WSB Poll Shows Uphill Battle For Transportation Funding

WSB has a new poll conducted statewide of 800 voters on the subject of transportation funding.  The poll was conducted by Landmark Communications (the ones we defended here a lot during the campaign for being generally correct) by auto response, with a margin of error of 3.5%.  Not surprisingly, a public that has had four years of campaigns promising they are “taxed enough already” aren’t quite ready to say “please raise my taxes”.   First, the results:

1) “Generally speaking, would you support or oppose an increase in the gas tax to fund maintenance of existing roads and bridges.”

Support:  23.2
Oppose: 60.7
Undecided: 16.1

2) Generally speaking, would you support or oppose an increase of one cent of the existing statewide sales tax to fund maintenance of existing roads and bridges:

Support:  32.3
Oppose: 52.3
Undecided: 15.4

3) Generally speaking, if an increase in the gas tax was offset by a reduction in the income tax rate, would you support or oppose?

Support:  35.1
Oppose:   26.4
Undecided:  38.5

4) Generally speaking, should all of the funds be spent on road improvements or should some of these funds be spent on mass transit improvements as well?

Funds should be spent on road improvements only:  37.2
Funds should be spent on mass transit improvements as well:  40.8
Undecided: 22

Naturally, I reached out to our Editor in Chief Charlie Harper, who also has been working on transportation advocacy, and found him on a ledge.  He still managed to answer a few questions while he appeared to be also pondering gravity, vertical acceleration, and the likely landing spot.

Me:  So, are you surprised people don’t want to raise taxes?

Harper:  Despite our best efforts, no.  And we’re not at a point where the public has engaged at a level to understand what we’re talking about, and the magnitude of our problems.  The study committee’s work on this issue was great, very detailed, and held in public forums.  But most of the public was more concerned with UGA football during the time they were meeting.  And honestly, who among us shouldn’t have been?

Me:  So, what does this poll tell us?

Harper: That we should take back all the nice things we wrote about Rountree?

Me: Other than the obvious.

Harper:  Well, the answers show that the public has feelings they’ve yet to quantify, or they would have different answers – or at least different proportions.

Me: How so?

Harper:  The first question just asks about an unspecified increase in the gas tax.  It doesn’t give an amount.  Could be a single cent per gallon, could be $1 – as was recently in the news by a Conservative columnist, Krauthammer I believe – who thinks we should do this as a matter of energy policy but offset it with a cut in FICA taxes so that it’s generally revenue neutral to lower wage earners.  We don’t know an amount they have a 60% aversion to.  The study committee recommended an option of a ten cent increase in gas taxes.  That would still put us slightly below taxes collected in NC and FL, and would raise $600M…

Me:  You talk faster than I can type.

Harper:  You went to college out of state didn’t you?  I’ll try to talk slower…. So, the next question that is 8% more favorable to those polled calls for a 1% increase in the statewide sales tax.  That would raise $1.4 Billion dollars.  So we’re to conclude from this poll that at least 8% of Georgians oppose raising $600M, but favor raising $1.4 Billion.  And, by the way, all of this was for “existing roads and bridges”.  There’s no mention of new projects, congestion relief, etc.

Me:  So you’re saying…

Harper:  I’m saying it’s likely realistic of where we are with the general public.  The same people, if asked, would likely say “someone should do something” with respect to traffic.  They would say -as they did for an AJC poll recently- that they favor transit options but want someone else to pay for it.  It’s not a surprise that people want stuff, but hate taxes.  But they’re going to have to have more information of what the needs are, how they will be met, and how much it will cost individual Georgia drivers.

Me: Any bright spots?

Harper: Despite as noted above from the AJC poll that these folks are opposed to taxes, they are willing to weigh in on how to spend the money.  And the attitudes toward transit are changing.  Note again this is statewide, and 40.8 percent of people believe some unspecified amount should go to transit.  While transit won’t be a solution everywhere, we have to understand transit’s role in the inner core of Atlanta, as well as the proximity to transit being a reason for many of the large corporate relocations we’ve seen recently both in Atlanta and in Sandy Springs.

