TSPLOST Open Thread

Social Media is going nuts with TSPLOST posts today. Instead of having a wall of individual posts, you can drop the links here.

It’s sex appeal. It’s shame. It’s TSPLOST??  Sounds like an ex waiting to happen 😉

Geez, I’m glad they didn’t over sensationalize.  The next time they say “people are panicking for no reason” look down at your own podium, gentlemen.

P.s. we’re running lean this week. I’m posting this from my iPad on a plane. Please keep it nice in the comment section.

Bridg

74 comments

  1. TheEiger says:

    Couple of questions for those folks that support the TSPLOST.

    1 – should someone who made the conscious decision to live closer to work in midtown pay so that people like me who live in the suburbs can get to work faster?

    2 – why are we spending money on things that the vast majority of people don’t want. Bus from Acworth to downtown and a street car.

    3 – why should people in Fulton and Dekalb pay one penny more? They are already paying that for the success that is MARTA.

    • Engineer says:

      Oh hey, 3 T-SPLOST questions, and they all have to do with the Atlanta metro area. Color me surprised.

      • TheEiger says:

        That would be because the metro-Atlanta area is one of twelve regions voting separately on the tax. I live in the Atlanta area so the projects on that list are of interest to me. Hence, the three Atlanta questions. If I lived in Macon or Augusta I would ask questions about those regions. But good try at answering my three questions. You get an A for effort.

          • Calypso says:

            What does it matter, you guys in the boonies are just going to waste your TSPLOST money paving cow paths anyway. 😉

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        You mean there’s actually more to Georgia than just Metro Atlanta? 🙂

    • John Konop says:

      The Eiger

      I am not a major supporter of T-Splost. But your questions in all due respect demonstrate a rather short few of infrastructure investment. If Birmingham had landed Delta years ago you realize we would be them and they would be the size of metro Atlanta. A major cornerstone of growth for our country and the world has been strong infrastructure ie railroad, highway system, electronic grid…… If Atlanta does not keep up with needed infrastructure, business will elect to move to places like NC that we compete with. Believe it or not the harbor in Savannah form I-75, I-20, metro airport, trains, buses………all effect the economy all over the state even if you are not right next door.

      My major issue with the T-Splost is project based not the needs we have in the state of Georgia. But you are living in a bubble if you do not see how all the pieces in the puzzle effect you directly and indirectly.

      1 – should someone who made the conscious decision to live closer to work in midtown pay so that people like me who live in the suburbs can get to work faster?
      2 – why are we spending money on things that the vast majority of people don’t want. Bus from Acworth to downtown and a street car.
      3 – why should people in Fulton and Dekalb pay one penny more? They are already paying that for the success that is MARTA.

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        Mr. Konop, I agree with you comments about the big picture view on infrastructure, but if those concerns are so important, they why did the Legislature punt these oh-so-critical transportation concerns to the voters to decide, instead of making the tough decisions that they were elected by the voters and paid by the taxpayers to make?

        I could have sworn that the reason that we have a state government is to govern the state, not ask the voters to the Legislature’s job of making major decisions about transportation infrastructure for them because they are too busy chasing lobbyist money and gifts.

        • John Konop says:

          TLDG,

          As I stated on this blog your detail knowledge on this subject is far better than I. You should be on a board helping to establish policy for this project. And I do agree, this was not a “Profiles in Courage” moment for the Legislator. The parts that bothers me is the anti-infrastructure people who think our roads, highways, airports, rail system, electronic grid…….just appeared overnight, and had no real effect on our economy

          • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

            Mr. Konop, thank you for the compliments, they are greatly appreciated.

            And while I’m not particularly all that big of a fan of using a regional T-SPLOST to pay for this area’s nearly overwhelming transportation needs, I do agree with your sentiments about the overall hostile additude towards something as critical as transportation infrastructure that seems to be much more prevalent here in the Atlanta Region than it is amongst our Sunbelt competitors in North Carolina, Texas and Florida.

            But, I guess that’s what makes Atlanta especially unique and completely different both socially and politically from other booming cities in the Sunbelt like Houston, Dallas, Orlando, Phoenix, etc.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      At least a couple of answers to your questions on behalf of supporters of the T-SPLOST…

      1 – Yes, someone who made the conscious decision to live closer to work Intown should pay so that people who live in the suburbs can get to work faster because it is the suburbs and exurbs of the Atlanta Region (most notably the suburbs and exurbs above I-20) that decide statewide elections in the GOP Primaries these days. Heck, this proposed T-SPLOST doesn’t come anywhere near close to making liberal Intown Democrats to paying what they should pay to improving the commutes of the conservative OTP suburbanites who decide statewide elections in the primaries of the Republican Party that dominates Georgia politics.

      2 – We are spending money on things that the vast majority of people don’t want because, a) Here’s an opportunity for politicians and their cronies to get their hands on a big fat pot of taxpayers money, b) because those are the things that the land spectulators and real estate developers that fund the campaigns and leisurely lifestyles of some of our favorite politicians wants and because, c) it’s not their money, so why should they care if those things are of no use to you or the vast majority of commuters.

      3 – People in Fulton and DeKalb should pay one penny more because those counties are dominated by a bunch of Democrat party-supporting liberals who, except for the predominantly-Republican areas of Buckhead, Sandy Springs, the old Milton County/North Fulton County and Dunwoody, have virtually no real say in the outcome of statewide elections in the current political climate that is pretty much dominated almost totally and completely by the GOP at the state level.

