Arrogance

Voters in Georgia do not trust the political establishment in Georgia right now. What compounds this is that I get the sense much of the political establishment in Georgia holds the citizens in contempt. They just won’t do as they are told.

The T-SPLOST fell victim to this conundrum. The legislature did not have the testicular fortitude to raise taxes or make other difficult choices, so it punted off to the voters and told them to raise their own taxes or see their transportation funding cut. The voters overwhelmingly rejected the T-SPLOST in most of the state.

Now, of course, several regions of the state went along with it. Some of those areas are the poorest in the state. Their sales tax will now increase putting them at more of a competitive disadvantage to neighboring regions. It is the consequence of some rather narrow thinking of politicians convinced of their own righteousness.

Governor Deal — truth be told — never liked the T-SPLOST idea. He was a team player and wound up on the losing side of a plan he never much cared for to begin with. The ball is now in his court and he has the opportunity to both restore trust and have a more tremendous impact on the state than his last two predecessors, neither of whom have left much of a legacy.

In doing so, the Governor’s first step should not be to come up with a plan.

Governor Deal’s first step should be to change the attitude of the political leaders in the state, from the Republican leadership to the army of high paid lobbyists and lawyers on Peachtree to the Chamber of Commerce. These people ooze contempt for the average voter. The Chamber’s campaign for the T-SPLOST had more of a “why don’t you people just do as you are told!” feel for it than an actual persuasive effort. The persuasive component was unconvincing, complicated, and rather disingenuous.

Atlanta would not be untied by the T-SPLOST. Everybody knows it. That the T-SPLOST supporters made the argument with a straight face made it even more laughable.

The Mason-Dixon poll by the AJC that came out the Sunday before the election showed that 41% of voters were less likely to vote for the T-SPLOST because Governor Deal got rid of the toll of GA-400. Voters viewed it as a desperate political ploy and they are tired of too clever by half ploys to woo them. 90% of voters know Metro Atlanta needs to address its traffic problems. But the T-SPLOST was a too easy solution for politicians always in search of easy answers.

Voters are tired of the political class in Georgia. They do not trust them. They are pretty sure the political class does not care for them and the feeling is now largely mutual.

On WSB Radio on Monday, the T-SPLOST proponents argued for the T-SPLOSt with the same rhetoric President Obama used to pass his stimulus plan in 2009 — a stimulus plan he no longer talks about given its deep unpopularity. In the WSB debate, Dave Williams of the Chamber of Commerce uttered the T-SPLOST equivalent of Barack Obama’s “you didn’t build that” line. He told the listening audience, “Delta is a job creator, which is something that a lot of these tea parties don’t do.”

In other words, listen to Delta, which stands to benefit from your tax increase instead of the tea party. It ignores that many tea party activists are small businessmen. It pits small businessmen against big business — a growing problem for the Chamber of Commerce. And it just highlighted again the contempt the T-SPLOST campaign showed for its opponents.

Regardless of Dave Williams’ view of the tea party, it and the overwhelming majority of the Atlanta region were much more effective than the Chamber and its friends $8 million. All the opponents of the T-SPLOSt campaign had to do was point out the political opportunism of the T-SPLOST supporters and remind voters of their distrust of government.

You can’t buy trust. You earn it. T-SPLOST supporters never did that.

120 comments

  1. JacobenAtlanta says:

    Agree that the legislature should have had the testicular fortitude to invest in transit without passing it off to the electorate. It’s similar to asking a 5 year old if they want to play or do their homework.

    But I think those regions will see the benefit of TSplost and investing in transportation. They will have workable transit solutions to their region’s problems and attract new business and jobs. At the same time, the other regions (specifically the Atlanta region) have created the perception that Atlanta and Georgia won’t do anything about what is continuously rated as the worst traffic and congestion in the country. Atlanta will lose jobs from the big businesses and not attract new jobs.

    • jbgotcha says:

      +1 What hurts Atlanta hurts the rest of the state. People fail to realize this. In my opinion, TSPLOST was essentially a stimulus package for transportation infrastructure. It was never solely about traffic congestion.

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        That’s the problem, if T-SPLOST was never solely about traffic congestion than maybe it should not have been sold to the voters as being about traffic congestion.

        The voters took one look at the list and saw that it clearly was not for what they were being told it was for which let them know that they were being lied to by the powers-that-be who were trying to pull a fast one on them.

        I mean, come on, just how in the world were a new runway tower and runway lights at McCollum Field airport in Cobb County really supposed to help alleviate the severe and crippling traffic congestion that hundreds-of-thousands of people sit in everyday on the I-75 and I-575 freeways that are only a few miles away from the airport?

        • jbgotcha says:

          I don’t disagree. I think they did a piss poor job of explaining TSPLOST and being honest about what it would really accomplish.

      • seenbetrdayz says:

        Maybe, but you’d have a hard time convincing folks in Seminole county GA that they benefit from Atlanta. If the world was flat, residents in some of these far-away GA counties would have to be careful which side of bed they rolled out of, because that’s about as close as they’d be to the edge of nothingness.

        So you take a place that remote from Atlanta and tell them that traffic is bad in the metro ATL, the best they can relate is when it rains hard and their county road washes out. Not being insulting here, but trying to make a point that Georgia may be more regionally divided than most people want to admit.

    • CobbGOPer says:

      You know what’s doing more right now to cause Georgia to lose business and jobs? The fact that 100 miles north of us there’s NO STATE INCOME TAX. A few hundred miles to the south of us, there is NO STATE INCOME TAX. TSPLOST supporters like Dave Williams keep talking about towns like Dallas and Houston beating us out for business and jobs. Guess what? Texas has NO STATE INCOME TAX.

      I think I’m seeing a pattern here. Will the GAGOP? If your purpose is ‘JOBS!’ then that’s a good way to start.

      If your purpose is tackling congestion on the roads, let’s try utlizing our motor fuel tax for what it SHOULD be used for, and stop trying to place another layer of taxes on us to ‘stimulate’ corporate welfare in Atlanta.

      • JacobenAtlanta says:

        Agree that we should eliminate the state income tax . You’re wrong if you think that businesses don’t stay away because of our congestion. It costs business here millions or billions of dollars.

        Once again, perception is reality and the perception here is that we are completely dysfunctional and/or not willing to do something that every major company in Atlanta wanted. I wish the state used our money more efficiently but that ignores the reality that we pay the one of the least amounts in taxes for transit and invest close to the least in transit and transportation in the country. Our roads and bridges are crumbling and 70% of the total transportation budget must be used for upkeep (a recent figure I’ve heard). At some point we’re going to have to raise money to have a working infrastructure, what’s your plan?

        • wicker says:

          The eliminating state income tax thing is nonsense. Florida is able to get away with not having a state income tax because they get so much revenue from tourism. When tourist revenue falls due to recession or weather, Florida’s government starts bleeding red ink and they have to make massive cuts. So, were Georgia to eliminate its state income tax, it would have to raise the revenue by increasing other taxes.

