The voters who just might decide the T-SPLOST’s fate

In any election, you’ll hear a lot about each side’s efforts to woo the woo-able. You’ve heard the names before: “soccer moms” and “NASCAR dads.” With that in mind, here’s a label for the group that might settle July’s T-SPLOST referendum: QuikTrip parents.

They live in the suburbs and have the area’s longest daily commutes. This costs them increasing amounts of gas money and family time. If you’ve seen or heard some of the advertisements about the T-SPLOST, the QuikTrip parents are the target audience.

This group may have become even more important this week when the Sierra Club said it was opposing the tax because, among other things, the project list devoted “only” 40 percent of the revenues to mass transit. In a region where only about 5 percent of commuters use transit, the Sierra Club’s stance displays a realism I’d expect from Don Quixote managing Buddy Roemer’s presidential campaign. Yet, I’ve heard the same concern from other pro-transit people.

And then there are those more concerned about the kind of transit projects the tax would fund. These projects are mostly inside I-285, even though the worst traffic is OTP. And they focus on light rail — the “light” refers to “light capacity” — rather than commuter rail options that would move more people, more efficiently, to Atlanta from the suburbs. Even if advocates are unwilling to bet that Plan B would include more transit, they might be willing to gamble it would include better transit.

So, the QuikTrip parents are becoming more central to this summer’s vote. And it will be very interesting to see if the sales pitch — pay 1 percent more for every good you buy, with a rebate in the form of less gas money and more family time — works with them.

For one thing, while they may be the most desperate for transportation improvements, they might also be the metro Atlantans least inclined to support a new tax.

According to the Atlanta Regional Commission, there are four counties (out of the 10 in the T-SPLOST region) where more than half the work force endures commutes of 30 minutes or more: Douglas, Henry, Cherokee and Gwinnett. Now, let’s use partisanship as a proxy for likelihood to support a new tax. In 2010, these counties split for Nathan Deal over Roy Barnes, 62 to 38 (for today’s purposes, I’m looking only at the two-party vote). That partisan split suggests an uphill climb for the pro-tax folks.

The key with undecided voters will be the project list. And here, too, there is reason to doubt the tax’s chances.

Look at the project map for the whole region, and you see a hub-and-spokes pattern that mirrors the layout of our interstates, with a particular emphasis on large employment centers such as Cumberland and Perimeter. The problem is that the counties where congestion is worst are also the places where commuters are least likely to work at these job centers.

Using other ARC data about how many people commute to the top 10 job centers from each of the 10 counties, we can deduce some broad commuting patterns.

Two-thirds or more of workers living in DeKalb and Fulton, for instance, head to one of the top 10 job centers each day. So, if projects are built to make it easier to reach those places, residents of DeKalb and Fulton are likely to see something that helps them.

The opposite is true, however, for QuikTrip parents. More than 60 percent of people in Cherokee, Rockdale, Douglas and Henry work somewhere other than in the top 10 job centers. This suggests they have more disparate commuting patterns, and may be less likely to believe T-SPLOST projects will reduce their drive times.

Now, one big factor is that there simply are more people in the counties that are more likely to vote for Democrats and have commuting patterns geared toward the biggest job centers. In all, the 10-county region in 2010 went for Barnes over Deal, 53 to 47. That would seem to be a good sign for the tax’s supporters.

But keep in mind that, for the most part, the counties that seem more naturally inclined to support the tax are also the ones where daily commutes are not as bad: If you live in Fulton, for example, you’re about half as likely as someone in Cherokee to have a 45-minute commute each way. The desperation, and thus the intensity at the ballot box, may be lower in those counties.

The campaign may be geared toward QuikTrip parents, but it’s not at all clear the project list was. In about three months, they’ll let us know.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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133 comments Add your comment

Road Scholar

May 3rd, 2012
6:17 am

“More than 60 percent of people in Cherokee, Rockdale, Douglas and Henry work somewhere other than in the top 10 job centers. ”

The Interstates and roads from these counties into Fulton, Cobb and Dekalb Counties are always very congested at peak hours. The daily migration from these counties to downtown and the perimeter is just in our imagination huh!

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights?.....

