2/8: Will transportation tax be beneficial?

Moderated by Rick Badie

Gridlock chokes economic activity. This we know. Supporters of a 1 percent regional transportation tax say projects funded by the measure would fuel sustainable development.

Today, an executive touts its economic benefits for the Southside while a tax opponent predicts impediments to growth in that region.

Tell us what you think.

15 comments Add your comment

Hillbilly D

February 7th, 2012
7:31 pm

I don’t live in the Atlanta T-SPLOST region but no way am I voting for the T-SPLOST, in my region. Don’t see how it would benefit me or my neighbors.

Train will kill it

February 7th, 2012
8:35 pm

The Cobb train project will kill what otherwise could be a useful plan. The public issue is traffic congestion. Why should Cobb pay for a land development train in Fulton County and lose valuable funding for needed regional road projects? Why should Cobb pay for a train in Fulton when Fulton plans to spend its money on a belt line train for tourists that does nothing for regional traffic? Too bad.

SAWB

February 8th, 2012
12:16 am

This is going to be a tough sell and a difficult decision for a lot of us. There is no doubt that the region needs relief, but no real assurance that he folks asking for the money know what to do. Things like the Hot Lanes, Auburn Avenue Trolley cars, Bohemian Beltline, the idea of using emergency lanes as travel lanes and assorted other issues make me wonder if the folks in charge have a clue. Also, the idea that we must raise taxes to promote growth which inevitably leads to even higher taxes makes me wonder if the “Smart Growth” right now might be no growth at all.

SIGH

February 8th, 2012
7:47 am

OK, and I can flip your arguments around “SAWB” and “Train will kill it”… why should someone in Atlanta, Fulton and Dekalb (who already pay 1 cent for MARTA) fund road projects in Gwinnett, Cobb, Henry, Cherokee, Rockdale, and Douglas Counties then??? It’s a compromise… in-town gets more transit and suburbs get their road improvements and we all pay to help each other…

And by the way, the train line to Cobb is just the first half of it… this tax will be up for renewal in 10 years (we will get to vote again if it passes) and there is a 99.9% chance they will fund the rest of the line to Acworth. You can’t build everything at once!! They have to spread around $6 billion to all of those counties… Cobb isn’t the most special! By the way, $6 billion is just for “regional” projects… they also have $1 billion to spread around for local projects… so there will be more than what you see in that list… the local projects are up to each county/town, not the regional roundtable.

Finally, the Beltline is a feeder system for MARTA.. it connects to MARTA (a system we have already spent a lot of money on) and goes places MARTA can’t. A lot of people don’t ride MARTA because their destination is too far of a walk from the station… the Beltline will solve that issue. It will help build ridership of our existing system and helps the city of Atlanta become less car dependent… which means less traffic for you when you drive into or through the city.

Bryan -- MARTA supporter

February 8th, 2012
8:47 am

@ SIGH February 8th, 2012 7:47 am

I agree completely!!

This is just a starter plan for the region. Unless you want to pay 3 or 4 percent to generate 18 to 24 billion to get everything done at once then don’t complain. Building rail and roads cost money. I doesn’t just pay for itself. The Beltline is a start for a more extensive network of street car and light rail intown. Add the Emory line and the Turner/I-20 heavy rail line and the intown rail network would be pretty good. Extending the Red line north, the Gold line into Gwinnett to around Discovery Mills, a new HEAVY RAIL line to Cumberland and eventually Town Center Mall area, and a HEAVY RAIL line into Clayton to the Jonesboro area will give commuters the option to take transit inside the perimeter and with the intown network of streetcars and light rail, it will give them the option to be car free when they are here.

More rail stations will mean shorter, more direct, more efficient, and more frequent bus service as well. Expanding the Bus Rapid Transit program and more express bus service ITP and OTP would help as well. Cobb, Gwinnett, and Clayton need to understand that you aren’t going to have trains criss crossing their counties like Fulton and Dekalb. But working together as a region you will have some rail to bring you into the city and also money to fund road and highway projects in your suburban counties.

Until we get off that “I don’t want to fund other people’s projects” attitude, the REGION isn’t going to move forward with transit OR road projects. We need trains running to Cobb and down I-20 just as much as we need the I-85/Ga. 400 interchange and Tara Blvd super artery. We need a REGION to make change!!

Out by the Pond

February 8th, 2012
8:48 am

I refuse to ever vote for a regressive tax such as a sales tax. We need leaders who will take that “Profile in Courage” stand and raises the appropriate tax required to fix our infrastructure problems.

And do not believe the published proposed cost of these projects. The four I have completed an analysis of have shone the real cost to be more than triple the proposed cost.

thuja

February 8th, 2012
9:37 am

The problem is that the money is paid by the taxpayers and wasted by the politicians and their cronies. We just don’t believe in the kind of stewardship we get from our elected representatives, so pardon me if I don’t want to give you more money. I need my money for food and shelter.