Me:  Closing thoughts?

Harper: Other than where I will land?

Me: I mean before you jump.

Harper: Oh, well, I guess I’d like to see the question, asked this way:  ‘Would you favor paying $5 per month if you had a level of confidence that major statewide construction projects would be undertaken to relieve congestion on your commute, and GDOT could return to a maintenance schedule that keeps our roads repaved and bridges safe?’  Because at the end of the day, however we get there, the cost to the average driver would likely increase between $5-$10 per month.  It’s not a trivial amount and any time the government looks for new revenue the discussion had better be serious and not trivial.  But we also shouldn’t make policy decisions for 25 year time horizons based on IVR polls of a public that has yet to be engaged on an issue.  So if we’re going to solve this problem, it’s clear we have some work to do.

Me: And how much of that work can you get done on that ledge?

Harper:  Fine. I’ll get to work.  But get off my lawn.

64 comments

  1. Just Nasty and Mean says:

    Republican lawmakers are playing with fire, here, and I am not sure they recognize it.
    NO Republican was sent to the state house or governor’s mansion based on a plan to increase taxes! Are we Republicans or not–and do we support conservative principles of smaller and less intrusive government, lower taxes, and conservative fiscal policies?
    Well????
    My message is this: If investing in the transportation infrastructure is a priority, then by all means, make it a priority! But take the new revenue from the growth in the economy, from other programs with a lower priority, and arrange fees (tolls), PPPs, mandate gas taxes be invested in transportation projects (NOT BIKE LANES, sidewalks and viewscapes!).
    I like the 400 model. User fees until the debt is retired then REMOVE the tolls.
    Act like fiscal conservatives! Vote like it’s YOUR money! Stick to Republican principles.
    Net: Make do with what you have. No new taxes!
    Otherwise, expect a split in the party separating those who are taxers, and those who are not.

    • Charlie says:

      Jon Richards did a post Monday showing both Georgia’s tax revenues by source and spending by source. Please specify which places you want the money taken from to find the $2 Billion needed at the state level to meet minimum maintenance and “essential” projects on GDOT’s list.

      I can find you $750 Million. I think there’s another $400M that can be phased in over a couple/few years. That’s still going to leave you needing about a $Billion per year.

      Every suggestion is on the table, so please be specific. Adding all caps to every fifth word only makes you louder, but it doesn’t make you more clear.

      You should also be aware the tolls on the managed lanes are designed to control capacity, not to recover construction costs. If they were, they would be fixed and much higher. The folks in Gwinnett are paying $4.24 average/day to use those lanes “we already paid for”, and the system isn’t expected to do much better than break even.

      The gas tax increase proposal would cost an average GA driver between $5-$10 per month. Your tolls would cost them that per day.

      Your line about bike lanes and sidewalks is a federal problem, and we’re talking about increasing state funding to reduce our dependence on federal funding of GDOT, which right now accounts for almost 60% of GDOT’s budget. When you’re screaming “stick to Republican principles”, please explain to me how ensuring that our transportation infrastructure remains dependent on federal funds and federal regulations fits in with your mantra.

      I’m sorry that reality has crashed into your bumper sticker worldview. Work with us and we can solve the problem. But remaining nasty and mean reeks of petulance and generally won’t be rewarded with a seat at the table.

    • Bobloblaw says:

      Correct. Republicans wee not put on this earth to raise taxes…period.

      If you want taxes raised, vote Dem

  2. Andrew C. Pope says:

    Charlie, Marketplace ran a story tonight on Pennsylvania’s move to use pre-fabricated bridge parts. The benefits were that prefab bridge pieces were cheaper and stronger than poured concrete and bridges could be constructed in significantly less time. I was curious if the y’all looked at prefab bridge construction and what your thoughts were on it.