May 3rd, 2012
6:34 am

Road Scholar

May 3rd, 2012
6:17 am

““More than 60 percent of people in Cherokee, Rockdale, Douglas and Henry work somewhere other than in the top 10 job centers. ”
……The Interstates and roads from these counties into Fulton, Cobb and Dekalb Counties are always very congested at peak hours. The daily migration from these counties to downtown and the perimeter is just in our imagination huh!”

The 60 percent of people in Cherokee, Rockdale, Douglas and Henry who may work somewhere else other than the top 10 job centers is a number that pales in comparison to the 40 percent of people in those counties and the rest of the 10-county are who DO commute into and out of one of the six other counties in the 10-county region (Fayette and core counties Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Gwinnett and Clayton) using one of Metro Atlanta’s very congested radial freeways (I-75, I-85, I-20, GA 400 & US 78).

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights?.....

May 3rd, 2012
6:49 am

“And then there are those more concerned about the kind of transit projects the tax would fund. These projects are mostly inside I-285, even though the worst traffic is OTP. And they focus on light rail — the “light” refers to “light capacity” — rather than commuter rail options that would move more people, more efficiently, to Atlanta from the suburbs. Even if advocates are unwilling to bet that Plan B would include more transit, they might be willing to gamble it would include better transit.”

That’s a good point. With the exception of some preliminary funding for the long-delayed Atlanta-Griffin commuter rail line on the existing Norfolk Southern “S-Line”, badly-needed and long-overdue regional commuter rail is largely missing from this TIA/T-SPLOST initiative.

Samantha

May 3rd, 2012
6:54 am

The problem is that the TSPLOST project list was designed to do absolutely NOTHING for the commuters from more distant counties. Even the Cobb country “signature” projects is a rail line from Cumberland to the arts center. Who cares? TSPLOST was designed to meet a variety of priorities, transportation was just one criteria. Transportation for these QuickTrip Parents was absolutely not on the list.

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights?.....

May 3rd, 2012
7:03 am

Samantha

May 3rd, 2012
6:54 am

“The problem is that the TSPLOST project list was designed to do absolutely NOTHING for the commuters from more distant counties. Even the Cobb country “signature” projects is a rail line from Cumberland to the arts center.”

Due to searing political pressure on Cobb County Chairman Tim Lee, Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews and the Cobb federal and state legislative delegations, the funds that were originally designated for the much-maligned proposed light rail line between Midtown and Cumberland were pulled from that unpopular project and will likely go towards building new reversible High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes on Interstates 75 & 575 between the Perimeter and Canton and Acworth.

http://mdjonline.com/view/full_story/17274789/article-Changing-lanes–Lee-asks-to-switch-funds-for-reversible-lanes?instance=home_news_left

http://blogs.ajc.com/political-insider-jim-galloway/2012/01/24/drop-rail-link-and-restore-reversible-lanes-says-cobb-commission-chair-tim-lee/

A reader

May 3rd, 2012
7:04 am

One word: Beltline. This is an economic growth project, not a transit project. And yet 10% of the funds will go to it.

I am voting No to the Beltline and thus I am voting No to TSPLOST

Shep

May 3rd, 2012
7:05 am

I live in Atlanta and I vote a resounding “NO” on this. I already pay sales tax for Marta, gas tax for roads. I am all for transit but what the metro area needs is a coordinated system, which includes commuter rail from the exburbs. I do not want to pay another penny in sales tax to build a new interchange at 400/285 for example that is not really going to do anything to address the true problem.

Aquagirl

May 3rd, 2012
7:07 am

The problem is that the TSPLOST project list was designed to do absolutely NOTHING for the commuters from more distant counties.

Well imagine that. People who choose to drive 20 miles each way through a metro area are not accommodated by their own ribbon of asphalt.

There is no way to build enough roads for people to do this. Mr. and Mrs. QuikTrip have chosen an unsustainable lifestyle. It might barely be possible with European-level taxes and strong regional transportation planning but Mr. and Mrs. QuikTrip seem the most likely to oppose these things.

And seeing as how Mr. and Mrs. QuikTrip are clogging the hell out of everyone else’s roads on their far-flung commutes, I offer them a hearty 285 salute.

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights?.....

May 3rd, 2012
7:16 am

Aquagirl

May 3rd, 2012
7:07 am

“And seeing as how Mr. and Mrs. QuikTrip are clogging the hell out of everyone else’s roads on their far-flung commutes, I offer them a hearty 285 salute.”

