T-SPLOST high on the minds of voters

The proposed 1 percent sales tax to fund $7.2 billion worth of road, rail and bus projects was high on the minds of voters Tuesday as metro Atlantans went to the polls.

Elizabeth Nelson, a DeKalb County tax attorney who recently moved to Brookhaven, said she voted to support the T-SPLOST.

“I only drive about four miles to work every day, and it’s a nightmare,” said Nelson, who was voting in the Ashford Park section of Brookhaven. “Knowing that the population of Atlanta is increasing rapidly, I think that we need to get better infrastructure to make businesses come here and also to make the commutes better for all of us.”

Rich Mayk of Brookhaven also said the transportation referendum lured him to the polls. “Living in Atlanta, working downtown, I definitely experience the traffic situation,” said Mayk, who moved to the area from Detroit six years ago. “I feel like an investment in improving the traffic situation is needed.”

Lucius Gundy, 61, of Stone Mountain, however, sided with the majority in an AJC exclusive poll who said they will oppose the regional transportation referendum on today’s ballot.

“DeKalb and Fulton counties have supported MARTA from the beginning,” said Gundy, who was voting at Crossroads Church. “Rail is necessary in this area. The plan doesn’t have that, hence my no vote.”

Staff photographers John Spink and Kent Johnson contributed to this report.

31 comments Add your comment

kevin

July 31st, 2012
10:02 am

Frankie,

In context, a $.01 tax is the same as a 1% tax as 1 cent is 1% of $1.00. The TSPLOST project proposal is 192 pages of detailed projects with costs. You can read it here:http://www.velag.org/3_atlanta-invlist.pdf

The list of TSPLOST projects resulted from years of negotiation between Atlanta proper, the Atlanta metro area, and the state. There was a tremendous amount of political capital used in getting the non-road projects that are listed in the referendum. As you may or may not know, Atlanta has the worst sprawl in the country, among the worst traffic in the country and is widely thought/ laughed at as having ass-backwards planning. We are easily 20 years behind most serious cities in terms of transportation infrastructure and smart planning. Finally, it has been widely noted that businesses and persons looking to relocate are starting to shy away from setting up shop in Atlanta due to the horrendous traffic situation, lack of neighborhood connectiveness and poor walking and cycling infrastructure. Finally, federal dollars will come to Atlanta if we show we’re willing to throw some of our own skin in the game. That opens a lot of doors for us in the future to keep the transit conversation and funding going.

Tee

July 31st, 2012
10:03 am

I already voted “no” absentee. The information that I found when I attempted to research this issue is lacking and what I did find is unimpressive. $95 million for studies!! What has GDOT been doing all these years if they don’t already have studies somewhere detailing the problem and proposed solutions? All this sounds like to me is another way for big businesses/corporations to shaft me and still leave ATL with an unsolved transportation problem in 10 years. No, thanks! I also agree abt MARTA. Though I use and appreciate MARTA, as a Fulton resident, I already pay taxes to support it. Is TSPOLST replacing that tax? – No. I’ll just get double-taxed. No, thank you, again.

GaTech Student

July 31st, 2012
10:05 am

Today we finally get to vote YES! to untie our traffic knot.

If you are sick and tired of wasting your time and money sitting in traffic, please join me in voting YES!

BruthaFromAnuthaMutha

July 31st, 2012
10:17 am

It all sounds good up front. However, in a year or two when the decision makers at ARC get into the inevitable back-stabbing and infighting over who gets what project first, what company gets this or that contract, and “I want it my way,” we will sorely regret ever voting for it. Don’t believe it? Just look around. School boards, city councils, county commissions, etc. all over the metro are out of control. What makes you think it won’t happen at the ARC? When it happens we will still be paying the tax, the lawsuits will be ever so slowly wending their way through the courts, and actual work will grind to a halt leaving laid off workers and half done projects, detours, and worse traffic in its wake. Think before you vote!!

Phoebe

July 31st, 2012
10:18 am

Vote NO! This is nothing but money grubbing BS; there is no firm plan – just read the details. Atlanta continues to run up huge bills for poltical gain and cronism while doing nothing for its citizens. This T-SPLOT is a hoax and a joke. No more taxes for hypathetical spending programs.

Vanbren5

July 31st, 2012
10:52 am

If this vote goes down, this city will go the way of Birmingham. Cities like Charlotte, Dallas will get more industry and high tech industry and GA will plummet down a slippery slope to AL, and MS.

Crying Wolf

July 31st, 2012
11:03 am

Although I don’t have any stake in this game, I do see a pattern that our Govt. Representatives are sorely missing, TRUST. People are no longer allowing these elected officials to spin their nonsense and not be held accountable for it. Politicians know I don’t have time to cipher through 192 pages of beurocratic rhetoric (seems I’m not alone seeing that our Congress didn’t have time to read our new Affordable Health Care Act), thus they arer able to add other projects and funding neatly into one proposal. We need to get back to simplifying legislation and making sure the players are putting all of their cards on the table.