  2. Jackster says:

    Since I’ve been arguging with my liberal brother who lives in Cabbagetown over voting no for it (I love it how he doesn’t like republicans, but he’s willing to give them more $$)

    1 – should someone who made the conscious decision to live closer to work in midtown pay so that people like me who live in the suburbs can get to work faster?
    Answer: Most people don’t live closer to atlanta just because of work – they also get value out of being closer to the culture and they enjoy living in a city. So yes, in that regard, they should have to pay more.

    Secondly: They don’t care about your commute just like you don’t care about their transit system, so it’s a wash – they’re both expensive, they’re both a necessity, and quite frankily, if it pisses you off, find a job which requires you to commute less.

    2 – why are we spending money on things that the vast majority of people don’t want. Bus from Acworth to downtown and a street car.

    Answer: I have no idea. on a related note, I would like to see the belt line projects get funded, but I doubt someone from acworth would commute in to partake, nor would they work on it really.

    3 – why should people in Fulton and Dekalb pay one penny more? They are already paying that for the success that is MARTA.

    Answer: They should pay a penny more because you’re paying a penny more for things you don’t need. MARTA is a necessity; fortunately, its viability can be greatly enhanced without an additional tax.

    The argument my brother makes is that we need more money for transportation, and this is the only way we’re going to get it.

  3. debbie0040 says:

    Republicans nationally have stated time and time again that raising taxes does not create jobs nor will higher taxes stimulate the economy. They even go as far as state that a recession is not time to raise taxes. They rightly fight President Obama everytime he suggest raising taxes.

    Apparently some Republicans here in Georgia disagree with that message . These Republicans claim repeatedly that raising taxes (T-SPLOST) WILL create jobs and stimulate the economy. Do these so-called Republicans think raising taxes is only wrong when Democrats suggest it?

    October 17, 2010

    Gubernatorial candidates on the issues http://daltondailycitizen.com/local/x1744206396/Gubernatorial-candidates-on-the-issues

    Nathan Deal: Raising taxes on hard-working families and small businesses in Georgia is not an option to get our state’s fiscal house in order. Instead, I will focus on targeted tax reductions that stimulate job creation and small business growth.

    • John Konop says:

      Debbie,

      In all due respect you realize if we do not upgrade our infrastructure it will have a major impact on our economy? How do you propose we pay for the needed upgrades?

      • debbie0040 says:

        For starters, take the hundreds of millions of dollars that will help build a new stadium for the Falcons and put it toward transportation improvements. If Arthur Blank wants the Falcons to have a new stadium, then he should pay for it..There are many projects in the list that are wasteful and can be scrapped like the 609 million dollars for the Atlanta Belt-line. Why should tax-payers in Gwinnett pay to help re-vitalize and re-develop downtown Atlanta?

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          “Why should tax-payers in Gwinnett pay to help re-vitalize and re-develop downtown Atlanta?”

          So that people in Atlanta will be highly tempted to vote on July 31st to give politicians and their land spectulator/real estate developer cronies a big new pot of taxpayer money to fritter away?

        • GTKay says:

          Debbie, Gwinnett taxpayer already pay for projects all over the state with the current gas tax due to district balancing. This is a regional tax. It will stay in our region. Whether you like it or not, the health of Atlanta affects Gwinnett. You keep bringing up the stadium and the beltline. The stadium is not even a done deal. And I can’t find where they have proposed raising any other than hotel/motel taxes to pay for it along with the money that the Falcons will pay. Besides the beltline and MARTA, what are the other “many projects” that you find wasteful?

          • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

            How about the not clearly-defined “Enhanced Premium Transit Service” – Acworth / Kennesaw / Town Center to MARTA Arts Center Station for $689 million?

            Or the undefined I-85 North Transit Corridor (all phases) for $95 million?

            Or the a new New Air Traffic Control Tower and Runway Approach Lighting System at Cobb County McCollum Airport for about $3.2 million total (yeah, those are sure to help severely-congested rush hour traffic on a gridlocked I-75)?

            Or the $296 million of T-SPLOST funds that is planned to be spent on the Sugarloaf Parkway Phase 2 Extension from SR 316 to SR 20 (Buford Drive) – New Alignment, a project that would be better and more fully funded with user fees or tolls so that the entire project could be completed between SR 316 and PIB instead of just partially between SR 316 and SR 20 and so that those funds could be freed up to help improve one of the many surface roads in need of improvement either in Gwinnett or throughout the region?

            Or the $43 million of T-SPLOST funds planned to be spent to only very partially-upgrade SR 6/Thornton Road between the Chattahoochee River and the Paulding County line instead of fully-funding a much more complete upgrade of the road to an expressway or super-arterial road with user fees or tolls seeing as though there is an inordinately heavy amount of freight truck traffic that uses that stretch of road, along with the given amount of heavy rush hour commuter traffic that uses SR 6 West/Thornton Road which services the largest rail-to-truck/truck-to-rail intermodal yard east of the Mississippi River in the Whitaker Intermodal Facility in Austell?

        • NoTeabagging says:

          Debbie: your constant negative spin on the beltline and Mass transit is annoying. These projects on not on the schedule for 20-30 years. Stop promoting the lie that these Projects have priority.

        • sipster says:

          Major problem with your argument here, Debbie. The money that would be used for a possible stadium, IF a deal with the Falcons was even reached, is all hotel motel tax from the City of Atlanta. At most, that would give you $300 M, barely enough to cover the I-285/GA 400 interachange which is severely needed. So again, how do you pay for the upgrades?

          • Charlie says:

            Many of the T-SPLOST projects are using federal matching funds. And a $400M+ number is also frequently used with regards to the stadium (plus land, plust sales tax exemptions, etc).