Knowing you, your hearty 285 salute probably involves the number “one”, as in the “number-one-salute”…lol!

Kyle Wingfield

May 3rd, 2012
7:28 am

Road: Those are the figures from the ARC. Now, that doesn’t mean more people aren’t commuting from those counties into Fulton, DeKalb or Cobb, just that they’re spreading out to other parts of those counties than the main job centers. Which gets to my point about more disparate commuting patterns — and whether the project list will help them as much.

Aquagirl

May 3rd, 2012
7:28 am

Knowing you, your hearty 285 salute probably involves the number “one”, as in the “number-one-salute”…lol!

You know you’ve been on these blogs awhile when people can read your mind. :)

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

May 3rd, 2012
7:28 am

The folks who live well outside the Perimeter already did vote–with their feet. And they can vote again anytime they want. No need to impose your high-tax dreams of more asphalt and more unused mass transit on the rest of us.

Call It Like It Is

May 3rd, 2012
7:48 am

What a shame, the answer is in our backyard and we choose to ignore it.

http://american-maglev.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=22

I will be voting no. This plan does nothing to fix the problem. Come up with a real game plan and get back to me or how about go visit our friends in Powder Springs for some help

Now with Ten Percent Fewer Calories

May 3rd, 2012
7:59 am

Kyle, did you know that no one at all uses mass transit in a region that has no mass transit. It’s a wonder anyone ever considers mass transit given that fact.

Interested observer

May 3rd, 2012
8:09 am

Since the vote will take place on July 31, the success or failure of T-SPLOST may hinge on which party’s primary brings voters to the polls. T-SPLOST alone won’t get many people out, but wherever the primary is of great interest, those voters will also have their say on the tax.

Republican voters should be torn over T-SPLOST. On the one hand, it is a new tax, and the only thing the GOP likes less than a liberal black president is a tax, so they’re predisposed to vote against it. But on the other hand, the tax hits consumption, not income, and should have an appeal to the fair tax crowd — which is mostly GOP — as a move in that direction. Of course, state GOP leaders have learned to their chagrin that their people aren’t interested in any tax, fair or otherwise, but that’s beside the point.

JoeFann

May 3rd, 2012
8:11 am

While I no longer have a dawg in Atlanta’s fight, the rest of the state sorely needs many of the projects on TSPLOST lists. With no federal transportation funding in sight, and the Ga Bubbas under the dome offering no leadership, it is (as it should be) up to the local communities to decide on project priorities and local tax alternatives. The state doesn’t have the money to adequately MAINTAIN its existing roadways, much less build newer and more modern facilities. At least with TSPLOST, the rest of us will have a chance to keep the roads in relatively good condition, without all our tax dollars being spent on questionable choices that Atlantans can’t agree on. Down here, I’m in.

carlosgvv

May 3rd, 2012
8:12 am

So, if you’re a Democrat, you probably will vote no? And, if you’re a Republican you’ll probalbly vote yes? Is that what you’re saying, Kyle?

laurie

May 3rd, 2012
8:14 am

I live in Cherokee county and commute to an office at 75 and Windy Hill 2 times a week. I don’t mind the drive time since I am able to telecommute so much. It’s a perk that keeps me happy with my employer. That being said, I don’t think developers should be allowed to continue building along the Northwest corridor if the infrastructure is not there to support it, and I don’t think TSPLOST is the answer to Atlanta’s transportation problems. Maybe if we had a real engineer as head of GDOT (and not some Deal political appointee), they might come up with a better proposal. I’m not going to hold my breath though.

Junior Samples

May 3rd, 2012
8:25 am

I thought Don Quixote was working for Newt

mottlicher

May 3rd, 2012
8:32 am

@ Laurie

Keith Golden, PE is a “real” engineer and is the DOT Commissioner…Todd Long, PE is a real engineer and is the Deputy Commissioner, the Chief Engineer (who holds a lot of power in DOT) is an engineer….lets not let facts get in the way of a rant.

Jack

May 3rd, 2012
8:42 am

I’m going to vote no and cut back my employee’s work week to 4 days and sometimes 3 days. They are willing to work harder those shorter work-weeks in order to stay off the roads.

SBinF

May 3rd, 2012
8:45 am

Yes, let’s build more roads. That will surely solve our traffic problems, it’s worked so far!

