteful government spending and unethical government practices, then WHEN can it ever materialize? But, as usual, there’s ALWAYS “next time”…

      Though I still maintain that the reason why the E-SPLOST passed so handily was because UFO’s appeared early yesterday and abducted all of the anti-tax opposition before the polls opened (Hey, they couldn’t help it). Sure the Tea Partiers and the anti-tax people may remain missing for a while, but I have every confidence that they will reappear early next year at around the time that the Georgia General Assembly reconvenes and will be somewhat highly visible at times for the duration of the legislative session, only to likely disappear yet again just in time for the vote on the T-SPLOST next year.

  9. SmyrnaModerate says:

    Just to take the opposite point of view for the fun of it, the easy passage of EPLOST means that the TSPLOST will have an even EASIER time of passing, why?

    Simple, not everyone has kids but everyone has to drive from point A to point B. Personally, I don’t have children and might have the opinion that I shouldn’t have to pay a penny for schools I or my family don’t use. Sure, in the back of my mind, I know the overall quality of schools affects property values, etc but that’s still an abstract concept whereas burning up gas on the Perimeter or sitting on Cobb Parkway is a very real thing to me.

    Not surprisingly, the finished list has something on it for everyone. Every voter from Cherokee to Henry, Douglas to Rockdale has a project on that list that they can look at and say “this will make my commute better.” They aren’t going to care about anything else on the list. Even those folks down in “leave us out of it” Fayette, when push comes to shove, are going to think paying a few pennies a day to make the GA-74 interchange on I-85 better and get them home to Peachtree City faster is a good deal.

    Not sure, how much of what I wrote I believe yet, but its an interesting theory…

    • Well, let’s take me for an example. I live in Powder Springs, 14 miles from my office in Smyrna. I don’t get on an interstate. It typically takes me 25 to 30 minutes to commute to work. Can you name one project that will make my commute better? Just one? I’d be interested in hearing it if so, because I certainly can’t find one.

      There’s also the point that Calypso raises. I understand I’m not your ordinary spender. Our food bill every month is rather high because we choose to eat out more than we should. We also have grain, stall shavings, wormers and supplements to buy for the horses. We’re also renovating the farm that we purchased as a foreclosure just over a year ago, so Home Depot is really loving me right now. But I look at the amount I’m spending on a monthly basis for the various things we buy and one percent of what we’re spending is at least a dollar per day per 1% in sales tax at a bare minimum. Why should more money come out of my pocket to help fund additional HOT lanes and public transit that I’ll probably very rarely use?

      • benevolus says:

        I would just say that you would have to move even further away from a populated area if you want to exempt yourself from paying for things you don’t personally and directly benefit from.
        I think most of us realize that we share this community and sometimes we get something we can use and sometimes our neighbor gets something.

          • benevolus says:

            I suspect that you have benefited from some tax or another that I paid into and got nothing back directly.

            • Since tax monies are pooled before being spent, your statement of course would be true – but that doesn’t make it morally right. It is true for anyone who pays taxes because of the methods by which taxes are collected and spent. But do you also suspect that I receive more back in terms of services than I spend on taxes or is it perhaps the other way around? Is it benevolent for the government to take from person A to give to person B? That’s not what I call charity. I prefer to dictate where the percentage of my budget allocated to charitable giving goes. It sounds like you’d rather the government dictate where that portion of my budget goes.

              • benevolus says:

                You chose to live in this “community”. When you did, you implicitly agreed that there were some things that we would do to benefit the overall community, not just you.

                • You like that word “community” don’t you? Sounds a lot like another word… communism. Sorry, I was thinking the United States wasn’t a communist country. Did I somehow end up in The Communist States Of America by accident?

                  Assuming you’re right for a second, if I agreed to pay for soccer fields for others, then perhaps others should pay for my hobbies as well, right? Am I just not participating in a hobby on the approved list? Could you please post the list of approved hobbies that the “community” will pay for on my behalf so I could choose another hobby that is more acceptable to you? (/sarcasm)

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        “Why should more money come out of my pocket to help fund additional HOT lanes and public transit that I’ll probably very rarely use?”

        Since you’ll very rarely, if ever, be using the state’s most recent fabled transportation creation, HOT lanes, I’ll just have to assume that you don’t own a Lexus or some other fine luxury vehicle believed to be commonly possessed by the tolled carpool lanes’ target demographic.

        And speaking of public transit that you’ll likely very rarely use (not MARTA), before I had asked you if you would use a commuter train to go the airport if one existed that ran from out that way, and you responded “no”.