            If you take $400M as the baseline of total funds used, that equates to $720M of purchasing power on projects that qualify for federal matching funds, a bit more than 10% of the project list.

            If you re-direct the 1% sales tax on motor fuels that go to the state’s general fund right now, that’s significantly more.

            If you start priortizing transportation instead of stadiums, boat ramps, halls of fame, etc, you’ll see that a large part of the project list could be funded from current sources.

            But then, or “leaders” might have to tell some of their benefactors that there’s not enough to pay for the pork, which always seems to get paid for first.

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        Mr. Konop,

        I don’t know about Ms. Dooley, but to answer your question of how we could (and should) pay for the critically-needed transportation upgrades, I suggest that we eliminate the state gas tax for all Georgia drivers while leaving the state gas tax in place to be paid by the out-of-state drivers that inflict a great deal of the wear-and-tear and traffic malaise on our roads, especially our Interstate network.

        After eliminating the state gas tax on all Georgia drivers, I would suggest that the gas tax that remains only on out-of-state drivers be substantially (but NOT excessively) increased to one of the highest in the nation like our neighbors and close economic competitors in North Carolina seeing as how the Atlanta area sits at the nexus of three of the busiest Interstates on the continent, two of which (I-75 & I-85) are two of the busiest superhighways on the entire planet.

        I would also suggest indexing the state gas tax that remains only on out-of-state drivers to inflation so that it is paid as a percentage of the total amount of gasoline purchased that rises with the overall price of gasoline over time so that we will no longer be in the position of seeing declining returns on the gas tax while the price of fuel increases and the needs and demands of our road network continue to increase as our population continues to increase and our economy (hopefully) continues to grow.

        In place of leving the state gas tax on in-state drivers, I would suggest that a system of distance-based user fees be levied for each individual use of major roads (major surface thoroughfares and arterial roads, expressways, etc) so that each individual major road becomes fully-capable of funding its own individual unique set of logistical needs.

        Like an Interstate 285 which serves as a circular bypass around the inner-core of the metro area and carries a lot of cross-regional traffic and exceptionally-heavy freight truck traffic on many segments has a different set of needs than a busy surface road in US Highway 41/Cobb Parkway which has a different set of needs from Georgia 400 which is basically a commuter highway that connects the due-North suburbs and exurbs with the Intown job centers of the Atlanta Airport (by way of I-75/85), Downtown, Midtown, Buckhead, Emory University, Perimeter Center/Dunwoody and an emerging job center in the Alpharetta/Windward Pkwy/North Fulton area.

        To better fund mass transit in the Atlanta Region, I would suggest eliminating the politically-contentious 1% sales tax that is currently paid by residents of Fulton and DeKalb counties to fund the increasingly-adequate MARTA system and instead fund an expansive and extensive regional network of trains, buses, trolleys and streetcars with a very robust combination of user fees in the form of a distance-based fare system (with individual one-way fares that are roughly somewhere between $0.50-$1.00/mile), public-private partnerships like the kind that the state was originally going to use to fund the I-75/I-575 NW HOT Lanes (in which a partnering private firm funds a very-large chunk of the initial construction and ongoing operational and maintenance costs of an individual transportation project), Tax Increment Financing (property tax revenues from future development that pops-up along a transit line) and fines on major traffic offenses (making the people who cause the most disruption to our transportation network pay to keep-it-up).

        • John Konop says:

          TLDG,

          I appreciate your response and will give you some feedback on your ideas.

          …. I suggest that we eliminate the state gas tax for all Georgia drivers while leaving the state gas tax in place to be paid by the out-of-state drivers that inflict a great deal of the wear-and-tear and traffic malaise on our roads, especially our Interstate network…..

          1) This would be very difficult to enforce especially with most gas is bought with a pay at the pump system with a credit card and many commercial trucks use a private label cards. You would have to tie a drivers license with a state code to a transaction on each pump which would change the cost structure of the transaction. I worked in the product development area at one of the largest payment processors in the world years ago. And trust me this project would not be a cheap upgrade………
          2) The high gas tax would have a disincentive for out of state travelers going through our state to stop and buy gas, which would also hurt other retail ie restaurants, drug stores, cloths……..When I travel I tend to do a lot of one stop shopping at the exit when I get gas.
          3) This could also disincentive tourist business a major part of the economy.

          I would increase gas sales taxes to everyone not a retail sales taxes on all goods.

          1) We both agree user fee concept is best because it associates the behavior with cost.
          2) This would incent people to use more public transportation, car pool, maintain car…… if they felt the true cost instead of subsidizing it with a retail sales tax.
          3) This would also implement part of your above idea of non Georgians paying, but it would not be an eye soar that would hurt sales in a meaningful way.
          4) By adding the below concepts the increase I estimate would be less than 10 cents a gallon.

          ….. I would suggest that a system of distance-based user fees be levied for each individual use of major roads (major surface thoroughfares and arterial roads, expressways, etc) so that each individual major road becomes fully-capable of funding its own individual unique set of logistical needs….

          Texas and Florida use a similar system to fund transportation in the major metro areas. Once again I think the toll/user fee concept is a valid funding and would keep the gas sales tax at reasonable increase. And we could use a combination of both ideas to spur rail…………..This would also tie the behavior to the real market conditions. If gas prices go up than rail….. would be used more, and they would get more of the revenue. Gas prices go down and driving goes up than the money would flow in that direction. Consumers and business would have options based on market conditions over the behavior being forced at them.

          • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

            Thanks for the response.