I don’t fancy a penny more in taxes to fund roads. Every bit of research on the subject says that building roads increases congestion longitudinally. The state really needs to come up with viable long term solutions to its transportation woes. Adding more lanes of traffic is certainly not the answer.

ViewFromMidtown

May 3rd, 2012
8:57 am

Kyle, I’ll remind you that the TIA debacle was the brainchild of the craven cowards of the GOP “leadership” running this state. Because they’re so afraid of anti-tax crowd and too busy passing anti-abortion laws to do anything constructive to fund infrastructure to help the state, they punted the decision to a referendum on a process that was guaranteed to produce a sub-optimal project list. Remember the project list was decided ultimately by committee; worse, a committee of politicians each representing a part of this balkanized region with some zealously fighting to make sure not one dime of the money generated in their county got spent anywhere but their county.

Transportation will ultimately be solved (or not) at the ballot box, but not on July 31. It will be solved when people elect genuine leaders, not political hacks representing a know-nothing, do-nothing party that fetishizes a faux independence based on auto transportation and an unsustainable government-subsidized suburban lifestyle.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

May 3rd, 2012
9:19 am

Everyone else is living an “unsustainable” lifestyle based on entitlements and handouts, why shouldn’t the folks paying the bills do it too?

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

May 3rd, 2012
9:24 am

Looks like the lamestream media couldn’t find a way to pin this on the Tea Party, but rest assured, you can bet they tried like hell-

5 held in alleged bid to bomb Ohio bridge – The men had been associated with the anti-corporate Occupy Cleveland movement, but they don’t share its nonviolent views, organizer Debbie Kline said. – Urinal

Well, of course not. The lovely little occupiers have never tore up anything in their lives. Never even thought about it.

They also discussed other potential targets, including a law enforcement center, oil wells, a cargo ship or the opening of a new downtown casino, according to the affidavit.

Sounds like al Qaida, don’t it? Two peas in a pod.

Grasshopper

May 3rd, 2012
9:33 am

An additional tax that will synch traffic lights and repave some roads?

Such vision! Such ceativity!

My vote will be no.

Chris Sanchez

May 3rd, 2012
9:54 am

It is bad enough we have so much money taken from us by way of taxes that now we have to vote to give politicians more to try and fix a transportation. Never mind that the current plan does little to accomplish this goal. My vote will be no. Once it is in place it will never go away (think toll on GA 400).

Get back to us when you have a REAL plan to present. Until then, keep your tax increase proposals to yourself.

jd

May 3rd, 2012
10:01 am

You know, Henry Ford said if he had listened to the consumers, he would have bred faster horses, not invented the affordable car…

The reason only 5 percent use transit is because transit has not been built to offer a choice to the majority of folks — and what transit is available offers little flexibility in schedule — you better be on the bus at 6 am to get to work and you won’t get home til 7 pm —

Build an efficient transit system and they will come… But don’t muck up the argument when the current governance only favors roads

ragnar danneskjold

May 3rd, 2012
10:11 am

I think QT is a neat store, a model for all convenience chains. And there is no way I will vote for T-SPLOST.

DannyX

May 3rd, 2012
10:32 am

“And there is no way I will vote for T-SPLOST.”

Agreed Ragnar. TSPLOST represents yet another Republican failure in Georgia. Republican legislators and our Republican governor were so scared of Grover Norquist and their no new taxes pledge that they cowardly punted the decision to the voters.

These same Republican cowards stacked the committee that determined the project list with suburban Republicans. Those Republicans then produced a project list that most people in the Republican suburbs hate, lol.

Republicans have shown time after time that they are incompetent. Vote NO!

yuzeyurbrane

May 3rd, 2012
10:38 am

Excellent analysis. What would happen to Artie Blank’s furtive deal with Deal for his stadium if it were subjected to the same scrutiney and taxpayer vote?

Hear hear

May 3rd, 2012
10:43 am

JD is dead on. The low transit usage (5% of commuters) isn’t because we’re not interested in it. It’s because the current rail system is so limited.

Ideal scenario would be to extend the north line at least to Windward if not Cumming, then add two new spokes – Cobb line out to at least Kennesaw and Gwinnett line to at least Buford. Then add a new “northern arc line” connecting Kennesaw, Windward and Buford. This would be the real game-changer and a lot more impactful than another highway lane or two.