        After that I got the idea that not only should Hwy 6/Thornton Rd/Camp Creek Parkway be upgraded to an expressway (with tolls to get it built faster) that runs straight into the airport from that direction (I-20 west and West Metro Atlanta), but also that all future commuter rail lines running into the city from the Northside (including the commuter rail lines proposed to run out that way between Rome and Atlanta and Bremen and Atlanta on the Norfolk Southern rail lines) should end at the Atlanta Airport so that the rail service can be utilized by airline passengers and airport employees, seeing as though the airport is one of the largest employment centers in the entire state and one of the largest transportation hubs on the continent (and on the planet).

        I don’t know if you, yourself, would use a commuter train that ended at the airport, but I do know a lot of people that would utilize that service if it existed and was well kept.

        Hey, I can’t help it, I’m a maximum infrastructure investment guy.

        • “Since you’ll very rarely, if ever, be using the state’s most recent fabled transportation creation, HOT lanes, I’ll just have to assume that you don’t own a Lexus or some other fine luxury vehicle believed to be commonly possessed by the tolled carpool lanes’ target demographic.”

          No, I sold the Lexus when they wanted $250 for a replacement key and another $250 to program it. I’ve since realized that cars are horrible investments and drive a little beater Ford Probe to commute back and forth to work. Owning a particular vehicle has absolutely nothing to do with what route I take to work though. I’m not going 10 miles out of my way just so I can hop on the interstate with a bunch of other people when I have a more direct route along highway 278.

          As for tolling Hwy 6 / Thornton Rd / Camp Creek Parkway, if you can get it done, go for it! I have absolutely no problem with that idea at all. Like I’ve said all along, I have no problem with the idea of paying for what I use. I’d just also like the option to not pay for what I don’t use. (Which apparently benevolus takes issue with.)

      • SmyrnaModerate says:

        Yes I can think of 2 without looking at the list. The improvements to GA-6 along with the 285/20 interchange rebuild on the west side may convince many folks in west Cobb and Paulding county whose ultimate destination is downtown to use that route instead of taking east-west surface streets to 75 or to the perimeter thereby getting them out of your way

      • Rambler1414 says:

        Do you own a business?
        Could one of those projects make it easier for potential customers to reach you?

  10. debbie0040 says:

    Atlanta Tea Party took no position on the E-SPLOSTS other than encouraging activists to educate themselves on their local SPLOST and vote.

    The Atlanta T-SPLOST is vastly different. It is an expansion of mass transit and it is a Mass Transit tax. Tea Parties have joined forces with Fair Tax groups and other tax payer advocate groups to defeat T-SPLOST. Elected officials that threaten to raise property taxes if T-SPLOST does not pass will be risking their political careers and voters are far too smart to buy that-especially once they are educated on the issue……MARTA was voted down one time in the metro counties and it will be again.

    The pro T-SPLOST / pro Mass Transit crowd are trying to hold commuters hostage by virtually saying that if you want your roadways expanded and improved then you have to also vote to expand and bailout MARTA and mass transit. I am sure that will really go over well with voters in the ‘burbs… Eleected officials that actively campaign on behalf of the Metro T-SPLOST are inviting primary opposition..

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      Yesterday, during like the ELECTION would have been a really good time to send a really loud message to the powers-that-be about the upcoming T-SPLOST by providing some stiffer opposition, or at the very least, SOME opposition, to the E-SPLOSTs that were on the ballot, many of which have become personal slush funds for special interest groups and insiders in some way, shape or form.

      Since opposition to the E-SPLOSTs on the ballot yesterday were virtually nowhere to be found in meaningful numbers, the backers of the T-SPLOST are going to be ever more emboldened in their push for the tax.

      But Occupy (insert city here) did sit-in at a foreclosed home in Snellville yesterday and has plans to do something (they don’t know yet and may not ever know) about the I-85 Lexus Lanes.

      Occupy (insert city here) is taking away the TEA Party’s thunder and their wearing their Sunday’s best dirty atheist, marxist clothing with images of Lenin and Che Guevara while doing it.

      Where’s the TEA Party at in all of this? Why are they seemingly sitting idly by and letting taxes continue to go through the roof while a bunch of dirty, smelly (and disgusting) hippies take advantage of these very challenging economic times and use them to openly recruit for the Communist Party and the marxist philosophy?

      • debbie0040 says:

        Stay tuned until January and you find out what we have been doing while you think we are “no where”…. The best way to defeat an adversary is for them not to see you coming until it is too late..

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          Don’t wait until it is TOO LATE as the proponents of the T-SPLOST appear to have picked up lots of momentum and CONFIDENCE after the virtually ALL of the E-SPLOSTs up for renewal passed overwhelmingly yesterday with seemingly little, if any, meaningful opposition.

    • Engineer says:

      I’m starting to feel like a broken record with this but….