    Here’s the story:
    http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/pennsylvania-installs-prefab-bridges

    • saltycracker says:

      Read an article a couple years ago, the pre-fabs steel structures were engineered and welded in China and assembled by local labor. They had the computerization, the skilled and steel, we had the labor ! It went on to list the state’s like CA working with local companies that outsourced. Eye opener.

      Maybe some local firms caught on and can now do the pre-fab but the article didn’t really say.

    • Charlie says:

      Helpful information but I’ll avoid getting that granular. GDOT is being run by engineers in the top 3 positions and I’ll defer to them on best bang for the buck construction methods. In general, however, Commissioner Golden did refer to the types of items including construction practices during the study committee hearings where they have emphasized making sure our tax dollars go as far as possible.

      • saltycracker says:

        “Making sure our tax dollars go as far as possible.”
        That is the heart of the article I quoted. Pre-fab was good, the source was the debate.
        Local contractors to be low bid, while passing performance evaluations, outsourced to far away places. The local workers and suppliers protested the use of their tax monies.

        Should we pay more for public works that conform to requirements that have little to do with the goal ? We can look no further than the many local firms set up with wives and minorities for bidding on public jobs. It gets really interesting when those firms are advanced public monies to be able to perform.

        It’s a tough situation. Should we spend a bit more to do business locally. I think so. But how much ?

    • Ellynn says:

      Technically, most new from scratch sturural bridges use some per-fabricated parts. Pre-fab means they are built off site. Almost all long horizontal members are made off site, as are the vertical cased beams. Existing bridges that are expanded or widened are the more expensive poured in place kind, since you have to match the existing condition of the structure. The majority of the large scale cost and time/labor issues come from soil and footing cost. Every site is different and some Georgia soil and locations are challenging. The actual bridge parts might not cost as much as moving all the ground and making the surface pads for the few hundred feet of road connecting the two.

  3. saltycracker says:

    Is overhauling the tax code to make it simpler, increase participants, close loopholes, that results in lower %’s but more revenue a tax increase ?
    Or is getting the same revenue from fewer folks, tax neutral ?

    • Charlie says:

      ALL options are still on the table. The biggest sales tax exemption is for groceries, but several key Dems I’ve heard from tell me that’s an absolute non-starter. That said, let’s get specific “loopholes” out there for discussion and see which ones stick.

      • saltycracker says:

        Agree – For openers, tax free food is an equitable sticker, tax free internet purchases, not so. Tax free days, a stunt.

        • saltycracker says:

          Taxes are also used to change/punish/reward behavior – alcohol, cigarettes, gas…
          A $0.50 @gal. gas tax is smarter/more useful for the public than a $7,500 subsidy to an individual buying an electric car.

          • Charlie says:

            I think the low hanging fruit is eliminating the $5,000 credit for electric cars and putting an annual tag fee closer to the annual amount of gas tax paid by conventional cars on these cars.

            That’s about $25M/year on the incentive and another $1.5M/year on the tag fee, and growing each year.

            • gcp says:

              Low hanging fruit is GATE card, probably 30 to 40 million lost to state and a little less lost to locals each year. Also eliminate 58 million for the private school scholarship subsidy (good luck on eliminating that one).

  4. Rambler14 says:

    Thankfully we have a legislature who realizes the economic impact of continuing to underfund infrastructure in this state. At least, I hope we do.

    Is it going to take a major event like a bridge collapsing for people to be shaken up and realize?

    • Lea Thrace says:

      “Is it going to take a major event like a bridge collapsing for people to be shaken up and realize?”

      Call me a pessimist but I think the answer to that question is unfortunately yes. Our legislature is (as a whole) spineless and gutless. They will take this session and spend the time focusing on religious freedom, abortion, freebies to lobbyists and of course the gays more than likely. Cause that is clearly what is priority in GA. They will only pay lip service to things like jobs, transportation, and education. I hope they prove me wrong. But I doubt they will.

        • Ellynn says:

          The maintance scheduling for review had been redused, as was the amounts spent statewide on replacement not increased to meet inflation. The fault in this steel bridge came about due to long term overloading and long term weather and salting. If the level of review and replacement had been sustained, there is a high likelyhood the structural cracking would have been caught earlier or the bridge replaced before it failed.