Why this kind of rail expansion is a red vs. blue issue, I will never understand. Traffic doesn’t discriminate and is slowly killing us all.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

May 3rd, 2012
10:51 am

Wow, if this is true it explains a LOT. I need to figure out a way to monetarily exploit the scared conservatives.

http://www.salon.com/2012/05/03/republican_fear_factor_salpart/

Research suggests that conservatives are, on average, more susceptible to fear than those who identify themselves as liberals. Looking at MRIs of a large sample of young adults last year, researchers at University College London discovered that “greater conservatism was associated with increased volume of the right amygdala”. The amygdala is an ancient brain structure that’s activated during states of fear and anxiety.

Tiberius - Banned from Bookman's and proud of it!

May 3rd, 2012
10:54 am

“TSPLOST represents yet another Republican failure in Georgia. Republican legislators and our Republican governor were so scared of Grover Norquist and their no new taxes pledge that they cowardly punted the decision to the voters. ”

I suppose this means that you have never voted for a local SPLOST or E-SPLOST, DannyX, since your principled stance decrying “punting the decision to voters” is so firm?

ByteMe

May 3rd, 2012
10:58 am

In a region where only about 5 percent of commuters use transit

Looking at present use to project future use, huh? The Henry Ford analogy is dead-on: you have to take a stab at predicting the future you want and then work toward it instead of looking at the present you have and trying to fix it.

T-SPLOST is designed to fail, though, because the income stream ends in 10 years… and that means you can’t get longer-term bonds for it. The kind of bonds you need for heavy-rail longer-distance projects… like metro rail service to Douglasville, Conyers, Kennesaw, or Suwanee.

ugadfs

May 3rd, 2012
10:59 am

QT has great hot dogs and slushies

Buttercup

May 3rd, 2012
11:00 am

I see a bunch of crooks, liars and thieves putting the money in their back pockets. I’ll be voting NO!

Auntie Christ

May 3rd, 2012
11:07 am

Why is there more careful analysis, critical thinking and wisdom displayed here in about 20 blog comments than there has been in the last 40 years of debate in this state’s capitol. Speaks volumes about the buffoons running this state, who expect us to lay out our hard earned $ for their BS projects.

Kyle Wingfield

May 3rd, 2012
11:07 am

jd, Hear hear and ByteMe: Would any of you wager your own money that a Plan B would devote more than 40 percent of its revenues to transit? Because that’s the context for my use of the 5 percent figure: It’s not how many people want to use transit, but how much money is going to be devoted to expanding it.

If you think so, I suggest you first call Mr. Roemer and volunteer for his third-party campaign, so that you have some experience with flights of fantasy before staking your money on it.

Kyle Wingfield

May 3rd, 2012
11:09 am

And about longer-distance projects, ByteMe: Because we already have rails in the ground to most of those places, it’s entirely possible that we could pursue those options, or at least some of them, more cheaply than the transit projects that are on the list.

DannyX

May 3rd, 2012
11:18 am

What we needed from Georgia Republicans was leadership. We got none. Creating yet another urban vs suburban fight is the last thing metro-Atlanta needs. The only way the regional concept will work is if they skipped the us vs them rivalry that plagues the area.

They should have kept Fulton and DeKalb together in their transportation alliance and made a separate region for the suburbs since our Republican leadership didn’t have the courage to implement a tax on their own.

Right now the suburbs see too much TSPLOST rail and the urban areas think it is too road heavy.

detritusUSA

May 3rd, 2012
11:25 am

Traveled through the Atlanta area last week on my way to visit Kennesaw battlefield, Booth Western Art Museum at Cartersville, and Gibbs Gardens out from Ball Ground. The last two I highly recommend!

Anyway, the trip through the Atlanta area made me realise just how badly you folks need this transportation tax to improve the way people get around and through your area. But, being from rural N.E. Ga, there is no transportation benefit in my area that would warrant me voting for this transportation tax. Don’t no the answer to Atlanta’s transportation problems, but I don’t want to spend an extra penny on purchases just for my occasional trip through. So my vote will be no.