Bentos

July 31st, 2012
11:17 am

You know T-SPLOST has nothing to do with “untying” Atlanta traffic. Rather, it is simply a political deal between Deal and Reed: Reed gets money to waste in Atlanta (as if Marta isn’t doing a good enough job at that now) and Deal gets Reed to agree to persuade the Obama Administration to spend the Country’s decreasing money for Deal’s Empire Building: the Port of Savannah. http://bit.ly/OGV4e7

RLw

July 31st, 2012
11:41 am

NO, NO, NO … This is NO SMALL TAX! For most it represents a 17% increase in your Sales Tax! Those who refer to this as a “Penny Tax” are misleading everyone. This Proposal in full of Waste. As related waste, just look at the “Hot Lanes”. They spent $60,000,000 to steal part of a Highway that was paid for by the general taxpayers and now try to sell its use to the Highest Bidder!!! Who could possibly Trust a Government like this? The Big Guys are just waiting to get more of your Money to waste!

kevin

July 31st, 2012
11:50 am

RLW,

17% sales tax? What in the world are you talking about? It’s a flat 1% tax, aka a penny tax since 1% represents 1% of one dollar. Jeez, this is basic math. And yet you can still vote. Great. No wonder nothing ever gets done. For all you citing this being a waste of money, you might want to check out Clark Howard’s endorsement of TSPLOST.

kevin

July 31st, 2012
11:51 am

RLW,

17% tax? What in the world are you talking about? It’s a flat 1% tax, aka a penny tax since 1% represents 1% of one dollar. Jeez, this is basic math. And yet you can still vote. Great. No wonder nothing ever gets done. For all you citing this being a waste of money, you might want to check out Clark Howard’s endorsement of TSPLOST.

frankie

July 31st, 2012
1:35 pm

I understand the math….my point was that a 1% tax represents what i pay on my sales receipt. Adding a single penny (0.01) to my sales receipt is a whole nother story. And for the next 10 years…
That’s my point….

bill

July 31st, 2012
1:36 pm

voted no….once you vote for a tax it never ever goes away and the politicians just keep spending!! Have you ever seen a SPLOST tax go away?? Have you ever seen a tax of any kind go away? Do you know or have you ever heard of anyone that has seen a tax go away?? didn’t think so!!

Please vote no

July 31st, 2012
1:40 pm

For most it represents a 17% increase in your Sales Tax!

“17% sales tax? What in the world are you talking about? It’s a flat 1% tax”

You may want check your math, Kevin. The guy is talking about an percentage increase in his sales tax. Have someone do it for you if need be.

IDriveAgainstTraffice&It'sGreat

July 31st, 2012
2:02 pm

Interesting that 2 points made by the vote yes people contradict each other.
1. This will untie the traffic
2. It’s needed to attract more businesses.
Seems that attracting more businesses would attract more traffic which keeps us statuesque.

hic

July 31st, 2012
2:16 pm

NO INTEGRATED PLAN!!! Means a NO vote which I cast earlier. A side walk here, a traffic turn lane there, just don’t get it folks. Even more important is that SORRY elected representative who will use the money to “line” the pockets of his/her family members or friend. I VOTED NO!!! Who really trusts Deal or any other professional politician?

Amy

July 31st, 2012
2:27 pm

I voted NO specifically for the amount of money dedicated to the Beltline. A bunch of tourist trolley’s does nothing for commuters. An insult really to hold the Beltline up as a traffic solution? It’s a lovely project, but should be funded with private investment, not half the proposed tax windfall.

I would be hard pressed to vote Yes on anything that does not provide meaningful expansion to Marta. I don’t trust increased bus service, that is too easy to take away.

Rick

July 31st, 2012
2:31 pm

Sad to say that people voted for this T-SPLOST thinking it is going to improve their commuting times. Some of these projects will not start for years (5-8 yrs). And, paying 95 million for studies, what a joke, what a waste; these studies will be outdated before taxpayers are willing to be fleeced again, with yet another T-SPLOST for actual execution of the projects. The studies were designed to placate and mislead specific county voters, to vote yes. There is so much pork and slush in this budget, that contractors were putting up millions to run “feel good” ads.

If they fooled you, shame on you.

