11Alive News Survey: Georgia Voters Support Transportation Sales Tax

There’s a rule of thumb that says if there is no organized opposition to a local tax or project then it will pass. If there is any organized opposition to Georgia’s one percent regional transportation sales tax, then I’m unaware of it and so are those polled.

While not a surprise that a majority approve, the margin was impressive.

English: Great Seal of the State of Georgia
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The poll of 1176 registered Georgia voters was an 11Alive News Survey that showed approval across the state with the exception of the area defined as North / West Georgia, where the survey shows a 47/47 tie with six percent undecided.

This region may have been influenced by the self-identified party breakdown among voters. While Democrats favored the poll by a wide margin 70/24 with six percent undecided, Republicans opposed it 41/53 with, again, six percent undecided.

I do not have the tabs on the poll or the margin of error, but it appears to me that this is a significant margin. Overall, those polled favored passage of the tax by a 55/38 margin with seven percent undecided.

Somewhat surprisingly to me was that the highest level of approval was for the region listed as South / East Georgia where the margin was 60/35 with (you guessed it) six percent undecided. Who are these six percent anyway? This was slightly higher than the Metro region though the margin was one percent less.

So, will the transportation tax pass? Do Georgia voters understand what they will and will not get from passage or do they see it as a panacea for all that ails Georgia’s transportation ills. If so, will there be a backlash when they learn that there is a projects list already in existence? Discuss among yourselves and try to make it interesting, the legislature might be reading.

More details of the survey results on the 11Alive site.

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17 comments

      • griftdrift says:

        Sure, I’ll explain. (And I have too much gray in my beard to be considered a hipster at this point)

        From a 30,000 foot level, I support it. There is no doubt in my mind we need a massive transportation overhaul in the Atlanta region and this is the only way to fund it. In Southwest Georgia, we need to continue projects like the expansion of the Hwy 133 corridor.

        But down on the ground, I am very bothered by the fact that Fulton and Dekalb will be double dipped (TSPLOST + Marta tax) and STILL people like Debbie from Dacula will scream about redistributed tax revenue. No matter how a Dekalb/Fulton voter votes, they can’t win.

        Finally, the legislature passed the buck big time. They’ve had a decade to put forth something major. When the rubber met the road, they mewled around it for two sessions and ultimately came to a solution that washed their hands politically. There should be repercussions for that type of cowardice.

        So ultimately I have to decide is the needs of the region outweigh my concerns.

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          “When the rubber met the road, they mewled around it for two sessions and ultimately came to a solution that washed their hands politically. There should be repercussions for that type of cowardice.”

          There are repercussions for that type of cowardice. Those repercussions are called “re-election” as the Republicans who dominate the General Assembly can’t be accused of directly supporting a tax increase by opponents in a GOP primary where the ideological purity of low taxes and smaller government is sacrosanct and tax increases of any kind are a total anathema.

          • griftdrift says:

            That’s fine, Mr. “Democrat”. but in the meantime, we have an election. You really want to wait another whole election cycle? With no guarantee that it will be resolved?

            I do not wash them clean of the blame, and yes, they should suffer politically (only the incompetence of the real Democrats has kept this from being an election issue), but we have to deal with the here and now also.

            • Calypso says:

              I don’t want to speak for LDIG, but I think you misunderstand his comment. I took it to mean the *repercussion* they will experience is to be re-elected since they can feign they had no participation in any sort of tax hike.

              LDIG, help us out here.

              • griftdrift says:

                I understand that. But our politics and more importantly our governance needs to be more than just retribution. Yes they took the cowards way. Yes they should pay (although I doubt they will). But right now I’m more interested in playing the hand we’ve been dealt.

              • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

                Sorry for the delay, but you’re correct. By persuading voters to vote themselves a tax increase instead of directly voting for the tax increase themselves, like Calypso stated, legislators can avoid being accused raising taxes in a GOP primary by a more ideologically pure opponent.

                In a Republican-controlled state with a very vocal and active anti-tax and anti-government Tea Party and Libertarian contingent, this was likely to be the only way politically that any type of tax increase for transportation (and the accompanying required slush fund for politicians and their cronies, of course) was to ever come into fruition.

                By pushing the issue on voters to decide, the legislature can neither be accused of directly voting for tax increases by the GOP base (Legislature: “What’s more Democratic than letting the voters decide to raise their own taxes?”) or take the direct blame from the public for continued and worsening transportation infrastructure blight if the tax increase referendum fails (Legislature: “What more could we do about transportation after people voted not to raise their own taxes?”).

  1. Engineer says:

    This poll only backs up what I’ve been saying about us in South Georgia and T-SPLOST. Folks have felt neglected by the big-wigs in Atlanta for decades and many see it as an easy way to make sure our money stays in the area it came from.

  2. If they will stop talking about the project list, and start talking about transportation and economic growth, they may have a chance of passing this thing in the metro Atlanta region. Also, I wouldn’t mind if a DeKalb or Fulton legislator tinkered with a sentence or two and designated that MARTA penny to the Regional T-SPLOST.

    • Cassandra says:

      I believe TSPLOST would pass overwhelmingly in FULCO/DeKalb if those residents have a net-zero tax increase by voting YES. The best part of the whole TSPLOST imbroglio is that 30 or so metro ‘fiefdoms’ have actually sat together in the same room, at the same time. Historic and paramount for regional solutions.

      As it stands, the cabal of of pro-TSPLOST voters may outnumber those against (TP+active FULCO/DeKalb voters) in a special summer vote. Engineers, urban planners, REALTORS, developers, RE finance, road constructors, et.al. and the banking establishment are presumably FOR TSPLOST, and are reliable voters.

      In development driven ATL region, that is a lot of voters on a summer day.

      I also believe that the next Session will address making MARTA funding adjustments along the lines of Mike’s reply. MARTA needs to be funded differently. Perhaps the MARTA penny can be applied toward TSPLOST and the State can do what every other US State does, support public transportation for it’s economic engine.

      For all the heat the General Assembly may take on a regional tax approach, this method addresses valid concerns among rural Georgians and the needs of a traffic choked metro.

      • gt7348b says:

        They likely will leave the MARTA penny alone because it is used to back millions of dollars in bonds. Trying to redistribute it to someplace other than MARTA would likely result in years of lawsuits.

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