Archive for the ‘TSPLOST’ Category

Transportation challenges

Sea change at Georgia DOT

With a shrinking budget and work force, the Georgia Department of Transportation battles an image problem over past projects, political appointments and minority contracting. But it’s fighting to adapt. Engineers are putting out the message that GDOT is trying to be more nimble when addressing traffic problems. We provide excerpts from a recent editorial board meeting with department leaders. Also, a conservative transportation expert details metro problems with the T-SPLOST defeat.

Commenting is open below Glen Bottoms’ column.

By Tom Sabulis

Like many businesses in recent years, the Georgia Department of Transportation has had to reduce its work force. “We’re down from some 5,700 to 5,800 employees a couple years ago to about 4,400 today,” Commissioner Keith Golden says. The 22 percent cut leaves the GDOT having to reinvent itself just to deliver basic services, from highway and transportation planning to mowing the grass. Golden, chief engineer …

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Metro area must find
 unity on traffic plan

By the AJC Editorial Board

The people have decisively spoken. And that will prove the easy part, as strange as that may sound in the aftermath of the beatdown of the transportation sales tax last Tuesday.

The hard work comes starting now. For something must come next. It must come if 
metro Atlanta expects to remain what we have been, let alone rise to what was projected for coming years when millions more new residents are expected to arrive. Condemning the T-SPLOST to doom was, in hindsight, not difficult. Most everyone could find fault with the tax, especially the 62 percent of voters who said “No.” Even ardent supporters conceded it was a flawed plan.

Yet, shortcomings and all, the Transportation Investment Act was all we had.

Now we need something better; something more effective at hacking down traffic congestion. That means Atlanta must once again corral smart people around a common goal, devise an innovative game-changer of a new plan and enact it as quickly as …

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 unity on traffic plan »

T-SPLOST fail: Two Views

Moving on from the transportation tax

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The proposed transportation sales tax got steamrolled by voters Tuesday, with 63 percent voting against the plan to raise billions for a controversial list of projects aimed at unsnarling traffic and improving transit in a 10-county region. So what’s next? We asked two leaders on each side of the T-SPLOST issue to suggest what needs to be done to find regional consensus.

Commenting is open below Steve Brown’s column.

By Bucky Johnson

Over the past 15 months, I have had the opportunity to travel around the region to speak about the Transportation Investment Act of 2010. There was overwhelming agreement that metro Atlanta has a transportation problem. This was the first time in the history of metro Atlanta that a regional vote for transportation improvements has been attempted. It was a valiant effort.

On Tuesday, however, voters in our 10-county region did not agree to fund the 157 specific projects proposed in the …

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T-SPLOST fails – What next?

Who has a Plan B?

The proposed transportation sales tax met an ugly end Tuesday as voters in ten counties overwhelmingly rejected the plan to raise billions for a controversial set list of traffic and transit improvements. So what should we try next? Raise the gas tax? Toll more roads? Let us know your feelings about the vote and, especially, what ideas Gov. Deal and other leaders should consider for unsnarling gridlock and making our lives a little easier. We’ll include a sample of comments in Thursday’s newspaper along with a special transportation package addressing the aftermath of the T-SPLOST.

Commenting is open.

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T-SPLOST vote, finally

Last-minute thoughts on transportation tax

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Metro Atlanta voters will cast their ballots Tuesday on the Transportation Investment Act and its proposed 1 percent sales tax to raise $8.5 billion (counting inflation) in traffic improvements. Below, leading voices on both sides of the issue weigh in on the merits and oversights of the 10-county project list, which funnels 52 percent of the money to transit and 48 percent to roads.

Commenting is open below the column by Wendell Cox.

By Tad Leithead

Every metro Atlanta resident should know by now that there is an important decision before them today. This region has the opportunity to act on a transportation referendum that would raise $8.5 billion through a 1 percent sales tax to fund 157 transportation projects across this 10-county region.

Here are some facts to consider as you go to the polls:

1. Georgia ranks 48th in the nation in transportation spending per capita, and fourth in total hours the average …

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20-somethings and T-SPLOST

Younger generation takes on transportation tax

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

Transportation weighs heavily on metro Atlantans’ quality of life, and their future. With Election Day on Tuesday, we reached out to the younger generation to provide their thoughts on the transportation special purpose local option sales tax. The proposed 1 percent levy would raise from $7.2 billion to $8.5 billion, depending on whether inflation is included, for transportation improvements in the 10-county area. Two 20-somethings write in favor of the referendum, and two write in opposition.

