Ending the Ga. 400 tolls now isn’t a great idea

OK, I’m going to be the bad guy today. I’m going to be the only (according to my Twitter feed, anyway) person who thinks Gov. Nathan Deal’s plan to end the toll on Ga. 400 by the end of next year, which he announced today, is a bad idea. (For the record, I pay the toll going and coming every workday.)

Coming 12 days before the T-SPLOST referendum, this is an obvious pander for “yes” votes. It’s a last-ditch attempt to save what would appear to be an expensive but failed campaign to pass the $7.2 billion tax. But I highly doubt it will be an effective one.

There is no doubt the broken promise to remove the 400 toll — broken in 2010 by lame-duck Gov. Sonny Perdue — is a huge driver of opposition to the T-SPLOST. It is one of the clearest examples of why trust in government is lacking. Deal addressed this issue in a press-release quote about removing the toll, saying “it is imperative that governments build the trust of their people.”

But I will be very surprised if many voters upset about the broken toll promise hear Deal’s new promise to take it down — 17 months from now — and suddenly feel their faith in government renewed. In all likelihood, the damage is done.

The biggest problem I have with this decision, however, is that it ties our hands for making transportation improvements should the T-SPLOST fail.

Three things that many proponents and opponents of the tax agree on are: 1) we need to improve our transportation infrastructure; 2) the $450 million rebuilding of the interchange at 400 and I-285 is one of the most-needed projects; and 3) additional revenue is needed to pay for the biggest improvements.

Keep in mind the 400-285 interchange is just one of the projects along 400: Also on the T-SPLOST list are $190 million for collector/distributor lanes from 285 north to Spalding Drive and $48 million for improvements to the interchange at Holcomb Bridge Road. The referendum may fail because voters don’t think the entire list is worthwhile. But given the needs in the 400 corridor, I find it hard to believe it’s really a good idea before the referendum to forgo an existing revenue stream for projects there.

Government’s trust problem has as much to do with how it often goes about its work — e.g., the quick-and-quiet way the 400 toll was extended in the first place, and the belief by many voters that the T-SPLOST list was not compiled to maximize congestion relief but development opportunities — as anything else. What ticks off people around here is the sense that our elected officials are playing political games with issues that affect residents’ everyday lives, rather than setting a course of action and explaining/selling it to the public.

A last-minute bid to win support for a distrusted tax, while closing off options for the future, doesn’t do much to bolster my confidence in them.

– By Kyle Wingfield

Find me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter

186 comments Add your comment

stands for decibels

July 19th, 2012
12:10 pm

this is an obvious pander for “yes” votes

you say that like it’s a Bad Thing!

Whereas I just tip my cap to political smarts, wherever I might find it.

Uh oh

July 19th, 2012
12:11 pm

Let’s make a Deal.

Kyle: I’m with you on the perception of the timing, however the state is finally following up on what it said it would do.

Side note: What do you think about the funding for the dredging in Savannah? Will create jobs to do the work and hopefully increased jobs long term in the area

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

July 19th, 2012
12:14 pm

“Coming 12 days before the T-SPLOST referendum, this is an obvious pander for “yes” votes. It’s a last-ditch attempt to save what would appear to be an expensive but failed campaign to pass the $7.2 billion tax.”

First thing I thought of when I read the headline.

iggy

July 19th, 2012
12:16 pm

No way. These politicians cannot and should not be trusted. This last ditch effort/pandering is shameful.

The GA toll can be eliminated, but that will not change my vote.

NO TSPLOST!!

PS…Desparate times call for desparate measures…LMAO!!

bu2

July 19th, 2012
12:18 pm

I agree. The problem is more with the project list.

The other problem is the ridiculous setup of government here. An unelected body chose to extend the toll. Noone has any authority over them.

In Dekalb County a zoning commission approved a zoning change. The County commission didn’t like it and sued their zoning commission. They couldn’t do anything else about it.

In Gwinnet County the cities and counties sued each other over how much the cities should pay for services.

In Fulton County the cities and counties are fighting over who gets how much of the sales tax.

Other states don’t have all this infighting and stupid waste of resources because they don’t have such stupid, unresponsive setups. With these unelected commissions able to make decisions without control by an elected body, you are just primed for the corruption that pervades Georgia government. With these battles over taxes and services, you create disharmony and an inability to work together. Sales taxes should be allocated to who collects them. Counties should budget for areas and be able to charge accordingly. Their boards ARE elected by the citizens of the various cities. And cities shouldn’t be able to do such a la carte pricing. And for that matter, its ridiculous how much of the urban area is unincorporated. The overwhelming majority of Dekalb County is urban and unincorporated. You’ve got heavily developed areas 5 miles from downtown Atlanta unincorporated and ruled by a County government. It makes no sense. And the mess that is the Dekalb County Commission and Fulton County Commission proves that.