            “2) The high gas tax would have a disincentive for out of state travelers going through our state to stop and buy gas, which would also hurt other retail ie restaurants, drug stores, cloths……..When I travel I tend to do a lot of one stop shopping at the exit when I get gas.”

            I wouldn’t necessarily agree that the higher gas taxes would be a disincentive for out-of-state travelers to stop in our state and buy gas because neighboring North Carolina (which, with just under 9.7 million people, has a population that is virtually identical to Georgia’s population of just over 9.8 million) has a state gas tax that at $0.39/gallon ($0.42/gallon for diesel) that is nearly six times as high as Georgia’s increasingly meager and inadequate state gas tax of $0.075/gallon.

            http://www2.nbc17.com/news/2012/jan/02/10/2012-brings-higher-gas-tax-state-north-carolina-ar-1771215/
            North Carolina is using that substantially-higher state gas tax, which was just recently automatically increased from $0.35/gallon on January 1, 2012 and is the sixth-highest state gas tax in the nation, to invest heavily in their road network by constructing a series of new stretches of Interstate loops and bypasses in and around their principal cities and has become one of the most-concentrated areas of new roadbuilding on the entire planet with the completion and construction of a brand-new I-40 mainline bypass through Winston-Salem, a brand-new I-85 mainline bypass through Central North Carolina, the I-485 Outer Loop around Charlotte, the I-840/I-85/I-73 Painter Boulevard Loop around Greensboro, the I-274 Loop around Winston-Salem, the I-295 Western Bypass around Fayetteville, the I-540/NC 540 Outer Loop around Raleigh, new stretches of I-74 and I-73 through Central North Carolina, etc.

            • John Konop says:

              NC is charging everyone not just out of state drivers. If the gas tax was a Hybrid with user/toll fees it would keep the sales tax down and charge people who use the service ie highway, train…… I am a big fan of tax payers associating the service as much as possible with the cost.

              • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

                North Carolina also has a slightly-different political environment with all of the Northeastern transplants that move into the Piedmont to attend school and work in the Research Triangle or work in finance in Charlotte, which makes the concept of using tolls to finance expressway construction increasingly more acceptable there (despite the traditional aversion to tolling in NC) than here in the more conservative and libertarian-influenced political environment here in Georgia where tolls are probably hated more than in any of the other 10-largest states (or anywhere else) in the Union.

                The only way that the use of tolls could possibly ever be acceptable to Georgians under the current infrastructure-toxic political calculus would be to eliminate the state gas tax as a common refrain from Georgians is that they don’t like paying for a road that they feel like they have already paid for with their taxes.

                End the practice of paying for major roads with gas taxes and you end a lot of the objections that Georgians have in paying for roads that they feel are paying for twice with tolls.

                (Also, make sure not to call them tolls, but instead call them USER FEES because the word “tolls” inspires an extremely-negative reaction from most Georgians.)

                • John Konop says:

                  You are much more politically correct than I am. We have two parties on a suicide mission. Both parties spin bs how we can all get something for nothing. I got news unless we put away the bs and start solving the problems the bus will leave. The legislator needs to have no bs conversation about the issue like we are having or………

                • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

                  Actually, here in Georgia we have one political party in the ruling and dominant Republicans that is basically totally-incompetent (especially when it comes to matters of ethics and infrastructure investment) and another party in the Democrats that is pretty much virtually non-existent.

                  Either way, the total incompetence of the ruling and dominant-GOP and the non-existence of the once-dominant but almost invisible Democrats is a really bad combination, likely one of the worst-ever combinations in state politics in Georgia history and possibly U.S. political history.

                    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

                      No, it wasn’t, it’s just that the R’s and the D’s have switched places.

                    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

                      I won’t go as far as saying that both parties may change places again in the not-too-distant future, but the Republicans that are in charge sure have not done themselves (or this state) any long-term favors.

          • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

            I suggested only raising the gas tax on out-of-state motorists because a substantial increase of the state gas tax in Georgia would likely be politically-impossible with the state government being dominated by a Republican Party in which a direct vote for a tax increase of any kind is basically political suicide in which retribution will likely be administered by an increasingly anti-tax and anti-government highly-conservative base in the GOP Primaries.

            Raising the gas tax only on out-of-state motorists while dropping it completely on Georgia motorists gives a great deal of political cover to state politicians who want to appear to be doing something substantial on transportation but don’t want to take any extreme political heat for the direct support of a much-needed tax increase.

            A substantial tax increase on in-state motorists can and will bring immediate and swift political retribution in the highly tax-adverse and small government-minded Republican Party primaries that dominate this state’s political environment as no Republican wants to be viewed as being in the same boat as a big-taxing and big-spending, big government-expanding liberal.

            An increase only on out-of-state motorists that cannot retaliate politically while completely eliminating the state gas tax for all Georgians gives our political leaders the political cover they need to make a critical policy decision.

            Replacing the state gas tax (and the MARTA sales tax) with individual distance-based user fees on each major road (and transit line) reinforces the strong libertarian principles and values that the vast majority of Georgians espouse and live by as an individual motorist would only pay for the amount of transportation infrastructure that he or she individually uses, meaning that a transit-minded Intowner would not feel as though they are paying for road infrastructure for OTP suburbanites and exurbanites that they feel they have almost nothing-in-common with both politically and socially while an auto-minded OTP suburbanite would not feel as though they are paying for a transit line in the city that they feel will in no way benefit them personally.