  5. TheEiger says:

    If the gas tax really needs to be increased (I have advocated for that multiple times on this blog) then the legislature should man up and do. Governing by ballot initiative is the dumbest thing in the world, but our folks at the gold dome will probably put whatever they come up with to a vote for the people. That just delays what needs to be done because a tax hike will never pass by ballot initiative. Anyone that thinks so is lying to themselves.

    With gasoline below two dollars right now, the state could increase the gas tax by 5 cents a month for the next 6 months and no one would have a clue. What we needed is leadership on the issue and what we have are a bunch of people scared that they will get primaries and lose their lofty position as a state rep. If you get a primary raise the money like you are suppose to and run a campaign. Sell the voters on your accomplishments. If you have nothing to sell the voters on you deserve to be voted out.

    • Charlie says:

      The study committee report indicates a total need between $3BN and $5BN. Thus, I don’t discount the need for further TSPLOSTS and other local initiatives to fill the gap from the $1.5BN to $2BN the state needs to raise.

      But we have a few other proposals that have the state taking the roughly $750M we currently tax on gas and moving it to GDOT, then jumping to those “optional” taxes which aren’t optional once they’re passed.

      The problem with skipping that middle step of getting GDOT closer to $2BN is that it really skips new state construction money. And the problem there is we end up with the problem we had with Atlanta’s T-SPLOST. It was a lot of money thrown at local politically acceptable projects that didn’t necessarily tie together to meet the state/regional need.

      The referendums for “optional” taxes need to be for “optional” projects. The state needs to step up – without punting to voters – to take care of the needs that have been clearly articulated.

      • TheEiger says:

        I look at TSPLOSTs as what they are. A local option for a local project. It’s easier to sell voters in Roswell on the idea of an additional tax to get rid of the suicide lane on highway 9 and the river. How many people know what I’m talking about? A few maybe. But why would I ask people in Buckhead or East Cobb or Valdosta to vote on this project? I shouldn’t because it’s a local issue.

        TSPLOSTs are great for local projects, but are failures as statewide or even regional solutions. We have already been down that road.

        “The state needs to step up – without punting to voters – to take care of the needs that have been clearly articulated.” I would add one more line. Or we will find someone to do your job for you.

      • Rambler14 says:

        “It was a lot of money thrown at local politically acceptable projects that didn’t necessarily tie together to meet the state/regional need.”

        You’re assuming the Governor (the sole person right now choosing which projects get built and which projects don’t) is acting to meet the state/regional need.

  6. Charlie says:

    I’d like to amend the question I posed above closer to the reality that taxpayers would likely ultimately be seeing with a gas tax increase:

    Would you favor paying $5 more per month if 1) you had a level of confidence that major statewide construction projects would be undertaken to relieve congestion on your commute, 2) GDOT could return to a maintenance schedule that keeps our roads repaved and bridges safe, and 3) The state redirected $5 per month that you’re currently paying in taxes elsewhere toward solving the state’s transportation problems.

    That, essentially, is what is on the table, if we’re going to do what is needed, and not what is relatively easy, politically.

    • blakeage80 says:

      So this extra $10 per month will bring us the extra 3-5 billion the funding study committee says we need? Assuming the answer is yes:
      1)My commute is less than 10 minutes and there is currently a project underway that will shorten it even further. I know, I’m spoiled. However, for the other poor souls out there, I support this idea.
      2)Everyone’s answer should be ‘yes’
      3)This would be a good faith move by the State and would make the extra fiver a month more palatable, I’m sure.

      Did I hear Erickson on the radio the other day telling listeners that raising taxes wasn’t necessary? That the money is there, just not prioritized correctly?

      • gt7348b says:

        Did he mention where this money was? Because if you actually read any of the reports or presentations given to the study committee, you know that the funding is far short of what is coming in. Also, 2/3 of the funding for transportation according to the lovely post earlier this week is coming from federal sources. I tend to discount most talk radio since they’re there to create an audience and are rated on listeners, not actually presenting information.