There are four short columns below. Commenting is open following them.

By Lawrence L. Gellerstedt IV

College students and young professional leaders of Atlanta, this is our time.

Officials from across the Atlanta region have aligned — something that doesn’t happen often — to provide us with what may be a once-in-a-decade opportunity to directly impact our quality of life.

We are staring at the single largest …

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Two views on T-SPLOST

Moderated by Tom Sabulis

The transportation sales tax referendum comes up for a vote July 31. Today’s commentators agree that MARTA and its customers are being treated unfairly, but then part ways. One slams the proposal for not engaging the African-American community. The other says the economic boon resulting from $6.14 billion in transportation improvements is too good to pass up.

Fairness, inclusion lacking in T-SPLOST

By Vincent Fort

The T-SPLOST does not pass the fairness test. Residents in Atlanta and Fulton and DeKalb counties already pay a 1 percent transportation tax — the MARTA sales tax. If the T-SPLOST passes, Atlanta, Fulton and DeKalb residents will incur an increase from 1 percent to 2 percent. In effect, they will be double taxed. Outlying counties will pay only 1 percent. Atlantans will see their sales tax go from 8 percent to 9 percent, an increase of 12.5 percent. That rate is one of the highest in the country. That’s not fair.

Sales taxes are regressive. …

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Transportation lessons from a competitor

Texans making tracks

Dallas-Ft. Worth region sees a robust transit network as part of providing options for commuters in this pickup truck-loving state. Atlanta can draw lessons from this conservative competitor.

By the AJC Editorial Board

PLANO, Texas — Even without verdant hills, the heart of this suburb looks much like some OTP towns around Atlanta.

A block from the downtown street that’s home to a trendy tea room, antique stores and offices stands a white frame house with a wooden rocker on the porch. A large, open field and a tin-roofed shed are next door. Birds’ song carries across the humid air.

A pair of railroad tracks separates the two scenes and the bustle of Dallas seems a world away.

Then the rail crossing bells begin to clang and gates lower. A light-rail train appears and comes to a stop, doors opening onto a platform shared with a low, modern apartment building built to blend with nearby vintage architecture.

The standing room-only Dallas Area Rapid Transit …

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T-SPLOST pros and cons

The transportation sales tax vote is two weeks away. An advocate of mixed-use, walkable communities explains how voters acting with a regional mindset can kick-start our economy. On the other side, a policy analyst says a sales tax is not the best funding option, and that transit expansion should not come at the expense of fixing our highway network.

Tom Sabulis is today’s moderator. Commenting is open below following Baruch Feigenbaum’s column.

By Jim Stokes

Living and working in Atlanta has been a wonderful experience for me. For some 40 years, my wife and I have called Atlanta home — raising our family, devoting ourselves to careers and volunteering in our community whenever we can. The city is part of our family fabric. I have watched Atlanta grow and evolve.

This year, I see metro Atlanta standing at a crossroads. Its evolution — potentially, its economic recovery — is the centerpiece of discussion this summer as residents contemplate a ballot referendum to increase …

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T-SPLOST voter intimidation?

Big business moving workers

We’re three weeks away from voting on a 1-cent sales tax to fund $8.5 million in transportation improvements in metro Atlanta. (Early voting is open now.) A conservative leader writes that Atlanta companies are intimidating their employees to vote ‘yes’ on July 31 and tax themselves. A Coke executive says better transit and roadways will help workers save time and keep local businesses humming.

Tom Sabulis is today’s moderator. Commenting is open following John Brock’s column below.

By Sadie Fields

Voter intimidation is wrong no matter who does it.

Voter intimidation can be as extreme as when members of the New Black Panther Party stood out front of a polling place in Philadelphia on Election Day 2008 wearing paramilitary garb, with one carrying a nightstick.

In our own backyard, voter intimidation is taking a more subtle approach as exhibited by the Metro Atlanta Chamber regarding the upcoming T-SPLOST vote. The business community is calling …

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