            The political and social divisions between the city (ITP) and the suburbs/exurbs (OTP) are very stark, wide and deep (even much moreso than in most major metropolitan areas) and (as we are witnessing firsthand with the increasing voter anger, outrage and disillusionment that this poorly thought-out T-SPLOST is generating across the political spectrum) must be taken into the utmost careful and serious consideration during the crafting of transportation policy for the Atlanta Region, something that most clearly and obviously not done by our seemingly clueless political leaders.

            The legislature could comeback a million times with a new T-SPLOST list and it would fail everytime as Intowners will never support a regional list that they think has too many roads for the ‘burbs and OTPers would never support a list that think has too much transit for Intowners while some more distant suburbanites and exurbanites would never support a list that they think makes it possible for more roads to be built to spread Gwinnett-style overdevelopment that they don’t want in their areas (Cherokee & Fayette) while others will not support the T-SPLOST concept because they view it as being a massive tax increase (which it is) that expands the size and scope of a government that they neither like nor trust.

            It’s almost as if the lessons of the failed Northern Arc a decade ago were never learned, which is even all the more disconcerting.

            • John Konop says:

              If the GOP base does not get the memo about infastructure needs and gas taxes, many will need a moving truck to get a job in the future. You know they are laughing at us in NC, Texas……

              • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

                Tell me about it. Dallas has six toll roads to Georgia’s one and 130 centerline miles of rail transit track (light rail and regional commuter rail) to Atlanta’s 48, while Houston has nearly a dozen toll roads, at-least a couple of which (the Hardy Toll Road and the Westpark Tollway) that were converted out of busy surface roads and a section of freeway (the I-10/Katy Freeway on the Westside of Houston) that was recently widened to as many as 26 lanes, including a separate 4-6 lane tollway (managed lanes) that runs down the median of the freeway (though the Houston-style freeway/tollway-heavy approach is not necessarily something that is recommended to be attempted in overall road-adverse Atlanta).

              • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

                Also of note is that the State of Texas is in the process of double-decking the I-635 LBJ Freeway across the Northside of Dallas due to the increasingly-heavy volume of freight truck traffic on that stretch of road which is Dallas’ equivalent to the Top End of the I-285 Perimeter.
                Double-decking the freeway to better accommodate increasingly-heavy truck traffic seems like something that would be an utter political impossibility in Metro Atlanta, whose Interstates likely handle even more through traffic than the Dallas-Fort Worth area because of the close proximity of Atlanta to the fast-growing Port of Savannah and the resorts of the Atlantic Gold and Gulf Sun Coasts.
                http://www.lbjexpress.com/default.asp
                http://www.lbjexpress.com/videos.asp

    • Engineer says:

      Debbie, in regards to non-infrastructure spending, I can agree with you. But there is a benefit that has been proven over and over for infrastructure spending.

      Examples from the early days of the US to now: River and port improvements (clearing rivers and coastal waterways), construction of canals (Ex: Erie Canal and the like), transcontinental rail system, telegraph, telephone, electricity, US Highway system, airports, and the interstate highway system, and the internet.

      Each time we invest in our infrastructure, we end up with a net gain for industry and that net gain for industry translates to more jobs. Republicans nationwise, including even the Speaker of the House, John Boehner have repeatedly spoken about *cough*American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act*cough* how important infrastructure improvements, especially road improvements, are to the economy.

  4. TheEiger says:

    John, I agree that we need to invest in infrastructure and transportation. My problem is that while there are a few projects (400/285 interchange comes to mind) that are good the vast majority are horrible. Referring back to my question number 2. Why are we paying for a bus from Acworth to downtown and the street car? Why isn’t the 75/575 reversible fly way that is being funded separately not on the list? That is a real project that will help congestion and actually move people from where they are to where they want to be. That is the biggest problem with MARTA. It takes you from where you don’t want to be to where yo don’t want to go. Plane and simple.

    Port of Savannah harbor expansion, ATL international terminal and I – 75 road expansion are all wonderful projects but have nothing to do with TSPLOST. They are all funded in other ways. I don’t have a short sighted view of transportation I have a realist view. TSPLOST will do nothing but put off the debate about what needs to happen with infrastructure for a decade. No state politician will do anything for transportation for 10 years now because of this bill.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      “TSPLOST will do nothing but put off the debate about what needs to happen with infrastructure for a decade. No state politician will do anything for transportation for 10 years now because of this bill.”

      …You mean, sort of like what happened after the public backlash and political fallout from the unpopular Northern Arc proposal, but worse?

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      “Why isn’t the 75/575 reversible fly way that is being funded separately not on the list? That is a real project that will help congestion and actually move people from where they are to where they want to be.”

      You mean that it is a real project that will help congestion and actually move people from where they are to where they want to be…for a significant price.

      The I-85 HOT Lanes already have a peak-hour price of up to about $5.00 one-way to ride the entire length of the lanes between Old P’tree Rd and Chamblee Tucker Rd.

      There are HOT Lanes on the S.R. 91 in Orange and Riverside counties in California (the S.R. 91 Express Lanes) that currently have a peak-hour one-way price of up over $10.00 ($10.05 to be exact on Friday evenings between 3-6 pm).
      http://www.91expresslanes.com/schedules.asp

      When the I-75/I-575 HOT Lanes are completed and operational, which right now looks like it might be sometime around the year 2020 or so, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the one-way price to ride the entire length of the I-75/I-575 HOT Lanes could very well eventually be pushed to be in the neighborhood of $15.00 one-way during peak hours.

      Still, that looks like that may be all that may be coming to the I-75 NW Corridor anytime soon, so it is what it is.