          And as far as Tennessee goes … what has their lack of a state income tax done for their economy? Their economy lags Georgia, North Carolina, even South Carolina. Tennessee is proof positive that being a low tax, low regulation right to work state doesn’t make you an economic powerhouse by itself.

          • JacobenAtlanta says:

            Agree with your points too wicker. I was just saying in a perfect world there would be a way where we wouldn’t have to pay income tax

          • peachstealth says:

            It’s just earned income that Tennessee doesn’t tax. They do tax capital gains and investment income while Florida taxes neither. I’ve owned property in Florida and I paid more in FL property taxes than I ever did in Ga income tax.

        • CobbGOPer says:

          And yet Governor Deal keeps coming out with news conferences touting these new businesses moving into Georgia. As far as I’ve heard, Home Depot isn’t leaving. HP isn’t leaving. Suntrust isn’t leaving. Delta isn’t leaving. Do I need to go on?

          If it’s such a GD problem, why are they still here? Because our traffic has been this way for over 20 years now. Stop with the strawman.

      • wicker says:

        @CobbGOPer:

        Texas has no state income tax because it has oil revenue. We don’t.
        Florida has no state income tax because it has significant tourism revenue. We don’t.
        You can ask any Texan and any Floridian what happens to their state budget situation whenever oil prices (Texas) or tourism (Florida) bottoms out. They go straight into the tank, have to go into reserves, and make massive cuts into necessary programs. But at least they have the tourism and oil revenue in order to gamble with the volatility. That is the point. We don’t.

        So make better comparisons: Tennessee, North Carolina. Tennessee has no state income tax, but their economy is even worse than Georgia’s. So, what good has it ever done them? North Carolina? They have a state income tax AND they invest in their transportation (and education). Result? Booming economy. Racing right by us. If it weren’t for Hartsfield and those evil downtown corporations that you hate so much, they would have long surpassed us already.

        • Bob Loblaw says:

          Time to follow the lead of the Republican Party Primary voters and expand gaming to include destination resorts to boost tourism and bring funds to shore up HOPE.

        • CobbGOPer says:

          @wicker

          Do you have any numbers to back up your assertions, or just your exhortation to “ask a Texan or Floridian?”

          • wicker says:

            CobbGOPer:

            1. I lived in Florida for 8 years, including during a huge downturn in tourism when the state was scrambling for every penny that it could find. Have you ever lived outside of Cobb?

            2. I remember what happened to the Texas economy during the oil bust. (Among other things, it elected Ann Richards). Do you pay attention to news outside of Cobb?

        • oompaloompa says:

          I don’t know about Atlanta, but Savannah has plenty of tourism revenue. So much so, that you can’t get any attention or buzz about any project unless it is going to directly impact Sav in a tourism (non)revenue. It’s pretty darn frustrating.

        • Ken says:

          There is an effective difference between taxing income and taxing consumption. It’s not the amount taxed; it is when it is taxed. A consumption tax makes capital formation easier, increasing investments and, hopefully, revenue.

    • joe says:

      @JacobenAtlanta

      So, “It’s similar to asking a 5 year old if they want to play or do their homework.”

      You sound like you are the problem. You are so condescending toward voters that you compare them to 5 year olds? TSPLOST had two problems. First, the legislature did not do their job. They punted. It will be hard for me to vote for any of them again. Second, Plan A was a poorly designed plan. In the Atlanta region, we were told that updating a Marta terminal would reduce congestion. Maybe you think the voters are naive enough to buy off on that, but that is just a part of your arrogance. I am not that stupid, and neither are 70+% of the voters.

      • JacobenAtlanta says:

        Joe, I just care about the city and the region and it’s obvious to me that we are heading down the wrong path. Am I not allowed to vent my frustration and state my opinion just as you are doing? Also, you are reading things into my comment that I did not intend.

        Secondly, in any bipartisan and public plan there is going to be things one side does not like. The redesign of the Marta station was a small part of a large plan that would have been a jumpstart to fixing our transportation woes. Instead, voters decided to vote against it and who knows when another plan will come to the fore.

        Finally, the final tally was 63% for 37% against. Still not close but the facts deserve to be reported correctly.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      “It’s similar to asking a 5 year old if they want to play or do their homework.”

      Come on dude, that statement is a prime example of the additude of extreme contempt that the powers-that-be behind the T-SPLOST have for the voters that Erick is talking about.

      The decision to vote down and defeat such a severely-flawed piece of legislation was not made by five-year olds, it was made by full-grown adults, thannk you.

      And the T-SPLOST was not anywhere near being a “workable transit solution” as much as it was a very incomplete and very partial down payment on propping up the rapidly-declining and severely-failing MARTA-anchored status quo.

      And it wasn’t the Atlanta Region or the voters that created the perception that Atlanta and Georgia won’t do anything about it’s traffic congestion and mobility problems, it was the do-nothing legislature that after two decades of total inaction on transportation contemptously pushed forth a severely-flawed porkbarrel-laden piece of legislation that only at best minimally attempted to deal with the transportation problem and arrogantly expected the public to do as they were told and eat up what has accurately been and what can only be described as a crap sandwich of their very own making.

      • JacobenAtlanta says:

        It was an ANALOGY. I was not calling opponents children. I was saying that populations everywhere would have trouble voting for a tax increase that could possibly benefit the region in the long run. If you look, I was agreeing with Erick that the legislature punted their responsibility to do their duty.

        The Tsplost was the beginning of a workable solution. It wasn’t going to solve everything but it was a start. I think we agree here. What’s your alternative to what you call “the Marta-anchored status quo?” No transit in this region at all?

        I agree that the legislature has done nothing for many years. However, I have no illusions about democracy. Part of taking a mature approach to this is being able to compromise and accept that no solution was ever going to be perfect. This plan was developed over 5 years. It was one of if not the first bipartisan initiatives put forth by the region ever. Now, Deal is saying there won’t be a plan B. Do you think that voting this bill down, flawed as it was, is going to be beneficial for the region or negative?

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          “The Tsplost was the beginning of a workable solution. It wasn’t going to solve everything but it was a start.”

          The supporters of the T-SPLOST may have thought that it was a start and it very well may have been a start, but the voters, especially those who are stuck in crippling traffic jams on an almost daily basis, wanted much more than a plan that was just a small start, they actually wanted the start of a big plan that helps them get around faster, which was something that the T-SPLOST was definitely not.

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          “What’s your alternative to what you call “the Marta-anchored status quo?” No transit in this region at all?”

          The alternative to the MARTA-anchored status quo, which is in a severe death spiral right now, is a regional commuter-based and commuter-focused system, something that helps get people from one part of the region to the other while benefitting the locals in-between and relieving traffic stress and congestion from busy and often gridlocked stretches of the freeway system.

          “Do you think that voting this bill down, flawed as it was, is going to be beneficial for the region or negative?

          Voting this thing down, while it might be viewed as negative by the outside business world, can only be beneficial for this region in the long run because it sends a resounding message to the political and business establishment that they cannot just do whatever they want with no consequences and actually need to earn the trust and respect of the voters in order for this thing called Democracy to work.