Corey

February 8th, 2012
9:41 am

Atlanta had plans for the beltline before there ever was any plans for a regional transit sales tax and has begun working on it. The beltline is already being developed and will be built without dollars from the regional sales tax should the vote fail. While those outside the city squabble and cast aspersions on the city of Atlanta, Atlanta moves ahead by already constructing a street car system. Could you imagine if Atlanta had to get the region to agree on a fifth runway or a new international terminal?

zeke

February 8th, 2012
10:01 am

This tax plan is no more than another gross redistribution! I cannot remember their names, but, a full page article in the Wall Street Journal a feww years ago, written by the foremost proponents of mass transit and hov lanes brought to light the truth about such agenda projects! THEY DO NOT WORK! THEY ARE TOO EXPENSIVE! THEY WILL REQUIRE WASTED CONFISCATIONS OF TAXPAYER MONEY IN INFINITY! BOTH OF THESE EXPERTS, WHO WERE INITIALLY IN FAVOR OF AND PLANNED SUCH PROJECTS, HAD DECIDED THAT THOSE TYPE PROJECTS WERE A USELESS WASTE OF MONEY!! I guess it is like the liberals here. They have seen repeatedly that socialism and communism DOES NOT WORK, BUT, THEY OFFER THE REASON THAT IT HAS NOT BEEN DONE BY THE RIGHT PEOPLE AND THEY CAN MAKE IT WORK HERE IN THE USA!
So they use code words and phrases to induce the government school brainwashed to vote for their socialism! Social justice, economic equality, and others are straight out of the doctrine of Marxx, Lenin, Mao! NOT HERE EVER!!!!

Bryan -- MARTA supporter

February 8th, 2012
10:23 am

@ Zeke

Since transit and HOV lanes don’t work what should we do? I’m assuming you are a conservative and will provide that view on how to alleviate traffic congestion in the region.

I guess with your logic, cities like New York and Chicago should have never built their subway systems or we should have never built the interstate system. You are so focused on “socialism” that you’d rather just do nothing that to put effort into something.

Well what should we do to fix traffic in the area? I can’t wait to hear this. This question is for anyone that doesn’t support transit or the T-SPLOST.

Angus

February 8th, 2012
10:47 am

The TSPLOST is a product of a highly-balkanized region, decades of poor planning, and political cowardice under the Gold Dome.

My vote will most likely come down to what transit governance legislation passes this year, if any. If, as currently proposed, the state attempts to take over MARTA while still contributing nothing to it, I along with most of Fulton and Dekalb with vote against the TSPLOST.

That being said, I really could care less for the opinion of an official who represents 2% of the 10-county region’s population and lives 35 miles away from Atlanta. Unfortunately, in this state, those opinions along with the accompanying void of solutions have guided this region for decades and, seemingly, continue to do so.

Halftrack

February 8th, 2012
10:58 am

The Gold Dome crowd has messed up Ga’s Transportation. They need to put just one head in charge of the DOT as it is now split. Next, in this economy no one wants to vote for another tax. Some Regions will not vote for this tax. Metro Atlanta may vote it in. There are too many projects on the list to be done efficiently and economically.

too little time

February 8th, 2012
11:41 am

I don’t doubt that A transportation tax, put to good use, would be beneficial. I DO doubt that this list of projects will be beneficial.

Fact: Government lies and deceives. Government lied about the GA 400 tolls going away. Government deceived when they portrayed the toll lanes in I-85 as “relieving congestion”. Government WOULD have forced taxpayers to fund a huge chunk of toll lanes on I-75, then limited any other construction for 60-odd years in order to increase congestion to such an extent that many would have to use the toll lanes in order to get work at all. Government is probably lying when they say that the 50% of TSPLOST going to transit will relieve congestion in any significant way. That is a huge chunk of money to sink into projects based on the recommendation of liars.

You be the judge.

lynnbo

February 8th, 2012
6:28 pm

TSplost does not cover all the costs of the projects. Local governments will have to sell bonds which will make your property tax go up. Utilities will have to put their costs into your rates because cities and counties refuse to pay their costs and its not free. Plus the cost of maintence for the new projects for years to come. By voting for “its just another penny” you are raising the costs of everything. Businesses will pass their higher taxes on to you in everything you buy.
With insurance costs going up, local and state governments needing more of your money and a federal government that is so desperate for cash……………….are you really going to give a bunch of non-elected folks this much money to waste? We have a simple solution……….move state government workers out of Atlanta. That would reduce traffic over night and would not be as expensive, plus it would give other areas of region a boost. DECENTRALIZE WORKERS, Incentivize working from home with tax deductions, give people a property tax break for living close to their job. If you live close to work, say 10 miles or less, you get a tax deduction of %50 percent.
That alone would kill the need of billions wasted with TSPLOST and we could spend it on schools.

Maribeliqua

February 9th, 2012
11:43 am

Unless the transportation tax is earmarked almost exclusively for road building and widening it is a nonstarter. Spending more time and money on the latest trendy idea, like reversible toll lanes, just tinkers at the margins and puts us further behind the gridlock curve.

We simply have too many vehicles on too few roadways and it’s only gonna get worse.