  5. seekingtounderstand says:

    John: Would it help to understand that those who oppose have other reasons than we are ill informed?
    The DOT doesn’t receive the TSPLOST funds, they are simply a program director who will give cover for the bid process and take the blame when things do not relieve traffic.
    The money will be paid directly to contractors who will do most of the work as the DOT doesn’t have the staff.
    ITS a program to reward those dedicated GOP contributors and will not help traffic. Hugh reward for dollars spent on politicans. The Chamber of Commerce is simply the muscle to enforce it.
    What a scam.

    • GTKay says:

      Seeking, what is ITS?

      GDOT lets projects based on a low bid system. They don’t get to pick and choose. And how will the money be wasted if we know what projects it will go to beforehand? It’s all been sheduled over the 10 years based on when they project the money to come in.

        • GTKay says:

          What re-direction of funds? You’re saying the funds will not go to the projects slated? Explain what you mean, because by law the funds have to be used to build the projects on the list.

          • seekingtounderstand says:

            No, but the state can move other funds around. Fed and state funds for roads that where planned for a TSPLOST project can now be used elsewhere. The state is using part of gas tax for general fund now, as I understand it.
            So does the general fund get more gas tax dollars.
            We are not exactly known for spending tax money as was promised.
            Old tire collection and student driving to name two.

            • GTKay says:

              Well, yes, GDOT can use money in their budget for other projects if the sales tax passes. That would make sense. You’re right, a portion of the gas tax already goes to the general fund-which should stop- but the remaining amount goes to GDOT and must be spent on roads and bridges. If by “state” you mean the legislature, they can’t divert the sales tax money that goes to GDOT. GDOT controls that money and budgets next year’s projects based on this year’s revenue, so if the sales tax passes, they will have more resources for other projects and maintenance. But no additional gas tax money will go into the general fund.

  6. seekingtounderstand says:

    Billions flowing directly to GOP donors with oversight by GOP friends.
    And GA is just dumb enough to give them billions to waste as they see fit.
    And waste it they will.

  7. John Konop says:

    Seek,

    As I said before I agree that the project plan is a real issue. I am just making the point that we have a real need for updated infastructure. And we need money to pay for it ASAP or we will fell the economic pain.

    • seekingtounderstand says:

      For inventing a new way to tax by region, this will probably end up in court for years.
      No one wants to relieve traffic more than I and no one wants the best for all of GA.
      But there comes a time when a person needs to stand up and say this stinks.
      TSPLOST will not stop the economic pain coming from a de-leveraging bubble economy and this new tax hurts the folks who have already suffered.
      Put a tax on businesses and leave the poor alone.
      Doesn’t it irk you to know that they put this decision on an un-informed public and will use the DOT as a whipping boy when folks figure it out years from now.

  8. The smartest thing proponents of TSPLOST have done is frame it as an issue of low taxes vs. infrastructure. If you’re for lower taxes, vote against it. If you’re for infrastructure, vote for it.

    Problem is, that’s not really the case. A vote for TSPLOST isn’t necessarily a vote FOR infrastructure.. Depending on your region and your county project list, a vote for TSPLOST is often a vote for waste and silliness. Here in Walker County they have a half-dozen bridges on the list, all of which could have been fixed five years ago if our Dear Leader wasn’t waiting on TSPLOST to do it for her. The only other project is a $20 million waste of time widening a road to the Tennessee state line where it ends in a residential neighborhood.

    We have leaders who waste the tax funding they already get, and then push the most important stuff off to a new tax that we HAVE TO support or we’re ANTI-whatever they refused to spend the money on initially. We don’t get to vote for the new football stadium, for the state-owned horse park, for the salaries and benefits of state legislators. Because a majority of people would vote those issues down. Instead those are paid for from general funds (and stolen gas tax funds) while we’re asked to bend over and sign up for a shiny new tax guaranteed (for now) to do all the things they didn’t do with money from the last tax we agreed to pay.

    — LU

    • Calypso says:

      “The only other project is a $20 million waste of time widening a road to the Tennessee state line where it ends in a residential neighborhood.”

      Maybe this is to benefit the poor souls who want to make an expeditious, southerly exit from Tennessee.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      I would imagine that one’s legislator stands very, very, very increasingly far away from this increasingly-unpopular T-SPLOST if said legislator is a Republican who represents a district in Metro Atlanta (see Chip Rogers and almost all of the Cobb County Legislative Delegation) at this juncture, no matter how closely they stood to it early-on.

  9. debbie0040 says:

    In 1968, the MARTA tax was first voted on and it failed miserably in fulton and DeKalb because the plan was seriously flawed like T-SPLOST. Voters rejected the plan and forced the powers that be to start over and come back with a better plan. The next time MARTA tax was voted on it passed.

    Same thing needs to happen here. T-SPLOST should be voted down. Let the legislature pass the bills and Consitutional Amendment Resolution that Rep. Setzler proposed this past session. Let the county commissions decide which counties they want to partner with for transportation needs. The voters in Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton would be more supportive of a project list that had more mass transit related projects and have more in common. The voters in other areas would want more road projects. Commuters in other counties should pay higher mass transit fares than residents of Fulton and DeKalb and it should be distance based.

    There have been some good ideas shared in this thread that are good starting points for solving transportation issues.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      “The voters in other areas would want more road projects.”

      I would not necessarily be so sure about that assumption as a common refrain that is often heard in the suburbs outside of I-285 both in overdeveloped suburban counties like Cobb and Gwinnett and especially in not-as-developed exurban counties in the Metro Atlanta T-SPLOST region like Cherokee and Fayette is that more roads will create even more traffic as even many OTPers view road construction as being nothing more than a way for politically well-connected developers to profit off of real estate spectulation and rampant overdevelopment at taxpayers’ time and expense.