          If the voters don’t trust or respect their political leaders, then traffic and transportation and business recruitment, etc, will be the least of our worries.

          • JacobenAtlanta says:

            It’s easy to shoot ideas down without offering realistic alternative options. What is a “regional commuter-based and focused system?” How is that different from the system of highways and transit we have? Ostensibly, they were put in place for that same goal.

            Agree that the government needs to somehow get back the trust of the people.

  2. Daddy Got A Gun says:

    Now, that TSPLOST has been defeated we are learning what else was in it. The Marietta Daily Journal reported that TSPLOST was going to pay for a 1,500-foot entrance road and trails at Mabry Park. Can anyone with a straight face say that a driveway to a park is a critical infrastructure need?

    Trust? The TSPLOST supporters don’t deserve any. They tried to raid our pockets to fund their pet projects and fill their bank accounts with our money. They are no different than the thieves on Wall Street with TARP

    If I was Gov. Deal, I’d start the process of identifying and prioritizing the critical infrastructure needs for the STATE. No local projects should be on the list. MARTA needs to manage its budget better and designer landscaped sidewalks should be paid for by the local government.

    An economic value to the STATE as a whole of each of the projects should be determined. This is hard but doable.

    Once the list is prioritized and economic value assigned, then the counties and CID’s should be asked if they are willing to contribute to the project costs. For example, the Windy Hill -75 interchange is on both Cobb and the Cumberland Community Improvement District’s wish list. If its truly important, they’ll want to kick in money to fund it.

    Obviously, if the counties and CID’s are paying for the improvement, they should have a say in the final design criteria and be able to get some things out of the project they want. Once everyone agrees on the design, only then should it be costed out.

    Now you have two numbers: the economic value of the project to the State and the Cost to the State. The Cost to the State is the project cost LESS any contributions from the county and CID’s. Divide the State Economic Value by the Costs to the State and you end up with a benefit/cost factor.

    Sort the benefit/cost factors (highest to lowest) and then fund all the projects with the highest factors until the money is gone. Force GDOT to spend resources ONLY on those projects that are on the approved list. No deviations by GDOT should be allowed.

    The benefit of getting county money into the pot is that multiple counties can help on a specific project. For example, Fulton, Cobb, Douglas, and Paulding counties could chose to help fix 285/20 since all those counties would benefit with a better interchange.

    That’d be my recommendation of the Governor’s path.

    The point of getting county money into the pot is to make the process competitive in nature. If there is a project that benefits a county greatly and will be effective, they’ll want to put more money into the pot in order to be sure the project gets funded by making the Cost to the State lower, thus improving its Benefit/Cost ratio. A project-focused commitment of funds, stops the slush fund approach that wasted so much TSPLOST money.

    You could even see Cobb want to work with Fulton to get Marta into South Cobb by extending the Green line. Marta would benefit because they have more riders thus fares. Fulton would benefit because more residents would have quicker access to transit. Cobb would benefit if the extension is part of an economic development plan.

    • wicker says:

      No deal, daddy got a gun.

      1. You guys denounced this thing as a economic development plan disguised as a congestion relief plan. Now that TSPLOST has failed, you are talking about economic development again? Which is it?

      2. Don’t expect Fulton or DeKalb to pay a dime. They have been paying a penny tax for MARTA for 40 years. Attempts to expand and fund MARTA have fallen on deaf ears, and the anti-MARTA sentiment played a huge part in this failing. The region has spoken loud and clear: we are pro-business except for when those businesses are in downtown Atlanta. Fine. If suburbanites want highways, pay for it yourselves. No sales tax, gas tax, or hotel/motel tax from Atlanta/Fulton/DeKalb. Rejecting a regional approach in favor of your statewide approach is just a way to get more tax money out of Atlanta in order to fund highway projects that don’t benefit Atlanta.

      The folks in the suburbs and “THE STATE”: pay for your own economic development projects. And your own traffic projects too.

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        It was anti-MARTA sentiment that played a huge role in the defeat of the T-SPLOST as many of the suburbanites that are against MARTA are not necessarily against mass transit, especially if it is managed and operated effectively which MARTA most definitely is not these days, but then again neither is GDOT which also stoked a massive amount of negative voter sentiment in the defeat of this thing.

        • Engineer says:

          When I spoke to folks around Waycross and Albany, I was surprised how many had been told that the T-SPLOST money collected down there was going to Atlanta to pay for MARTA.

          • Charlie says:

            That was not unique to that region. Many that touch the Atlanta region believe the same thing, as well as the region in the NW corner of GA.

      • seenbetrdayz says:

        The folks in the suburbs and “THE STATE”: pay for your own economic development projects. And your own traffic projects too.

        I could go for that idea. I think that’s what it will come to, eventually.

      • Daddy Got A Gun says:

        You mentioned in this post and prior posts that the suburbs don’t pay for their own traffic projects. In fact, they do. Cobb has had a 1% transportation SPLOST for nearly 10 years. Most of the counties outside of Atlanta do as well. Cobb’s expires in 2015.

        Cobb’s Transportation SPLOST has been very good at meeting the needs of our county. In fact, I’d bet Cobb will have a hard time finding worthy projects for the next 10 year extension. The next extension will end up including designer landscapes, driveways to parks, runway lights, and all of the stupid stuff in TSPLOST that I railed against. Hopefully, we can vote that one down too.

        One of the “inadequacies” of the county based transportation SPLOST is that it doesn’t cross county lines. So in Cobb’s case, we could NOT fund improvements to Johnson Ferry within Fulton county, even if that project would improve traffic flow in Cobb. Allowing counties to put their money where they’re mouths are, bubbles the best and most effective of the projects to the top of list.

        Cobb is smart for not wanting to be part of MARTA. Its so poorly run that it needs a bailout to fix their tunnels and escalators, one of the chief reasons behind TSPLOST. If Cobb signed onto MARTA, it would likely only get 33 cents of service from every dollar in taxes it pays. Its not a good deal for Cobb.

        Mayor Reed and the leaders in Dekalb and Fulton need to professionalize the management of MARTA. They should outsource management of MARTA’s management to CH2M Hill like Sandy Springs did. If we could improve MARTA’s performance, I think Cobb and other counties would support it. Right now, MARTA is a basketcase full of excuses why it needs Billions of dollars. Who in their right mind would want to connect to that bottom-less pit of demands and needs.

  3. ZazaPachulia says:

    The regions that passed the TSPLOST aren’t going to get any state funding in “plan B”… But they wouldn’t have even if they hadn’t passed the tax–they’re not the priority areas. Mixed bag for them…

    Erick is 100-percent right about the lack of trust and the distaste voters in Georgia have for our part time “citizen lawmakers” in the General Assembly. Put Mr. Chip “TSPLOST was my idea, but now that I realize its unpopular, I’m totally against it” Rogers at the top of the heap.

