5/29: Pass or fail T-SPLOST?

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

We’re nine weeks away from the historic July 31 vote, when residents in 10 metro Atlanta counties will cast ballots on a 1-cent sales tax to fund $7 billion in transportation improvements.

Our first writer, a respected Washington scholar, calls it our “21st century Olympic moment”: If we don’t pass it, we will lose our economic mojo for a long time. I also talk with a local tax watchdog, who says there are better ways to tackle our most congested areas, rather than funding empty buses and light rail.

25 comments Add your comment

Hillbilly D

May 29th, 2012
1:24 pm

Don’t live in the Atlanta region, so I don’t have a dog in that fight. In my region, a resounding “No”. The only people for it are local politicians and the Chamber of Commerce. Of course, they’re the ones who will profit from it, at our expense.

Dumb and Dumber

May 29th, 2012
1:23 pm

I ride MARTA every day and have done so for 16 years. I’m voting no on the TSPLOST and urge everyone who cares about real transit improvements to also vote no.

Read the bill — its the State, through GRTA, who will control and funds designated for transit line construction and GRTA will own and operate them. This includes the proposed Beltline and Lindbergh Light Rail Corridors. Given GRTA’s duplicative and wastefull express bus lines — which competes directly with bus lines run by MARTA, Cobb and Gwinnett — why give the State control over our tax revenues. Do you want the State running the Beltline? Really? Good luck transferring to MARTA rail from a GRTA operated line.

That is assuming that the Legislature actually allows the funding to be used for the list, there is nothing in the law that requires them to do so. Ask your legislator when was the last time the Solid Waste Trust Fund (funded by you when you recycle tires) was every used to address illegal solid waste dumps? (Hint, its close to never.)

This is not the only chance — once this bill is defeated the GOP legislators will have to work with transit advocates and, heaven forbid, in-town democrats, to put forth a plan that begins to roll-back the Balkanization of metro Atlanta transit.

The supporters of the bill are over-selling the benefits. The road projects may reduce congestion for a little while — but then they will be filled to capacity. No matter how many times we try, we cannot pave our way out of congestion. Looks like GDOT and the legislature want to keep trying though.

Sorry — but traffic is not bad in my in-town area. We live near shopping and restuarants and can walk to MARTA that takes me to work. If surbanites want funding for more roads in their area, they can raise their taxes to pay for them — or move.

SAWB

May 29th, 2012
1:10 pm

This is a difficult call in some ways we are dammed if we do and dammed if we don’t. I have no doubt the usual Atlanta corruption and cronyism will be a big part of this thing. The AJC is pushing this project, but in a few years they will be doing one of those Sunday investigative reports on the corruption involved in the project. The scope of this project is way too large to ever be managed properly.

At the end of the day the question is: are we willing to throw away a bunch of tax money to self-serving politicians and their buddies for a little bit of improvement – you decide.

WeNeedAlternatives

May 29th, 2012
1:01 pm

I live in the city. Although I think the list could be better, I don’t really like continuing to subsidize the commutes of folks that aren’t really interested in paying, in time and money, for their ability to live way outside town. The folks living in town really don’t have to deal with the traffic nightmare, and continuing to pay for those that refuse to carry their weight is distasteful. There are items on the list that will benefit the city, and if they were not there, the list would probably get a total of zero votes for intown residents.

That being said – I will, for this time only, vote YES for the list, since, for once, this is a regional thing, affecting the regional economy and health of all in the area. The list could be better, but it was an incredible compromise, and I respect those that did the draconian task in its creation.

If it does not pass, then I figure the opportunity has been presented, and don’t ask me to pay for your commute anymore. A second go-around will not very likely get my support, as it would probably have way too many road projects, and not enough benefit for those of us that already pay extra for transit.

So take it or leave it. If you choose to drown in your traffic, so be it. Here’s your chance.

jms

May 29th, 2012
12:59 pm

“To quote the Rolling Stones:” You don’t always get what “YOU” want!” We are in this together…”

I don’t remember that version of the lyrics

A reader

May 29th, 2012
12:49 pm

Mr. Leinberger talks about Atlanta. He sees only Atlanta as the city, not as the region. Walkability may be great for the inner city but it is not realistic in the suburbs.

CLEMSONDUDE

May 29th, 2012
12:44 pm

How do we know if the extra tax will go away in 10 years….They lied about the Ga 400 toll and they will lied about this too…mark it down. We do need a plan but this one smells bad…Vote NO!

Michael

May 29th, 2012
11:57 am

I will vote yes, as a international travel, good rail transit is a must.

Angus

May 29th, 2012
11:45 am

Leinberger: “They gained value because of the pent-up demand for walkable urban development.”

I disagree. They gained value because they are in town, have nice homes, are relatively safe, and have good schools. “Walkability” is way down the list – I’m not even sure East Lake and Grant Park qualify as walkable, and neither have good transit options.

Road Scholar

May 29th, 2012
11:44 am

Dagny: I don’t use your driveway or the street in front of your home. So should we vote to remove them? Your argument against the tax is shallow. This will help the Atlanta economy.