@@

July 19th, 2012
12:20 pm

If Deal can do it now, there’s no reason he couldn’t have done it on January 11, 2011.

Kyle Wingfield

July 19th, 2012
12:20 pm

Uh Oh @ 12:11: I think there’s an argument to be made that ports are one type of transportation infrastructure the federal government has an interest in creating and funding.

Fwiw, the same was true of was the interstate highway system. But I would argue that, today, with the interstates more or less built-out, the feds should relinquish the bulk of transportation planning and funding back to the states.

It makes little to no sense that Georgians pay a gas tax, the feds take the bulk of it, then Georgia’s politicians have to go to Washington and ask for our money back — but the feds decide what we build with it! This is the story of the downtown streetcar, which is a low, low priority for anyone who cares about traffic in Atlanta. But we’re building it because Ray LaHood thought it was neat-o …

bu2

July 19th, 2012
12:20 pm

And Deal can’t oppose the TSPLOST, but if he actively works for it, I will almost certainly vote for someone else next time for governor.

carlosgvv

July 19th, 2012
12:21 pm

“it ties our hands for making transportation improvements”

This is based on the assumption that all the fees collected by GA 400 tolls are actually going where they should go. This, at best, is a very dubious assumption.

bu2

July 19th, 2012
12:22 pm

Ray LaHood would think the TSPLOST projects are neat-o.

Kyle Wingfield

July 19th, 2012
12:24 pm

@@ @ 12:20: In fairness to Deal, his hands were tied back then because his predecessor had already sold the bonds. There was (according to Deal today, anyway — although it does sound familiar) a prepayment penalty for repaying the money in less than three years. Dec. 1, 2013, makes three years.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

July 19th, 2012
12:30 pm

Hey, Kyle!

Maybe Deal read your 2120 Poll Position column regarding the T-SPLOST polling numbers and decided he had to do something.

You’re a shaker and a mover, my man! :D

PENN STATE: The New Notre Dame

July 19th, 2012
12:34 pm

Wouldn’t it have been a BETTER IDEA to end the tolls on GA 400 years ago when the voters of this State were promised they would be?

Uh oh

July 19th, 2012
12:34 pm

Kyle

Thanks for the reply. No offense but I figured you would agree but not without adding a few things that are not directly related. However, we may disagree on certain issue, but certainly there is a place for Fed, State and Local.

PENN STATE: The New Notre Dame

July 19th, 2012
12:36 pm

Our State & Federal Governments, especially the current Federal Government, already use the money we give them as virtual toilet paper in buying votes and signing off on half-baked ideas and misapplied projects.

Burn in Hell, July 31st T-SPLOST!

Tap Out

July 19th, 2012
12:43 pm

Construction workers, put away your tools and equipment….there’s a good chance these folks are not gonna vote for road projects and jobs. Next time vote Democrat, you may not like them but they are better for the middle class.

oldfart

July 19th, 2012
12:44 pm

After he abolishes SRTA, fires Gena Evans, discontinues the I-85 HOT lane, diverts the 300 million dollars from the gas tax already earmarked for the $1,000,000,000.00+ HOT lanes planned for the I-75 corridor, then we’ll talk. By the way, talking about things quietly slipping through, that $300 million dollar seed money for the I-75 HOT lanes that passed at the end of the last session of the legislature barely received a mention in the press, AJC included. That is gas tax money that could have been used to address some of these projects in the TSPLOST referendum. These extremely high up front costs put the revenue generation from HOT lanes much too far in the future to be feasible. The government trust issues have been massive from GDOT, SRTA, the governor and the legislature not Listening to their constituency that the Billions of dollars planned for HOT lanes all over Atlanta could be better spent.

Aquagirl

July 19th, 2012
12:44 pm

The biggest problem I have with this decision, however, is that it ties our hands for making transportation improvements should the T-SPLOST fail.

Good catch Kyle. Like everyone else I about rolled my eyeballs out of my head at the pandering, and didn’t think about the second part.

I often criticize conservatives because they scream and squall about plan A. Ask anything about plan B and you get a blank stare, followed by louder screaming about plan A.

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

July 19th, 2012
12:49 pm

Tapout- We the People will be deciding on T-Splost and the Republicans are the ones who got it on the ballot.

What planet are you dialing in from?

JDW

July 19th, 2012
12:52 pm

@Kyle, not much to dispute here…

“Coming 12 days before the T-SPLOST referendum, this is an obvious pander for “yes” votes.”

It’s what Raw Deal does best. Only difference is this time its to the “Gubment is Bad” crowd instead of one of his business partners…er supporters.