1961_Xer

May 3rd, 2012
11:25 am

Finally, Kyle, you put into writing what I have been saying all along. You have pointed out, succinctly, how the TSPLOST is geared to favor the urban areas against outlying suburban and rural areas. It is true in every one of the transportation districts. The TSPLOST may, in some way, help those outlying areas.But, maybe it won’t. You want me to risk 1% of every dollar I spend for the next 10 years that I will see some tangible benefit for my 1%? That’s crazy. Now maybe those areas will benefit through indirect means (jobs, growth, etc), but that is still 10 years of NOTHING for the remote areas of any transportation district with no guarantees of any benefit.

atlmom

May 3rd, 2012
11:33 am

I am the BIGGEST advocate of mass transit.
But I am voting no on this monstrosity.
We already have a DOT. ARC. GRTA. How many more agencies do we need to create?
I want the people who we vote for to figure out a good plan and implement it. If it means raising taxes, raise taxes. Stick behind your ideals. Stick behind a plan. Don’t tell me to vote for something when you are too cowardly to vote for it yourself.
I don’t want more roads. We need more transit to get from here to there. That is the problem with what we have – it doesn’t go from where you are to where you want to go. Except the airport (that was genius).

building more roads only brings more traffic. we have seen that time and again.

atlmom

May 3rd, 2012
11:37 am

and to all you “i’m getting nothing out of this” people: As goes Atlanta – so goes the state.
When companies decide not to move here and companies decide to LEAVE here because they can’t find people who want to live in Atlanta or want to commute here or whatever – that affects EVERY SINGLE person in GA. Make no mistake. If Atlanta goes down – so does the whole state.
Most tax revenue for the state comes from Atlanta, that’s where the people are, that’s where the jobs are, and that’s where the tax revenue is.
You can say what happens in Atlanta doesn’t affect you – but it does. Why do the suburbs exist? Where do you think the ‘urb’ in that suburb is? it *is* Atlanta. So to think you’re above it all – you’re not.

sheepdawg

May 3rd, 2012
11:41 am

just vote no

Soulja of Troof

May 3rd, 2012
11:52 am

0bama JiveTalker loves it when you pay ” mo’ ” in taxes.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

May 3rd, 2012
11:52 am

Imagine believing that the Democrats’ business-friendly insurance reforms included panels of bureaucrats who would decide when to let you die, as Sarah Palin infamously suggested. Or that virtually the entire field of climatology is perpetrating a “hoax,” as senator James Inhofe claims, in order to undermine capitalism and impose a one-world government. Imagine seeing energy-efficient light bulbs as part of an international plot to, again, undermine capitalism, as Michele Bachmann believes. Imagine thinking that the public school system “indoctrinates” young children into the “gay lifestyle,” as influential members of the religious right – Pat Dobson, Bryan Fischer, Anita Bryant – have claimed for years. Imagine believing our electoral system is tarnished by massive voter fraud or that union thugs are running amok or that the Department of Homeland Security is making a list of people who advocate for “limited government.” Imagine if there really were a War on Christmas!

No Artificial Flavors

May 3rd, 2012
12:08 pm

I drive from exurb to exurb and my commute is quite lengthy but usually not so stressfull as making the commute to Atlanta everyday. If i were to transfer downtown, i will sacrifice my comfortable single family home in a quiet neighborhood for a downtown apartment just so i dont have to take an ass beating during the commute everyday. Tspost is not the answer and i will not wait a decade for the gold dome waterheads to figure out a new half assed plan.

ByteMe

May 3rd, 2012
12:11 pm

Because we already have rails in the ground to most of those places, it’s entirely possible that we could pursue those options, or at least some of them, more cheaply than the transit projects that are on the list.

Only if we’re willing to take on 100% liability for the tracks owned by the corporation that owns the railroad. It’s been tried and found to be a terrible deal for the taxpayers, who end up owning the maintenance and repair of those tracks even while the corporation gets to use them without liability for track failures. That’s the deal NSX offers, and it’s a bad deal.

Would any of you wager your own money that a Plan B would devote more than 40 percent of its revenues to transit?

I won’t even wager that the legislature has seriously thought of a “Plan B”.

Plan B that I’ll vote FOR needs to be a new entity that absorbs all (including MARTA) Atlanta regional transportation entities into it — coordinates and is responsible for those assets in the region (roads and trains internal to the region) and has a board ELECTED by people from this region… and is allowed to collect and manage its own revenue (and put tax questions on the ballot) without interference from the state legislature. I’m dreaming, of course, but that’s what it would take for me to vote for a transportation tax for the region.