      You’ve also got to keep-in-mind that there has recently been some political contentiousness in Fayette County over some proposed roadbuilding that many locals viewed as being purely-spectulative (the Fayetteville Bypass) while Cherokee County was a key part of an across-the-political spectrum coalition (that included conservative and libertarian landowners in Bartow and Forsyth counties, anti-road environmentalists and liberal Intown urbanites) that successfully defeated the infamous Northern Arc and the once-powerful Democrat Party that stood behind it a decade ago.

    • GTKay says:

      So you’re using the existing MARTA setup as an example of the better plan that you believe the legislature will come up with if the sales tax doesn’t pass?

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      “The voters in other areas would want more road projects. Commuters in other counties should pay higher mass transit fares than residents of Fulton and DeKalb and it should be distance based.”

      Residents of Fulton and DeKalb counties should not be immune from paying higher fares for premium transportation upgrades either as the political contentious (and increasingly financially-inadequate) 1% sales tax that residents of those urban core counties pay to fund the increasingly inadequate MARTA system should be abolished and replaced with a robust combination of the distance-based user fee/fare system that you’re advocating and a zone-based fare system (meaning that the busiest stations/stops in the system have the highest base fares due to the increased demand for service at those busiest stops).

    • wicker says:

      “Let the county commissions decide which counties they want to partner with for transportation needs. The voters in Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton would be more supportive of a project list that had more mass transit related projects and have more in common. The voters in other areas would want more road projects.”

      Debbie, in order to reduce traffic in a region, a regional solution is called for. Workers and shoppers don’t just stay in one county, but from county to county. Also, these aren’t just county roads, but roads that go through the whole region. So, if each county pays for their own little projects, or picks their own little partners (due to politics, ideology, backroom deals etc.) the result will be a hodgepodge of conflicting projects and philosophies that won’t fix anything and probably will make it worse.

      I know that in your political circles, there is a strong reflex against anything that looks like redistributing your wealth to people that aren’t your constituency. But actual leadership – instead of mere ideology – is working for everybody, not just “people like you.” The fact that government has to work for the common good is what separates it from being a business. Government can learn things like efficiency and cost control from the private sector, but it can’t adopt the philosophy of the private sector. You can MARTA-bait and talk about how Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton voters “have more in common”, but the fact is that the airport, many of the region’s largest and highest profile employers, and most of the region’s main tourist/convention sites are in Fulton and DeKalb. I-75, I-85 and I-20 also cut through Fulton-DeKalb.

      That is why a “let Fulton-Clayton-DeKalb go their way and we go our way” isn’t going to work. The suburbanites (and some ITP types) have been trying that for 40 years, and waiting (hoping) for Atlanta-Fulton-DeKalb to implode in the process. It hasn’t happened and isn’t going to happen. Instead of Atlanta-Fulton-DeKalb going down the drain, we are seeing the entire region decline.

      Honestly, the city of Atlanta is doing pretty good, even in this horrible economy. Not only has the population decline that started with the white flight in the 1970s ended, but it is now the 15th fastest growing city in the country, with more residents now than it had in 1980. The city budget is running a surplus, they have solved 2 of their 4 biggest issues – water and city employee pension/union contracts – and have a record number of police on the beat to address the third (and are still trying to hire more). Progress is slow on the 4th – education – but the younger portion of the Atlanta political leadership supports charter schools. The Bill Campbell era is long gone, and when Reed exits office Atlanta will have had 16 years of effective mayoral leadership, and the contingent of activists/radicals/leftists on the city council and school board is slowly decreasing.

      If anything, the suburbs are the ones with the issues now. They badly mismanaged the 3 decades of growth, and were ill-prepared for the downturn. Most of the suburban areas didn’t develop their own economic base, and instead relied on being commuter communities. They were hit very hard by the housing bust, and have had as many problems with scandals, corruption and incompetence as Atlanta ever did.

      You can blame only so much of that on the Obama economy. The truth is that the politicians in the suburbs lack ideas. Not a single good plan to attract or grow jobs has come from any of them. Either they have a mostly rural background so economic development isn’t their thing to begin with, or they believe that jobs will spontaneously generate just by virtue of having low taxes (which by the way IS NOT what laissez faire economics is supposed to mean, especially on a local level where you need things like infrastructure, good schools to train workers, superior services etc.)

      So, Atlanta will be fine. It has too many things in it that are too vital to the region and state not to be, and it also keeps electing what are (despite how you view them OTP) moderate, pro-business mayors. (Even Bill Campbell was far superior to what usually gets elected in places like Detroit and D.C.) But the suburbs … I am not so sure. What is it there to attract people to the suburbs, that causes them to choose our suburbs over those in Charlotte, Dallas, Houston, Orlando, Tampa etc.? And that is the saddest thing with the T-SPLOST. It isn’t that the T-SPLOST won’t attract jobs so much as it is that the suburban leadership won’t without it, or without something like it.

  10. debbie0040 says:

    “the result will be a hodgepodge of conflicting projects and philosophies that won’t fix anything and probably will make it worse.”

    Sounds like the current project list. The regional taxing authority is un-Constitutional but that aspect was ignored to cow tow to the Chamber of Commerce instead of upholding the Georgia Constitution.

    There have been new jobs announced this year and 90% of them are outside the perimeter.