        • blakeage80 says:

          Yeah, he is such a tease. He broke for traffic before he said anything of substance and I got out of the car before he came back on. Who knows. I did read the reports, but, when it comes to governments and money, I always figure there is more to it. (pardon my skepticism) Perhaps that’s the root of this uphill battle that transportation funding faces, a general distrust that any government, no matter how Republican, is running efficiently and that it’s needs aren’t overstated. I do believe the committee’s finding that the need is 3-5bil and I find it hard to believe that there is that much room for fraud and waste in Georgia’s expenditures.

        • Harry says:

          Pull the school personnel off deferred benefit pension plan and put them on social security and a deferred compensation retirement plan like the rest of us. Apply the pension savings to road improvements at local level with the 1% sales tax redirected from the general fund to transportation for larger-scope state projects. With the increased revenue the state is currently receiving, it’s a good time to redirect that 1%. Most needed improvements are local in nature and need to be addressed by the cities/counties, not the state.

          Raising taxes is unnecessary and counterproductive.

          • Charlie says:

            That 1% is $180M, and it’s included in virtually every plan that I’ve seen. It’s also roughly ten percent of the minimum needed just to do maintenance and essential projects. Most other plans also include the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th percent depending on locality being shifted to GDOT. That gets you to roughly $750M, not quite half way there, using funds currently in the system.

            Rasing taxes is unnecessary and counterproductive – that’s when you’re back into bumper sticker world without solutions. And while you at least offered your usual pet peeve, there is no one at the capitol I’m aware of from either party that will consider stripping state employees of pensions. I’d suggest you go back and look at my endorsement of Gary Black in November where he talked about turnover and state employee pay. While you like to treat each state employee as if they’re stealing your money, most people actually trying to govern understand that to hire competent people you’re going to have to have a competitive pay package. Strip the pension, and you’re going to have to pay more, or you’ll pay more through constant turnover and incompetence.

            That said, you offered $180M, and I raised you to $750M before any new revenue is required. Given that most state employees have had 0 to 3% pay raises total since 2008, I think we’ve squeezed as much blood from the turnips in state employee pay we’re going to get. The truth is everyone knows as the economy improves we’re going to have to pay them more to remain competitive, not cut their pay, if we’re going to retain them. So your other idea is more about your grievances against government workers than it is a potential solution.

            • gcp says:

              “Strip the pension, and you’re going to have to pay more, or you’ll pay more through constant turnover and incompetence.”

              Dunwoody and most of the new metro cities don’t have defined benefit plans for their employees yet the employee quality has not suffered in fact its probably higher than counties and state. True the new cities may pay slightly higher salaries but that cost is nothing compared to the cost of a defined benefit pension.

              • blakeage80 says:

                While I understand your point of view here, an overhaul that major should probably not be roped in with transportation funding, unless you never want anything to get done about either.

                • gcp says:

                  Well yes it would take some initiative from our legislature to make structural budget changes but its needed. The state contribution to TRS for 2016 will be %14.27. It could be halved under a defined contribution plan. This change could be implemented immediately for new hires and those not vested.

                  Some of these bureaucrats, contractors, consultants and planners tell us we will be in crisis mode unless we get new funding for transportation which is what we also hear about Medicaid and education.

                  Our state budget is one budget with a lot of parts. We need to explore all options before we institute new taxes.

                  • blakeage80 says:

                    So, let’s say we implement this immediately for new hires. How many years will it be before we realize the billion or so per year we need to maintain what we have properly?

                    • gcp says:

                      Don’t have those figures but we have about 111000 public school teachers in Georgia so the savings would increase over time.

              • Charlie says:

                I think the idea would have merit, but note that is very specifically not what Harry is arguing for. He wants state employees to have no pension other than social security, which isn’t a pension plan, and not one anyone serious about retirement planning recommends you plan to solely rely on.