      Debbie your entire argument is based on an Atlanta-only mindset, you need to look outside the Atlanta Metro area and at the rest of Georgia (You guys seem to forget that there is such a place). The T-SPLOST is a whole other issue here in South Georgia. For decades we have watched our roads crack and split, while the metro-Atlanta area sat there and took up the vast majority of the transportation budget. It hasn’t been until the past few years where the GA DoT was finally forced to actually evenly split things by region. I’ve spoken with planners in several towns/cities in South Georgia and a common theme comes up when discussing bringing in jobs. That one thing is the lack of adequate access to transportation (esp. manufacturing jobs).

      Mass transit may be your issue, but for us, the issue is fixing the roads we have and/or improving them. I know of a couple US highways in South Georgia where the highway will literally go from 4-lane to 2-lane and back to 4-lane once you pass the county lines, all because of lack of funds. These bottleneck counties end up hurting the region as a whole.

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        Engineer, I get your point.

        But the irony is that most people in Metro Atlanta and North Georgia are just absolutely convinced that the majority of transportation funding is going to build four-lane roads to nowhere in South Georgia.

        Could the issue just simply be that this state has an incompetent and inadequate Department of Transportation (and now State Road and Tollway Authority) running the show at the behest of a loopy (and at times totally warped) legislature?

      • Dave Bearse says:

        “For decades we have watched our [south Georgia] roads crack and split, while the metro-Atlanta area sat there and took up the vast majority of the transportation budget. ”

        I’m glad you’re an Engineer and not an accountant.

        “It hasn’t been until the past few years where the GA DoT was finally forced to actually evenly split things by region.”

        A few years? I think balancing was enacted sometime last century.

        • Engineer says:

          I do work quite often with engineers, but I’m no engineer. As I’ve mentioned in the past, my screen name is referring to a character/class from a game (Team Fortress 2). I’m not going to go look through all the records for dollar by dollar amounts, because truth be told I was being general in reference to the disproportionate number of projects around the state. If you want to, go for it. but I will say this, if you go to the GA DoT site, take a look at major projects in the works. All but 2 are projects in the Atlanta Metro area/North Georgia area and the other two are for a bridge in Albany and to 4-lane GA 133 between Albany and Valdosta (oh well, maybe some day in the future, they will finally 4-lane that remaining stretch of Highway 84 between Homerville and Waycross).

          http://www.dot.state.ga.us/informationcenter/activeprojects/Pages/default.aspx

          In regards to your second point, I was referring to the reorganization in 2009 under Purdue where the regional commissions finally got some pull.

    • SmyrnaModerate says:

      I’m legitimately curious, does your organization have an alternate plan to fund transportation needs or is it your position we simply don’t need them? Also, where in the plan again do any of MARTA’s rail lines breach into a county other than Fulton or DeKalb? And one last thing, no where in the final list are any funds designated for MARTA for expanded bus service that I can see (I did a quick skim again before posting this, please tell me if I am wrong on this) or to simply go to MARTA as a “bailout”, can you please clarify how MARTA will be bailed out if the T-SPLOST passes?

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        “I’m legitimately curious, does your organization have an alternate plan to fund transportation needs or is it your position we simply don’t need them?”

        From what I’ve consistently heard in the past, they’ve stated that the T-SPLOST list should be made up mostly of road improvements (about 75% towards roads is the number I think they’ve sighted if my memory serves me right).

        I actually agree with this position as I think that the T-SPLOST should be made up of between 75-100% of roads, but while being packaged with a plan to take the 1% of the fuel tax not constitutionally-mandated to go towards roads that currently goes into the general fund and divert it to become a dedicated funding stream for mass transit.

        I think that they’ve also taken the position that investing in transit with tax revenues is a waste of funds because transit is not nearly as likely to be utilized by the public at-large as the road network.

        I don’t necessarily completely agree with that position. I agree that the T-SPLOST list should probably focus more on the many numerous critically-needed road improvements, but I disagree that mass transit is not worth investing in because it will not be heavily-utilized.

        The population of the Atlanta Region has more than doubled in the last 20 years from 2.9 million in 1990 to 5.8 million today and with the freeway network pretty much built-out in most places with little, if any, space to add lanes and increase capacity.

        Since the freeways are nearing or are effectively at the point where they cannot be widened much more and most motorists who sit in the massive traffic jams on the freeways on a daily basis are very much aware of this and would jump at the opportunity to have another option other than to sit in those massive traffic jams on a daily basis by using a VIABLE mass transit option (commuter bus, commuter rail, etc) if it existed in an abundance in the Atlanta Region like it exists in other very large cities of five million or more people.

        • Dave Bearse says:

          “I actually agree with this position as I think that the T-SPLOST should be made up of between 75-100% of roads, but while being packaged with a plan to take the 1% of the fuel tax not constitutionally-mandated to go towards roads that currently goes into the general fund and divert it to become a dedicated funding stream for mass transit.”

          This is backwards. Gas tax for roads, sales tax for transit (even if a fractional cent).

          • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

            I don’t necessarily completely disagree with you, but the concept of paying a sales tax, new or otherwise, to fund transit doesn’t necessarily play all that well outside of Fulton and DeKalb Counties. Although OTP commuters stuck sitting in parked rush hour traffic on freeways and major surface roads are quickly starting to warm up to the idea of rail transit (especially, commuter rail) as they realize that the freeway system is effectively built-out.

            Despite the exceptionally crowded roads and mammoth traffic jams, OTP voters still seem prone to vote for a tax that is geared mostly towards roads than transit, especially anything having to do remotely with MARTA.

    • Rambler1414 says:

      Will the Atlanta Tea Party support a raise in the gas tax to relieve congestion, as an alternative to this “Mass Transit Tax” ?

  11. John Konop says:

    Debbie

    Did you support the local Tea Party? Ironically Conrad Quagliaroli as part of the board of the Cherokee GOP campaigned and supported candidates that voted for No Child Left Behind which created the increase in administrative staff in schools. In fact when I ran for office he was very critical about how I was not a “loyal party member” for pointing out the problems with No Child Left Behind, especially how it was drowning local budgets with administrative cost. And now after Conrad supported pushing an unfunded mandate, NCLB down the throat of the local schools, he now wants to cut-off funds. It seems rather……………………

    ……Local TEA Party activists aren’t convinced there’s a need for a renewal.

    Conrad Quagliaroli, chairman of the Cherokee TEA Party Patriots in Woodstock, said the school district should instead trim the fat out of its budget and reduce its central office personnel in exchange for hiring new teachers.

    As a “conservative,” Quagliaroli said his belief about fat being in the district’s budget is based upon his belief that there’s fat in all forms of government spending.

    He also questioned the need for building new schools, namely a new Booth Middle School, rather than just making needed repairs, additions or renovations.

    County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo rebuked Quagliaroli’s assertions. The district’s $527 million budget approved in July includes $105.5 million in cuts.

    The budget calls for no layoffs and maintains similar class sizes in line with the 2010-11 school year and in accordance with state guidelines.

    Read more: Cherokee Tribune – PAC getting word out on education SPLOST If voters approve extending tax projects include replacing schools tech upgrades…..

    http://cherokeetribune.com/view/full_story/14975091/article-PAC-getting-word-out-on-education-SPLOST–If-voters-approve-extending-tax–projects-include-replacing-schools–tech-upgrades-?instance=home_viewed

    • saltycracker says:

      The Cherokee Tea Party will oppose the T-SPLOST and has opposed the E-SPLOST which is their business but they go over the top calling the voter approved $90 million park bonds a Washington type “tax and spend” blank check and they go against their core stated principals when its leaders opposed allowing a public vote on Sunday Sales (they stated they were neutral while the leaders utilized e-mail lists and spoke (as individuals of course) to the BOC with members in tow).

      They are now asking the county to form a citizens committee led by Tea Party activists to advise the county on how to spend/save money. (See Cherokee Ledger Nov. 2, opinion letter “Cherokee needs a Plan “B” [E-SPLOST] signed by 4 tea party leaders and also this week’s letter:(http://www.ledgernews.com/opinion/1075-november-9-2011/4184-stop-the-spending)

      While many, including myself, agree with a lot of Tea Party positions, some of their groups tread too far attempting to unilaterally dictate what is good for us.

      Any group, right or left, that proposes to usurp the duties of the elected BOC & School Board with their own ideology cannot stand. If the county or school board wants an advisory committee it can do so as it has with past committees with each commissioner choosing members and the county providing oversight.

      The County needs to stay at arms length from these type of demands.

  12. Jane says:

    The lack of opposition to the SPLOST votes shows the weakness of the anti-tax groups in Georgia. The Tea Party was silent, the Libertarians were silent and the Ron Paul folks were silent.

    • Or perhaps the particular SPLOST votes that were on the ballot were actually worthwhile or not in the areas that some of the more active libertarians live? I, for instance, didn’t fight against any SPLOST that was voted on yesterday because I live in Cobb… there was no county wide election yesterday, so I simply went about my normal day and hoped the municipal elections close to where I live would pass Sunday alcohol sales.

      I haven’t decided how active I’m going to be against the T-SPLOST yet. Most likely I’ve got a few too many other things on my plate to bother with campaigning against it like I did with the Cobb SPLOST. I’ll put signs in my yard and do some campaigning online, but I’m also involved in trying to legalize backyard chickens in Cobb county on parcels of less than 2 acres at the moment. I only have so much time in a day, and really have no desire to spend 100% of my free time fighting taxes, nor should I have to. Perhaps at some point we’ll elect people who aren’t such tax tax tax advocates. In the mean time, I’ll just continue to up my tax avoidance measures and buy from Craigslist, Amazon and other sources.

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