    I know Erick put the Obama stimulus analogy is there as “red meat,” but at least Obama had the courage to lead–making an unpopular decision that pretty much ensured he’d lose the House in 2010 in order to prevent a complete economic meltdown. He didn’t pawn stimulus off on the voters in a cowardly “shortcut.” There was plenty wrong with the stimulus, but the consensus among major economists is that we’d be far worse off today without it. Just take a look at Europe and see how austerity sans stimulus is working out.

    • wicker says:

      “Not having trust in elected officials” was just code word/dog whistle stuff for “we don’t want anything that will benefit Atlanta or downtown.” Take away the fact that MARTA and Atlanta projects were on the list, and this would have passed just fine.

      The irony is that the governor is now going to focus only on I-285 and Georgia 400. Which is mostly in Fulton-DeKalb. And the governor is going to use existing revenues to pay for it. No sales tax and no gas tax. So, the suburban highways that were badly needed to spur and handle future growth that would have been built had this passed aren’t going to be built at all. The governor is just going to focus on hot spots to handle the existing traffic problems.

      Bottom line: there will be no Plan B. Just a limited plan run entirely by Deal and his appointees to fix some of the worst problems. No forward-looking measures to make Atlanta competitive with Dallas, Charlotte and Tampa, but just enough so that Deal can say that he didn’t ignore the issue like Perdue did, and so that he won’t have a failure on his record like Barnes did with the northern arc.

      There is no Plan B. There wouldn’t be one politically feasible to begin with. The TEA Party is going to be no more supportive of any new tax increase than they were this one. The suburbanites aren’t going to want to pay for transit. The liberals aren’t going to want to pay for highways. And Fulton-DeKalb aren’t going to want to be double-taxed, nor are they going to want to give suburbanites access to MARTA for free. There is no Plan B that would garner 50% of the vote in the ARC region, and making the region smaller will only address local traffic, not regional traffic.

      There won’t be a Plan B. Which is exactly what the T-SPLOST opponents claimed would happen.

      • Blog Goliard says:

        A corollary to Godwin’s Law needs to be added to cover invoking “code words” and “dog whistles”.

        Sometimes, opposition to an ill-conceived good-ol’-boy stitchup is nothing more than opposition to an ill-conceived good-ol’-boy stitchup.

      • Charlie says:

        “Take away the fact that MARTA and Atlanta projects were on the list, and this would have passed just fine. ”

        Total BS on that one. It didn’t pass in Fulton. It didn’t pass in DeKalb. Hell, it didn’t even pass in Clayton.

        Marta was a huge problem for the exurbs, but Untie Atlanta never addressed it. Never combatted it with facts. Instead, just a commercial with some weird seatbelt bondage going on for the last few weeks.

        Blaming MARTA is a cop out. There were much bigger, structural problems with this. Don’t take the easiest excuse for the loss if you really want to find a path forward for a solution.

        • wicker says:

          It didn’t pass in Fulton and DeKalb because Fulton and DeKalb were getting double-taxed in order to pay for suburban highways, and also because of a decision by certain Democrats to deny the state GOP a huge victory. I heard them chirping on the urban talk radio stations this afternoon, and they are just as delusional as the TEA Party is. They actually think that they are going to get a chance to put together another list that is loaded with rail and will exempt Fulton and DeKalb.

          And there won’t be a path forward for a solution. I already stated why. You want structural problems? Here it is. Suburbanites don’t want to cooperate with the urban region at all. The urbanites claim that they want to cooperate with the suburbanites, but to them cooperation means dictating the terms and telling the suburbanites to hand over the cash.

          As far as Clayton County goes, I do acknowledge that they would have received marginal benefit from the T-SPLOST for the money that they would have had to pay. It wouldn’t have reduced traffic issues or brought economic development. I don’t blame them from voting it down. I am actually happy for their sakes, but that is at best a silver lining.

      • Dave Bearse says:

        “And the governor is going to use existing revenues to pay for it/”

        Make that existing REDUCED revenues.

        We still have 10 years payments to make on Sonny Perdue’s recently completed Fast Forward, and that only gets us to 2003 funding, not the 2004-2010 funding that was fueled with bond debt.

    • Scott65 says:

      Actually, Bush passed the stimulus. Obama simply supported it and included the Auto Bailout within its terms. The thing I find most ironic about this vote is that one of the main rallying cries against the TSPLOST was the mistrust of government and the GDOT’s mismanagement. The result…the Governor and the GDOT will now have exclusive authority to pick the winners and losers as far as projects go.
      I also think Sonny purposely designed this to fail. That he was a crook, liar, and self serving should place him at the top of all time worst Governors in Georgia’s history. He gutted every prospect that we had to deal with this problem, but he is laughing all the way to the bank while he goes fishin’

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        You give Sonny Perdue entirely way too much credit by opining that he purposely designed T-SPLOST to fail because he didn’t.

        The problem with T-SPLOST was that it was an example of much of what comes out of the Georgia Legislature these days, which is rushed-through, ill-conceived, poorly thought-out and incomplete legislation that is often nothing more than poor attempts at political expediency.

        • Calypso says:

          “The problem with T-SPLOST was that it was an example of much of what comes out of the Georgia Legislature these days, which is rushed-through, ill-conceived, poorly thought-out and incomplete legislation that is often nothing more than poor attempts at political expediency.”

          This should be the mantra of every candidate seeking to knock-off an incumbent legislator for years to come. Good one, LDIG.

      • Dave Bearse says:

        He didn’t design it to fail, but it was designed to make him personally, not the state as a whole, successful.

  4. Scott65 says:

    Note to legislature…your job is to APPROPRIATE FUNDS…not pawn your job off to mob rule. However, as I look at the returns…Chip Rogers and Dan Balfour have been reelected, so the only take away for this is that voters dont give a damn if they are represented by crooks. If they didn’t care now…that to me is a green light to other gold domers that they can do the same and it will be just fine come election day

    • wicker says:

      Yep. The same folks who claimed to have no confidence in elected officials returned the vast majority of those officials to office. It wasn’t lack of confidence in elected officials. It was not wanting to cooperate with Atlanta (on transportation or anything else). Period.

      • Jackster says:

        I’m finding it’s now my part time job to recruit opposition to my Senator and House Rep. Apparently I have a year to do it.

        @Calypso – No, I am not moving to Snellville – you’re on your own to find someone to turn the community against him. They seem to have a severe case of Balfouria. I recommend watching Star Wars Episode II & III on how to unseat an unstoppable, unopposed force. (pun intended)

      • Baker says:

        Not only that, some of the biggest Anti-TSPLOST sentiment came from Rogers and Balfour’s districts.

        And Rogers sat on the freaking committee but didnt go to one meeting.

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          And Rogers wasn’t going to go to any of those meetings because he already knew that the regional tax increase concept wasn’t going to go over very well in a state senate district that is well-known to be one of the most conservative in both the entire state and the entire nation.

          And much of the hardcore anti-TSPLOST sentiment that came out of Balfour’s district has its deepest roots in the I-85 HOT Lane debacle of last year as would you trust the government when it says that it wants to raise your taxes to relieve congestion after the last so-called “congestion reduction” measure made traffic much worse?