    Why should tax-payers in Gwinnett pay to re-vitalize downtown Atlanta with 609 million dollars for the Atlanta Belt-line? Then there is the 95 million dollars to study rail in Gwinnett for a project that is not scheduled to begin until 2040. The project list is seriously flawed..

    The voters in Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton seem to want an expansion of mass transit in their counties over road projects whiel the voters of the other counties do not want mass transti expansion and prefer roadway projects.

    As for the City of Atlanta, they have been in the news lately because of irresponsibility with tax-payer money in regard to the TADs. The hotel/motel tax the city collects should go to transportation projects instead of building a new stadium for the Falcons.

    http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta-audit-shows-rules-1451842.html

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      “Why should tax-payers in Gwinnett pay to re-vitalize downtown Atlanta with 609 million dollars for the Atlanta Belt-line?”

      I agree…Not only is the project list seriously flawed, but the entire process and concept of putting together one regional project list mixed with economic-development projects for politically and socially-divergent areas with differing logistical needs is fatally-flawed.

      The Atlanta Beltline, while not necessarily the best transportation project, is a very good local economic development project, which is exactly what it is, an ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/urban redevelopment project which has no place in a regional transportation referendum, a regional transportation referendum which should not be the means of financing critically-important transportation upgrades anyway.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      “Then there is the 95 million dollars to study rail in Gwinnett for a project that is not scheduled to begin until 2040. The project list is seriously flawed..”

      S95 million just to (yet again) STUDY rail transit in a severely-congested I-85 Northeast Corridor that needs a heckuva lot than just more studies for rail service that won’t begin for almost 30 years…And that is supposed to help roads like I-85 NE, PIB (P’tree Industrial Blvd), Buford Hwy, Jimmy Carter Blvd, Pleasant Hill Rd and GA Hwy 20 that are severely-congested TODAY?

      “The voters in Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton seem to want an expansion of mass transit in their counties over road projects whiel the voters of the other counties do not want mass transti expansion and prefer roadway projects.”

      The voters in Fulton and DeKalb most definitely do prefer mass transit expansion over road expansion projects, but voters in Clayton are just along for the ride, so-to-speak, with Fulton and DeKalb because of demographic similarities as one must keep-in-mind that Clayton County discontinued the local bus service, C-Tran, because the county government did not want to fund and operate it claiming that they wanted the state to fund and operate it for them.

      One also should not assume that heavily-populated, fast-growing and rapidly-urbanizing Cobb and Gwinnett counties want absolutely no mass transit options just because they are traditionally suburban/exurban counties whose politics are dominated by Republicans and Conservatives.

      Cobb and Gwinnett counties may not want MARTA as it is constituted in its current poorly-managed form (MARTA does not necessarily really want them either), but with the hellish and worsening rush hour commutes on major roads in like I-20, I-575, I-75, US 41 in Cobb and I-85, GA 316, I-985, US 29, PIB in Gwinnett just to name a few, commuters stuck in the increasingly-miserable rush hour commutes out of and into those and other suburban counties are very open to transit options (like the current GRTA Xpress, GCT & CCT express commuter buses) that would spare them from having no other choice but to contend with severely-congested to gridlocked traffic from their part of the region to another.

      Many suburbanites, especially in heavily-populated Cobb and Gwinnett counties, have expressed a very-strong desire for much more dependable and convenient transportation options (not necessarily MARTA) to and from major attractions in the city like Atlanta Braves baseball games at Turner Field with many lamenting the lack of dependable transit service or a rail transit line to Turner Field as the Southbound I-75/85 Downtown Connector often becomes severely-congested before Braves’ home games.

      Many suburbanites, despite the strong anti-transit and anti-MARTA rhetoric that is common in many communities OTP, have expressed a very-strong desire for much more dependable and convenient transportation options between outlying areas and the world’s busiest airport at Hartsfield-Jackson, especially during peak hours when driving to and from the airport on roads like I-285, I-75/85 and GA 400 can be an extreme challenge in very-heavy and severe traffic.

      While suburban towns like Suwanee, Woodstock, Smyrna, Norcross and Duluth and even far-flung exurban towns like Oakwood (just south of Gainesville off the I-985 near Gainesville State College) are structuring their economic development and revitalization plans around rail transit stations on rail transit lines that don’t even exist yet.
      http://www.oakwood2030.com/Transit-Station.htm

      In all, the political climate is not necessarily as simple as Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties want all transit and everyplace else wants all roads and no mass transit as there are very many suburbanites and even exurbanites that question why a major population center like Atlanta that has nearly six million people has such a one-dimensional and severely-limited transportation network in the 21st Century while competing cities, like Dallas, are rapidly-diversifying their transportation network with both new roads and new rail lines.

  11. joe says:

    In CNBC’s rankings of ‘America’s Top States for Business 2012’ http://www.cnbc.com/id/46413845 they have Georgia ranked as number 9 overall. That is driven in part by a #1 ranking in Workforce, and a #3 ranking in Infrastructure and Transportation.

    A #3 ranking in Infrastructure and Transportation—why do we need TSPLOST again?

    • benevolus says:

      Well, clicking through, it seems they just measure; value of goods moved, availability of air travel, and quality of roads.
      No doubt Hartsfield jacks up our score, as well as the Port of Savannah. And having 4 interstates too. Not sure exactly what they are measuring by “quality” of roads, but there is no mention of congestion, or people transit.
      In any case, they are measuring the past. TSplost is about the future.

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        “TSplost is about the future.”

        I agree, T-SPLOST is about the future.

        …The future of the deep pockets of politically well-connected roadbuilders, land spectulators, real estate developers and consultants…

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