                That said, I also agree with blakeage. Given that it’s not an issue on the table, that would be a heavy lift to do in 36 days remaining of one session that is already loaded up. And I have no idea what the immediate transition costs would be moving from one to another, but I would doubt that the savings would be immediate.

                • Harry says:

                  No Charlie, as I have previously stated recently on at least a couple of posts, I’m fine with also availing teachers and other government employees a defined contribution plan which allows for an employer contribution at some percentage of the employee’s elected deduction, similar to say a hospital 403B plan.

                  • gcp says:

                    I like the state to match employee’s contribution up to a set percentage of total salary. Would be much cheaper than the TRS fiscal year 2016 where state funds 14.27 and employee funds 6%. Also employee can take it with him if he leaves early.

                    • Harry says:

                      That would be fair and good for the employee. Why should the government provide the public servants with anything that’s so far better, and after only 30 years or less, than what quality private sector organizations are providing their people who in turn have to pay for the Mercedes retirement of the people who work for us? Doesn’t make sense. The teachers plan needs to pay off the participants and be done. There’s your funding for transportation going forward.

                    • Charlie says:

                      No, I said be specific. You just declared the problem solved with your platitude, but you have absolutely no idea how much your “solution” will save us, nor how soon those savings will be realized.

                      I want a dollar amount, by year for the first 5 years, that switching GA employees from defined benefit to defined contribution will save. And again, you need to be specific. Until then:

                      You’re again banned from commenting on any transportation post until you come back with this answer. Because, as you’ve been warned before, the rest of us that are trying to solve a problem are really beyond tired of you throwing monkey dust in the air to distract everyone with your latent anger at all things government.

                    • gcp says:

                      My very rough calculation is 64 million 1st year. Of course that figure would increase in subsequent years. Also my figure only covers trs.

              • Ellynn says:

                Theydid most of there hires in a down turn. As more private sector jobs are coming online, municipalities and state agencies are seeing turn over.

    • Ellynn says:

      My commute will not be effected.

      However, I live near the only road leading to Tybee Island. It’s a single lane 10 mile long stretch of road. One accident can close off access for 2-5 hours at a time. If it’s durning bad weather, their is no way any one is getting off that island in an emergancy. At least 1 major crash durring the off season happens a month, you can have 4-5 major accidents a month during the summer, with at least one or more fatality a year. If me paying $60 a year to reduce the overall expence on my taxpayer funded emergancy services and someones life, I’m in.

  7. gcp says:

    I have never seen a comprehensive list of how this money will be spent. For instance, the 1.5 billion for “maintenance”; what constitutes maintenance? Is it paving or is it also replacing an Atlanta overpass or replacing a Lake Lanier bridge?

    And the other several billion for new projects, what are these new projects and what is the priority? Does another new interstate lane take priority over a 285/20 makeover?

    We continually talk of funding but its unclear what we will fund.

    • Charlie says:

      The numbers I’m using come from GDOT’s presentation to the Joint Study Committees in August and November. $700M in maintenance (at last year’s revenue number. If the Gov allows the gas tax to adjust downward that number goes up from there).

      Then they presented an essential programs list at the first committee meeting. It was $16BN of projects, spread about equally in metro and non-metro Atlanta. Much of the Atlanta list wasn’t new capacity, but redesigning major interchanges and a rebuild of I-285 across the northside with managed lanes.

      Outside of ATL included the I-75/I-16 interchange in Macon, adding a lane on I-85 to the state line both directions from metro Atlanta, and completion of the GRIP program finishing upgrades of rural highways to create streamlined access corridors.

      That would require $1.5BN per year for 20 years just to complete that, before we get to the really exciting stuff like new roads or transit.

      • gcp says:

        Ok so the 700 is strictly paving or does it include other items such as replacing overpasses?

        Also I see a definite need for those essential items to be listed by priority. Widening of 85 so a commuter can get to Atlanta more quickly from Jackson county should not be a high priority.