          • Baker says:

            A) Then why did he vote for it in the first place?

            B) HOT lanes would’ve relieved some congestion if they were allowed to work. But instead they weenied out because of political pressure. Part of the HOT is to force people to carpool because of the toll price.

            • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

              “Part of the HOT is to force people to carpool because of the toll price.”

              You got it, Bud….Forcing people to carpool because of the toll price, that’s a key point that you just touched on.

              HOT Lanes can work absolutely best when added to the road as additional capacity, like the managed lanes on the I-10 Katy Freeway on the Westside of Houston where a 4-6 lane HOT lane toll road was added down the middle of the existing freeway which was widened out to a total of 26 lanes in some places to accommodate them.

              I’m probably one of the few people that thinks this at this juncture, but I think that the I-85 HOT Lanes are quite possibly a run-through of a bigger plan that the Feds have to impose congestion pricing on ALL LANES of the Atlanta Interstate network in the event that our state government continues to refuse to expand and add capacity to the freeways to accommodate increasing out-of-state and through traffic volumes, especially freight truck volumes which are only going to increase as the Port of Savannah continues to expand.

              If the State of Georgia continues to refuse to expand the freeway network to accommodate increasing Interstate traffic, I suspect that the Feds may do it for us by imposing congestion pricing on all of the major freeways (except GA 166 Langford Pkwy and US 78 Stone Mountain Frwy) to clear them of excess local traffic so that the out-of-state and through traffic can flow through much more freely.

              And let me tell you that when that happens, that will NOT be a very good day (think I-85 HOT Lanes debacle times 100).

  5. seenbetrdayz says:

    The T-SPLOST fell victim to this conundrum. The legislature did not have the testicular fortitude to raise taxes or make other difficult choices, so it punted off to the voters and told them to raise their own taxes or see their transportation funding cut. The voters overwhelmingly rejected the T-SPLOST in most of the state.

    Is it just me, or are some republicans tempting the legislature? Calling them cowards for not raising taxes? What effect is that supposed to have if you’re opposed to tax increases?

    • Jackster says:

      @Seen —
      There’s a second option there… MAKE OTHER DIFFICULT CHOICES.

      Like pissing off other legs who are not going to get their pet projects included

      Pissing off lobbies who have invested for years in removing risk from the leg.

      If you must raise taxes, then that’s only really a good argument to have when you’ve exhausted other options. I’m pretty sure you have a few things which you’d like to see funded less… but then YOU AS A VOTER need to have an open mind to the realities of funding and running a gov’t.

      We should have truck nut day at the legistlature – where we go around to all the cars @ the capitol and put truck nuts on there as a sign of “testicular fortitude”.

      • Jackster says:

        I’m looking at you, Renee Unterman when I’m talking about not including pet projects and lobbiest priorities when setting “your” budgets for DCH, DHS.

  6. SmyrnaSAHM says:

    Erick, as navigate the morning after, I’m curious as to your take on what role municipal elected officials have – if any – as the transportation conversation moves forward (as it were). I find that we are frequently lumped in with all the other elected officials as being inherently corrupt and untrustworthy, and I also feel that we should have a seat at the table. In the original recipe TSPLOST roundtable, one mayor from each county participated, and I didn’t really have any problem with that as Kennesaw’s mayor did (in my view) an able job representing Cobb’s municipalities, and I never had any trouble discussing any projects that pertained to my fair city.

    And at the end of the day, while the $8 million in discretionary funds that would have come Smyrna’s way during the ten year period wouldn’t have been a tremendous windfall – it’s around 1% of what our budget would probably be over ten years – it would have absolutely impacted my constituents in very tangible ways, and when you’re bleeding the turnip of a municipal budget in These Economic Times, every little bit certainly helps.

    So I guess what I’m trying to figure out is if we local folks are going to continue to be condescended to by gems like Chip Rogers, and by merit of being elected, we’re not trusted by citizens, what should our role be moving forward? The legislature thinks we’re too stupid to know what our communities want, even though they’re the ones who pulled this half-assery in the first place by putting the list out to the local folks. (I’m also curious about all this pocket-lining I’ve been hearing we local folks are so good at. I must have missed that meeting. Does this mean I can ditch my contributions to the kids’ 529 plans? Awesome!)

  7. SallyForth says:

    Looks like TSPLOST got TSPLOSHED. That being said, I offer the following points to ponder:

    (1) The tea party should hold off on the victory dance – they never could have done it without their unholy alliance with the NAACP opposing the measure.

    (2) DeKalb and Fulton have already been paying an extra 1% transportation sales tax since back in the 70’s – a more equitable proposal would have been to get the other 157 counties to join the effort, put everybody at the same level.

    (3) Remember Governor Roy Barnes’ forward-thinking proposal to build a Northern Arc (using existing transportation funding sources) from I-85 North roughly where the Mall of Georgia is now around through Cherokee County and into I-75 North somewhere north of Marietta? Rerouting huge amounts of north-south, east-west traffic from being forced to use I-285’s northern arc. It would have been done at 2000 dollars and 2000 costs, and would have been ready for use by at least 2004.
    We could have been using it for the last eight years, avoiding some of the ever-growing knot of traffic. But noooo – Republicans screamed bloody murder and killed the effort with a well-funded p/r campaign. Then in 2002 they formed a coalition with the disgruntled Teachers Association and voted in do-nothing Perdue, who focused on Florida properties and building a state-funded Go Fish thing on/near his I-75 property down around Perry.
    ‘Talk about fiddling while Rome burned…..

    (4) Georgia has one of the lowest gasoline taxes in the United States. It also has perhaps the worst traffic problem in the U.S. ‘See the connection? Since Governor Deal now has to find a fix in 2012 dollars, isn’t it time for the Legislature to move Georgia’s gasoline tax up to, oh, say, 30-40% of the national average?

    • Jackster says:

      @Sally –

      4) According to this chart http://taxfoundation.org/article/state-gasoline-tax-rates-january-1-2012, we’re 18th highest. (not one of the lowest)

      With that beign said, 20% of our gas tax goes to debt service, not transportation… So the leg appropriates 80% of 29.4 cents to transportation, which is 23 cents.

      23 cents puts us tied for 29th with gas tax.

      So, if anything, you should be calling on gov. deal to either appropriate that $$ back to where it is intended (transportation) or increase the gas tax by 20%.

      Which is 35.3 cents – 10th highest – just beating out Florida.

      • SallyForth says:

        @Jackster, I was generalizing re #4, guess it depends on which organization’s numbers we use. I just checked http://www.easy-tax-information.com/state-gasoline-taxes.html and found there are 18 states lower than Georgia’s, with 9 of those being within a few cents of our total local, state and federal. So the way I see it, that puts us in the lower-paying states.

        Looking at your web link, it shows Georgia at 21.9 cents, excluding the regular sales tax. Don’t see ranking by state. But I think we can both agree that bumping it up a few cents might be the only way for the Governor and Legislature to go. It’s just something to ponder.