Mr Phoenix

July 31st, 2012
2:59 pm

This will be another band aid just as I-285 was. The planning committee has got to be the very worst.
This is just another tax to give the politician in Atlanta and Fulton county more money to spend in their districts to get reelected.
The GADOT has never planed far enough ahead to make wise decisions,just wasted money and in 10 years we will be in the same boat.
You know growing and getting larger is not always the best way.

sonria

July 31st, 2012
3:45 pm

I want to vote for this very badly, but I simply can’t. (1) There is no overarching plan; it’s simply a bunch of band-aids. (2) The transit projects are primarily studies and slated after the highway projects in terms of priority (i.e., after the highway projects run out of money, there won’t be any left for transit). (3) I still don’t see Gwinnett, Cobb and Clayton counties agreeing to allow MARTA, which is necessary if we’re ever going to solve the problem. (4) Taxes NEVER go away which means I’m careful when agreeing to a new one. (5) No northern connector. No reverse-commutes available on GCT. Lots of missing projects here. (6) I say this as a Peachtree Corners resident: the people in south DeKalb should NOT have to pay for new highways for the affluent northern residents to use, when they aren’t getting a new highway themselves.

Get cars off the road or make it painful for them to stay. I don’t mind paying a tax for that. But not for this. It’s not going to solve the problems; it’s just going to build a few new roads.

bob

July 31st, 2012
4:20 pm

When a black democrat and a white republican get on TV and practically beg for your money while sitting in each others lap, you know the only looser is the taxpayers of Georgia!!

WeeksofWinder

July 31st, 2012
5:13 pm

Where has all the tax money that has been collected over the last 25 years gone?
Where is forward thinking of running trains from Atlanta to Athens, Chattnooga, Macon, Columbus?
We will never part from our cars until transportation methods are in place to provide access to and from D’town.
This proposal has PORK written all over it!
Give us a proposal with projects that get cars off the road, Not more pavement!!

farmgirl

July 31st, 2012
5:42 pm

Taxed enough…My answer from now until forever is “NO” to new taxes. Period. Can’t figure why anyone would vote for ‘em.

John Nash

July 31st, 2012
6:20 pm

After watching the start of the PEACH PASS program on I85 I felt ripped off by the state. I had already paid for this road and now I was being charged to drive in the left commuter lane. To this date
No one has received a good explanation as to how this happened and the program is a failure, marginally paying just it’s management fee to the to an appointed bureaucrat run company. The so called representatives who voted for this are the same ones promoting this tax . Corruption in it’s purest form. VOTE NO

John Nash

July 31st, 2012
6:42 pm

Kevin must work for the roads dept. he uses the same garbage they have always spewed to get their tax money half truths and full lies. Time to stand up to these thieves and demand accountability. Can’t wait until NOV. I’m going to post name and address of all who voted for the PEACH PASS debacle. Can’t even get rid of it now because we would have to pay back some fed money. What a mess and now they want to do this on the basis we would get more fed money for pork projects, YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING, NOT.

beth

July 31st, 2012
7:46 pm

anyone seen any results yet? really hope this thing fails. once they add a tax it never goes away. And I surely dont want any hand outs from washington dc with strings attached.

J Russell

July 31st, 2012
10:30 pm

COMMUTER RAIL, COMMUTER RAIL ,COMMUTER RAIL…O YEA..COMMUTER RAIL!!!

Gail Kramer

July 31st, 2012
10:52 pm

Atlanta is NOT promoting mass transportation; in March of last year they stopped the Xpress buses from using Peachtree Street; that makes it very inconvenient for a large number of people that work on Peachtree; I am not impressed with Mayor Reid when he is blocking the buses; I am voting against this tax.

frankie

July 31st, 2012
10:57 pm

Is it a 1 cent tax or a 1 percent tax…there is a huge difference. communication like this is what creates doubt in peoples mind…what have all the fixes over the last years been for. traffic improvement right, so how has the traffic improved with the last round of improvement taxes and construction.

Ifyou give me the details ai wouold be more apped to vote yes, but as it stands i am voting NO….
they put in the signals on the on ramps toI-285 and they do nothig but cause further accidents and tie up traffic on the surface streets.
don’t try and fool the people by saying that the light have reduced traffic tie ups on the interstate…when you know good and wel that the surface streets are suffering.
I have said this since moving here 18 years ago that the GA DOT must recruit its engineer based on the amount of alcohol consumed per day, becaus all the fixes look like a drunk driver did it…or kid with a crayon…

Rod

July 31st, 2012
10:58 pm

I’m voting NO there is no way I trust Nathan Deal with any of my $ if he has any say so with $ it’s a automatic NO for me close 400 toll because you want more of my $ haha I must look like a fool if he would have ran his campaign based on closing different story but he only said so when they wanted more of $ better luck next time

frankie

July 31st, 2012
11:01 pm

if you want more money, increase the emmissions testing area…right now it only covers 10 counties in GA.. don’t the other 148 counties come to atlanta, don’t they burn fuel and pollute the air. take the additional revenue and put into better roads or mass transit…