We’ve known for months that the TEA Party (via the largest Georgia group with that name, the TEA Party Patriots) will oppose the Metro Atlanta T-SPLOST and it’s 17% increase on sales taxes received. One of their main issues is that they see this as a transit tax.
Now via Jim Galloway we have the official statement from the Sierra Club. They’re going to oppose the tax because it doesn’t have enough transit.
While much discussion has focused on the transit component of the project list, the T-SPLOST is first and foremost a road building initiative. Claims by pro-transit supporters that 52 percent of revenues would go to transit do not account for the 15 percent local set-aside, which is expected to go primarily to roads; the final total for transit would be closer to 40 percent. Given that existing transportation funding already overwhelmingly favors roads, passage of the T-SPLOST would only further entrench that divide.
Even the transit expansion projects that Sierra Club supports in concept, including the Northwest corridor, are vaguely defined and underfunded. Other transit projects, like the continuation of GRTA bus service, reward the state for not coming to the table to continue commuter bus service, instead electing to rely on the region step in and assume responsibility.
To some, this may appear to be a huge problem for passage of the T-SPLOST, as there are now two groups with both grassroots activists and nominal money to counter the multi-million dollar PR campaign being waged by those who favor the massive tax increase. Yet in the new opposition one can now see the roots of a new message emerging from the pro T-SPLOST advocates -and those roots are blond.
Consider it a Goldilocks campaign. With the Sierra club saying there’s not enough transit and the TEA Party saying there’s too much, expect those supporting the measure to claim it’s just right. Now eat your porridge.