        I also agree with you that our gas tax should not be diverted to other purposes than transportation. period.

        • Jackster says:

          So help me understand these figures – is the “Excise tax” (7.5) not a part of the gas tax revenues (29.4)?

          I looked at the reference on my sheet, and it references the same source as yours – the American Petroleum Institute. I’ve uploaded it as a spreadsheet so you can sort to your heart’s content and see the rankings – http://goo.gl/aI3ps

          On another note, I sort by “Gas tax” only (and not combined tax), then we’re 5th highest.

          Raising the fuel tax should only happen after re-appropriating the 20%.

          • Dave Bearse says:

            The 29.4 cents includes the 7.5 cents excise tax plus 4% state sales tax plu local sales taxes (MARTA, SPLOSTS etc). The state tax of 7.5 cents per gallon plus 4%, at say $3.50 a gallon retail, 14 cents = 21.5 cents. 1% of the 4% state sales tax goes to the general fund however, so Georgia’s state tax per gallon to transportation is only 18 cents.

            Other states may use all state gas tax money for state transportation, or a smaller fraction than does Georgia—I don’t know—-probably some of both. I expect the dozen states with only an excise tax spend it all on transportation.

            Another standard for comparison is per capita transportation spending, and Georgia is 49th, ahead of only TN by that metric.

      • sipster says:

        Jackster-

        I went straight to the source on this one. According to Georgia Department of Revenue, the sales tax component of the motor fuel tax is 12.1 cents/gallon (9 cents goes to roads, the other 3 cents goes to the general fund). Couple that with the excise tax, 7.5 cents/gallon, and the net effective state motor fuel tax is 19.6 cents/gallon. However, only 16.6 cents/gallon goes to roads and bridge.

        I would assume that the chart you are looking at is also considering the local sales tax that is placed on motor fuel as part of the overall motor fuel tax. While technically it is a tax on motor fuel, those monies go directly to the local government. I would suspect that is the sole source of revenue in some counties in the state…

      • Engineer says:

        Only half true. While our overall state taxes are 18th nationwide, our state excise tax on gasoline is one of the lowest in the nation with only New York, Florida, and Alaska being around the range we charge in excise tax. It is the other taxes that get us on those rankings.

        In regards to Georgia from the American Petroleum Institute:
        “”Other Taxes” include sales taxes of 4% applied to stated average prices published by the state every six months. The stated prices effective 3/31/2011 are $3.217 for gasoline and $3.584 for diesel. Other taxes also includes a local sales tax applied that is comprised of county and city cpg taxes weighted by population.”

        http://www.api.org/Oil-and-Natural-Gas-Overview/Industry-Economics/~/media/Files/Statistics/State_Motor_Fuel_Excise_Tax_Update.ashx

        (more data can be found here: http://www.api.org/Oil-and-Natural-Gas-Overview/Industry-Economics/Fuel-Taxes.aspx )

        • SallyForth says:

          um hmmm… And I’m really going to make book on numbers fed to us by the Petroleum Institute, aka, oil industry lap dog.

          I stick with my original statement: Georgia has one of the lowest gasoline taxes in the United States. It also has perhaps the worst traffic problem in the U.S. ‘See the connection?

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      Not only was it the Tea Party’s unholy alliance with the DeKalb County NAACP (and DeKalb Commissioner Lee May who represents one of the most powerful black constituencies in the state in South DeKalb), but it also an even stranger alliance with the Sierra Club, which if you recall, one of the key figures that helped lead the way in the defeat of the wildly-unpopular Northern Arc a decade ago which was also apart of another seemingly highly-unlikely alliance of conservative exurbanites in the Northern suburbs and exurbs who lived near or close the path of the proposed road and Intown and South Metro urbanites who objected to $2 billion being spent on the construction of a rural/exurban bypass instead of transit in the urban and suburban area.

      People may laugh under their breath when they hear or even think about the Sierra Club, but the Sierra Club shouldn’t be taken lightly as they are now in a very major way responsible for the defeat of two roadbuilding-heavy proposals in the past decade in the $2 billion Northern Arc and the even bigger $6-8 billion T-SPLOST in a region that is notoriously automobile-dependent.

      • SallyForth says:

        Good points, LDIG. One would think that the Sierra Club would be more interested in our having some cleaner, less-petroleum-polluted air to breathe in metro Atlanta, huh? Maybe I’d better think again about my membership the next time I get a dues statement….

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          The Sierra Club is interested in having cleaner air in Metro Atlanta, but anything that starts with a proposed new road being built anywhere is a non-starter for them, especially a new road (the Sugarloaf Parkway Extension) that is proposed to be built with T-SPLOST in the preserved right-of-way of the abandoned and cancelled Northern Arc in Gwinnett, a project that set off a whispering voice campaign that the T-SPLOST was funding a resurrection of the Northern Arc/Outer Perimeter, a project that was originally proposed to be a toll road, but was hurredly placed on the T-SPLOST project list by Gwinnett officials after the angry public reaction to the i-85 HOT Lanes debacle last October, which is another event that took a humongous bite of public support from the T-SPLOST.

          Ironically, it was Colleen Kiernan, director of the Georgia chapter of the Sierra Club, that warned of the likely very negative impact that the inclusion in the project list of the Sugarloaf Parkway Extension would have on the outcome of the T-SPLOST referendum shortly after it was added to the list in the midst of the I-85 HOT Lanes debacle.
          http://saportareport.com/blog/2011/10/metro-atlanta-turning-winning-season-for-transit-into-a-losing-one/

            • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

              Well basically, but it’s not just the Sierra Club as a lot of conservative suburbanites and exurbanites who think that they may find themselves in or near the path of an oncoming new road will listen to them and turn to them in a heartbeat if they think that it’ll stop that road that they don’t want.

              The Sierra Club has had a lot of help from a litany of groups across the political spectrum from left to right these last two times out that they defeated the Northern Arc and the T-SPLOST.

              We seem to have reached the point where anything that might even remotely be perceived as a massive amount of roadbuilding is likely not politically feasible and we seem to have been at this point for over a decade without possibly even being keenly aware of it on a wide scale.

            • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

              The Sierra Club are harder-than-hardcore environmentalists who care nothing about road-heavy proposals, or roads at all, in most cases.

              And they get a lot of attention from overdevelopment and sprawl-wary suburbanites and exurbanites who think that the construction of new roads are only to benefit roadbuilders and developers who profit from adding more of the overdevelopment and sprawl that they’ve come to hate.

  8. Harry says:

    This election should put to rest for good the notion that Marta is the popular & inevitable future of the region. It was a very foolish attempt to use massive amounts of T-SPLOST collections to feed Marta.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      You mean that it was a very foolish attempt to use massive amounts of regional public money (through T-SPLOST) to feed WHAT’S LEFT of Marta.

      T-SPLOST (only very minimally at best) attempted to put off the inevitable, which is the imminent looming collapse of MARTA.