        • Charlie says:

          Roads and bridges were $600M. There was another $70-80Million of maintenance but I frankly don’t remember what the line item/category was. Short answer was it was total system maintenance including bridges/overpasses, which seem to be an even more compelling need than repaving in a lot of areas. But we’re also nearing a point where the cost of re-paving will go up substantially as once a road is significantly out of it’s planned repaving cycle you can’t just put more asphalt on top of it, but have to dig much of it up and totally replace it. That is a large driver in the increase in these annual maintenance costs as well.

            • Charlie says:

              While I understand and appreciate the sentiment with which you say that, the hearings WERE public. That’s why I have the information. I and others are working on how best to disseminate this to a wider audience. That’s frankly why I’m spending the time in the comments on this thread. But I also concede that this audience is narrow, though a relatively informed one.

              We’re working on ways to get the data complied and easier to distribute. Will continue to update as we can, where we can.

    • Ellynn says:

      Here is a link to the Final report

      Joint Study Committee on Critical Transportation Infrastructure Funding

  8. Al Gray says:

    TSPLOST in the CSRA region has been exposed as a ruse that is 10% structurally deficient as to revenues, with costs running double what was projected by the regional commission before, and at the time of, passage. The entire 3rd band (40 month phase) is in jeopardy from lack of funds.

    The 75% projects list wasn’t supposed to change, but 2 projects desired by the Augusta National Golf Club that were in the official list in band 3 (that last 40 months that probably will not get built) were allowed to be swapped around by Augusta-Richmond County so that they are now in Band 2. The ANGC got the actual construction of the primary project moved up to Band One by loaning Augusta the money to start right away. No mind was taken to the fact that the funds are REGIONAL, not Augusta’s.

    And no, you won’t read this in the MSM (Morris Straight-jacketed Media), whose publisher is an ANGC member nor will you read about it in any of the county organs that the MSM owns in the CSRA region, all of whom promoted TSPLOST.

    What you might have read is about the “successful” TIA/TSPLOST projects in the CSRA region, but DOT hid the fact that most of the funding for the projects cited are from existing appropriated funds.

    I presented these facts and others to the joint committee when they came to Augusta. I can say that, in all my years of public activism, I have never succeeded in totally stunning a dais of 10 or 12 officials to the point that their jaws all dropped.

    Mr. Jones of Sprint Foods made a very powerful, fact-filled presentation in opposition to raising taxes, but that never made it to the Joint Committee Website.

    Congratulations to most of the state and the TEA PARTIERS in defeating that TIA fraud. You didn’t have to fight the MSM, though.

    There is more and I would gladly appear before the legislature to warn them not to believe DOT’s ‘facts,’ figures, or propaganda until they study all of the ways TSPLOST ‘facts’ were misrepresented 3 years ago.

    The net result of the trickery is that poverty-racked McDuffie county will be providing the funding for that golf course expansion. Every county commissioner in Georgia in a non-TSPLOST county take notice!

    This whole tale is so sordid, yet funny, one must hope it gets out. Who knew that “Critical Transportation Infrastructure” (the Joint Committee’s raison d’etre) could mean a golf course expansion?

  9. Cowabunga says:

    Damn Republicans. Funny y’all didn’t breathe a word during the election. But, you sure did unleash on Jason Carter. Hypocrites and crooks.

    • Al Gray says:

      I hate to break it to you, but Carter thought more TSPLOSTS were the ticket.

      That is when he lost me.

      As for the GOP, they used the same tactics in 2010 with that Tax Reform Council during the hotly contested GOP primary for Governor.

      This time they resolutely refused to disclose the time and place of the Augusta meeting until 2 days before although it was set in coordination with a breakfast down the street announced to insiders weeks before. They would not allow me on the agenda and the Sprint Foods presentation is not on their web site, even though the presenter was on the agenda.

      The assertions that this was an open process are dead wrong.

  10. Will Durant says:

    Generally speaking, what did anyone expect the response to be to a robocall asking about raising taxes?

Comments are closed.