    • Baker says:

      Wow. When was the last time either of you rode MARTA? I recognize ridership isn’t what it should be, but ya’ll ever seen Five Points or 10th Street Stations at rush hour? A lot of people use MARTA and someday when it’s coverage area is expanded beyond a plus sign, a lot more people will use it.

      • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

        I agree that, despite it’s rapidly-declining ridership numbers and the current state of severe death spiral that it is in, MARTA is in utilized by a lot of people, enough to be the difference between a frequently gridlocked Downtown Connector and a totally impassable Downtown Connector at rush hour.

        I also agree that a lot more people will use mass transit if and when the service area is extended out beyond it’s current severely-limited reach.

        But the transit service that those additional people use likely won’t be MARTA, as MARTA most likely does not even make to the end of the decade in its current financial state.

        And when people say that MARTA is not the future of the region, they are not necessarily saying that mass transit is not the future of the region, they are often saying that the current mismanaged and visually unattractive and very much unappealing bungle that is MARTA is not the future of the region.

        If transit advocates want transit to have any sort of future in the auto-overdependent Atlanta Region, they are going to have to come up with something that is infinitely a heckuva a lot better than the third world-like transportation malaise that is MARTA.

        Just like the state has do infinitely much better than the laughingstock that is currently GDOT, the organization that has trouble doing routine things like performing simple accounting and balancing a checkbook.

          • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

            What is visually unattractive about MARTA? Where to begin?

            Let’s start with that ugly drab, gray kind of dark post-modernistic utilitarian look that is a hallmark of many of their stations and facilities, many of which are not anywhere near as overly well-lit as they should be for public spaces and look like some big dark, gray hulking spaceship-like structures that don’t necessarily fit in all that well with the historic or downscale architecture of the surrounding communities they are in and some of which have exteriors which look to be dirty and uncleaned.

            The inside of their railcars, which look like the inside of a burger joint.

            The logo and the color scheme which has some ugly futuristic-looking lettering next to or on top of a tacky blue, gold and redish orange symbol.

            The outside of the railcars are an ugly post-modern looking metal with the tacky blue, gold & red MARTA stripe running through a black background at the ends of the railcars.

            Not to mention both the actual and perceived lack of security presence in many instances, MARTA just is not all that visually attractive or visually inviting with all of the appeal of some kind of drab, gray post-modernistic prison-industrial complex or something.

            • Baker says:

              I like the color scheme of their logo, it’s all I’ve known my whole life….however, I get what you were saying now. I have lamented this previouly. I saw this story a while back about the stations in Sweden and had to go find it again. It’s amazing. I definitely wish we could do something like that, but unfortunately the government of America/ Atlanta does its damndest to make everything “sanitary” (read: drab) and no excitement or creativity is allowed. There is a group in Atlanta called Living Walls that is trying to do something along these lines.

              Two links for you: 1) The story about the Swedish rail from the Daily Mail
              http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1355246/Underground-art-Amazing-pictures-beauty-Swedish-subway-system.html

              and 2) the link to the Living Walls Atlanta page
              http://livingwallsconference.com/index.php?/artists1/atlanta-murals-2011/
              (My favorite is the crocodile one near the Atlanta City Courthouse on Mitchell St.)

              • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

                Thanks very much for the links as that’s what I am talking about and examples like that would be a definite huge step in the right direction to making the system much more visually appealing.

                Though I might tempted to go one giant step further and tear down the system down to its excellent frame of N-S, E-W transit lines and rebuild many of the above ground stations and above ground facades into something that fit it with the area’s Southern Heritage with stations that featured lots of traditional and historical architecture with Southern, Colonial and Victorian architectural styles at most stations and a few Greco-Roman styles at a few select major stations.

                I would just about completely trash the postmodern industrial and utilitarian architectural styles of the 1970’s and go with an architectural style that was much more quaint, homely and inviting at most stations with much more lighting both inside and outside of stations and a much more visible and vigilant security presence that included both lots of uniformed and plain-clothed cops.

                I would also get rid of the current MARTA logo and color scheme and not-so-very appealing railcars and go with something that was much more retro and vintage on both the interiors and exteriors of railcars and stations.

          • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

            Sample from the MARTA Comprehensive Annual Financial Report-
            Year Ended June 30, 2010
            Long-Term Financial Planning
            At the outset of the FY 2010-12 Operating Budget Financial Plan and FY 2010 Operating Budget Development Process,
            a total multi-year (2009-2012) financial shortfall of $441.5M has been forecasted.
            http://www.itsmarta.com/uploadedFiles/About_MARTA/Reports/2010%20CAFR%20Approved%20Final%2013111.pdf

            Figures from the MARTOC Report, Fiscal Year ending July 30, 2011-
            Total Operating Revenue and Capital Funding $695,346,000
            Total Operating Expenses and Capital Expenditures $ 724,771,000
            Total Operating Revenues $364,724,000
            Total Operating Expenses $395,576,000
            http://www.itsmarta.com/uploadedFiles/About_MARTA/Reports/2011%20MARTOC%20Report%20092011.pdf

          • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

            And also, while MARTA might have received $600 million for rehab out of the passage of the T-SPLOST, it still would have had a long-term deficit of around $2 billion.

            I say that MARTA is in a death spiral because everytime that has to cut service, it loses riders, which means that it loses more revenues, which means that it has to cut more service, which means that it loses more riders, which means that it loses more revenues, which means that it has to cut more service, which means that it loses more riders and so on and so on.

            It’s a vicious cycle of decline that has seen a heavy rail service that used to run trains every 7-10 minutes now run heavy rail trains every 15-20 minutes.

            Needless to say, if things keep going like this for MARTA, there likely will not be a MARTA within a decade.

        • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

          The whole idea should be transit users paying for transit through distance and zone-based fares subsidized with private financing and Tax Increment Financing (property tax revenue from new development along transit lines) as opposed to being only subsidized sales tax increases.

            • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

              Fares pay for 78% of the costs on BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) under their distance-based and zone-based fare collection system in Northern California.

              “Fare-paying customers account for 78% of the operating funds in the FY13 budget. The second largest source of operating revenue, dedicated money from sales taxes, is expected to increase by 5%.”
              http://www.bart.gov/news/articles/2012/news20120614a.aspx

              If transit here in North Georgia (not necessarily MARTA, but likely a successor to it) could generate up to 80% of the operating funds through fares, we could easily cover the other 20% of operating costs through private investment and Tax Increment Financing and have more than enough left over to actually be in the black.

              • JacobenAtlanta says:

                Didn’t see this post LDIG. It answers my question about what alternative you propose. Agree with you completely, Marta (or other transit agency) needs distance and zone-based fares.

              • Self_Made says:

                Yet another chapter in your never ending pounding of MARTA, LDIG.

                In all your crowing about “distance based fares” being THE funding solution, when comparing MARTA to other systems, you sometimes throw in the state’s restrictions on MARTA’s spending, but rarely mention that other systems get much more tax support.

                BART benefits from a regional sales tax, regional property taxes, AND state assistance…in addition to it’s distance based fares. Try making sure your fans know that you’re comparing an apple to a lemon when talking about adequate funding solutions.

                • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

                  Yes, the common “but other systems get much more tax support [from their state governments]” argument.

                  But MARTA is in a state with a political environment that just became very unique where not only is additional state funding not coming to roads, but also where current state funding is being taken away from roads (per the just-defeated T-SPLOST) and additional state funding is not coming and to mass transit anytime soon and never really was coming to mass transit with the exception of said just-defeated T-SPLOST referendum which would have provided $600 million for MARTA rehab if passed.

                  Since state funding is not coming to MARTA or mass transit of any kind anytime soon, that’s what the suggestion for increasing the amount of operating costs recovered from fares up to 80% by switching to a distance-based fare structure and then covering the remaining 20% with private investment and Tax Increment Financing is for.

                  The State of Georgia has never contributed funding to MARTA and never will and for MARTA advocates to think that they can somehow force a very conservative extremely cash-strapped state government to suddenly start funding MARTA is pure fantasy and is likely one of the reasons, along with said lack-of-state support, extreme mismanagement and a close to $3 billion (and growing) long-term operating deficit, that MARTA likely will not make it to the end of the decade.

                • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

                  And if you think that I’m rough on MARTA then you should see me when I’m down on GDOT and it’s mismanaging parent, the Georgia Legislature, to the point of Charlie and the guys wanting to banish me from the Peach Pundit website.

                  Hell hath no fury like a commuter scorned.

  9. Rick Day says:

    Eric, when I sat on the local neighborhood board, we were handed a packet of ‘pet’ projects – a veritable basket of plums if the tax increase passed. You could just feel the urge to lay back and accept this as something ‘good’ and inevitable.

    There was something in there for every board member, including me ( some desperately needed upgrade from 1960’s sidewalks).

    Still, even though it was to my benefit short term, I voted against it. Also, I would have ate the pennies because of our ‘whole dollar’ pricing structure in the business.

    I’d eat those zinc wafers if it was for good of all. But it was not, so I did not.

    Well typed. Thank you for typing it.

  10. seekingtounderstand says:

    Gov. Deal please start a ” Georgia Can’t Wait” tranportation improvements thru executive order.
    Move Ga state Workers to exurbia for instant traffic relief.
    Raise Gas tax.
    Give ga workers tax credits for telecommuting that actually are attractive enough to encourage them to change working habits.
    Then lead the DOT (they have suffered from lack of leadership) to Georgias Future.
    Do this today as Georgia Can’t Wait!

  11. eburke says:

    Here in the CSRA where the T-SPLOST did pass, there is still much skepticism about the leadership in the General Assembly and at DOT. None the less, our local leaders did a good job selecting projects that will benefit our communities with a lot of emphasis on moving goods through the area and to the port of Savannah. While I personally am very suspicious of DOT and what the State will do with the funds that were coming to our area, I saw that the projects would benefit our citizens and that they would never be built if we waited on the Georgia DOT. We are too low a priority for the State to work on projects that we in East Georgia deem as important. Most of the Counties in our region have a good reputation of being frugal with the tax payers money and doing what they say. The credibility of the local leaders helped pass this program in East Georgia in spite of the lack of credibility by the State Government officials.

  12. elfiii says:

    You’re all wrong. The reason TSPLOST went TSPLAT is simple. If the Georgia General Assembly is stupid enough to let me decide whether or not I am going to pay more taxes, the answer is no, every time, all the time.

    Excellent analysis Erick, especially this part:

    “Voters are tired of the political class in Georgia. They do not trust them. They are pretty sure the political class does not care for them and the feeling is now largely mutual.”

    • Calypso says:

      I disagree elfii. If I see something that provides a benefit to me, which equals or outweighs its cost to me, I would be stupid not to embrace it. That benefit was not apparent in TSPLOST.

  13. Napoleon says:

    They should have just scheduled for an obscure Tuesday in March and said it was, “for the children.”

    If they had done that, just like with all the Education SPLOSTs, it would have passed.

  14. wicker says:

    @Daddy Got A Gun:

    Oh please. Cobb and the other suburban counties have been rejecting MARTA for 40 years. Here’s the amazing thing: had Cobb, Gwinnett and the other counties joined MARTA, they’d be on the governing board. Since the suburban population now dwarfs the ITP population, the suburbs would have controlled MARTA long ago. And the state would have kicked in more money, giving the state the RIGHT to do more than just oversight. But the problem is that the folks in the suburbs don’t want to come to the table with the folks in Atlanta-Fulton-DeKalb. Never have, never will.

    If it is not one excuse it is another. And what makes you think that outsourcing its management will magically fix all its problems? In plenty of cities and states, outsourcing and privatizing government functions has been a fiasco. It also was on the federal level during the “outsourced” Iraq War that George W. Bush fought. Funny … the folks in Cobb care a lot more about MARTA than Blackwater and Halliburton and that hundreds of billions that went down the drain. Gee, wonder why?

    It is all about power. The suburbanites don’t want MARTA because they don’t like who controls MARTA. We all know the reason why, but just let it go unspoken. Well fine. But here’s the deal: if you don’t want to work with Atlanta-DeKalb in a power sharing arrangement with everyone being equals, then go it alone. Don’t demand to control assets that Fulton-DeKalb owns and is funded by Fulton-DeKalb tax dollars. Don’t demand that money from Fulton-DeKalb go to pay for highway projects (which mostly benefits the suburbs) while you blanch at paying into MARTA, and yes that does include gasoline taxes, of which Fulton-DeKalb residents, commuters and tourists pay plenty.

    I know about the Cobb T-SPLOST. The Marietta Daily Journal is very proud of it. But here’s the deal: traffic in Cobb County stinks, and would be worse if the regional economy was still as white hot as it was before the dot.com bubble broke. Counties can do their own little projects, but there isn’t the resources, expertise or will to take on regional projects like major highways and transit. Also, even if Cobb did try to do major projects on its own, without coordination it won’t do any good. Cobb traffic and Cobb commuters would still be impacted by what goes on in Fulton, DeKalb and Gwinnett. That is the difference between Fulton/DeKalb and Cobb. With the MARTA tax, they contribute to transportation needs beyond their little fiefdom. The rest of the metropolitan region doesn’t. And until the rest of the metropolitan region does, Fulton-DeKalb shouldn’t pay a penny more because A) they are paying more than their fair share and B) it won’t do any good anyway, especially to the residents of Fulton and DeKalb. Anything beyond improving the surface streets, local traffic, will benefit suburbanite commuters (free riders who use city services without paying taxes for it), not city taxpayers.

  15. seekingtounderstand says:

    Georgia needs group therapy!

    KISS Hey GOP how about giving out some of that corporate welfare incentives in the form of
    money for developing telecommuting and bus riders?
    This would seem to help us overnight, but hey when would we ever do anything where politicans didn’t get a cut.

  16. Scott65 says:

    Well “The Deal” has spoken…no more rail for you…bad bad Atlanta people. Congrats to the NAACP and Sierra Club…now you will have nothing…at all…for a LONG time

Comments are closed.