No worries though, if the “Gubment is Bad” crowd actually bothers to go to the polls and defeat TSPLOST we won’t have to worry about new congestion…shrinking economies produce lower congestion…see there was a “cheaper” fix.

DannyX

July 19th, 2012
12:54 pm

“But we’re building it because Ray LaHood thought it was neat-o …”

Republicans! Who needs them?

Another problem with our gas tax revenue is the funding formula at the state level. 35% of Atlanta gas tax revenue is siphoned off to other parts of the state. No wonder Atlanta is backed up.

Since metro Atlanta is being short changed all around there are limited choices. With TSPLOST about to go down the only options are toll roads, toll lanes, and stifling traffic. I believe the people of metro Atlanta prefer stifling traffic, especially the suburbanites who won’t even fund rail service like Fulton and DeKalb currently do.

JDW

July 19th, 2012
12:55 pm

@Tiberius…

The Republicans are the ones who got it abdicated their responsibility as elected officials forcing the need to put it on the ballot.

Got your typo…no thanks needed.

Jefferson

July 19th, 2012
12:57 pm

So why not vote for the other party and teach them a lesson ?

Kyle Wingfield

July 19th, 2012
12:57 pm

PENN STATE @ 12:34: Compared to the way they went about extending it, yes.

That said, and I wrote as much at the time, there was a case to be made that 400 needed so many more improvements that the toll needed to stay in place. They just didn’t want to bother making that case.

iggy

July 19th, 2012
12:58 pm

“shrinking economies produce lower congestion”

That is the best way to control the Atlanta MegaMessOpolis, shrinking economy. The city of Atlanta only wants to contribute useless ideas like the beltline, light rail etc when its already a given these are loss leaders.

Bye Bye TSplost…

@@

July 19th, 2012
12:59 pm

Pre-payment penalty, Kyle? How does it compare to the overall penalty we’re facing if T-Splost goes thru?

What a mess!

obozo

July 19th, 2012
1:01 pm

Kyle- For a small donation to my reelection campaign, Obama 2012, I can rid you of the GA 400 tolls you currently pay, forthwith. I will get on the phone right now and tell them to go pound sand. For a larger contribution to my campaign, I can even make them give you money for using GA 400. And you’ll be a Silver Level Sponsor to boot, making you eligible for a dinner at the Senate Cafeteria with Joe Biden. So write that check today, go hop in your car and ride up and down 400 without a care in the world, all hours of the day, clog it up if you’d like.

( Hey, what’s this big word on my Teleprompter? Rid, ridi, ridic, ridiculous. Aahhh, I got it.)

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

July 19th, 2012
1:02 pm

JDW? Your 12:55 is focusing on a comment I never made.

Really son, I’m just not your type.

I suggest less fixating on ME, and more on the other posters.

@@

July 19th, 2012
1:04 pm

“shrinking economies produce lower congestion”

Not to mention cleaner air.

Let us all B-R-E-A-T-H-E a sigh of relief.

I was just reading an article about fertilizing the oceans with iron…a cheap form of sequestration. Not a cure-all but a step in the right direction.

Algae is amazing stuff.

old timer

July 19th, 2012
1:05 pm

Pandering…I am still voting no

Uh oh

July 19th, 2012
1:08 pm

JDW.

You are the son of Tiberius?

learn something new every day

:-)

MANGLER

July 19th, 2012
1:17 pm

Observing how metro Atlantans handle each other while driving compared to many other regions, I’d like to point out that if you’d simply let other drivers merge with you rather than tailgate up to the last possible point of pavement, a large part of the congestion at pinch points would take care of itself. Spend some effort to remind drivers that simply being courteous and sharing the road with each other eases congestion and reduces stress. Can you imagine hearing (pay attention here) business leaders and tourists make comments like “the people of Atlanta are so courteous and friendly I just love spending lots of money there”. But that kind of talk will never come out of Gov’t because nobody makes any money from no bid construction contracts from it.

SBinF

July 19th, 2012
1:26 pm

Wait, you are opposing a tax cut?

Please pardon me while my head explodes.

What would Grover Norquist say??

JDW

July 19th, 2012
1:26 pm

@Tibeius…”JDW? Your 12:55 is focusing on a comment I never made.”

Right you are…it was directed at Whiner’s 12:49…no worries though since you guys think alike you were thinking it. :lol:

md

July 19th, 2012
1:27 pm

And he’s right to pull the plug and return the process back to the masses. The original toll was sold to those masses with an ending point. So now he is ending it as agreed.

Any new process should again be determined by the masses….either through referendum or on the campaign trail……….

JDW

July 19th, 2012
1:28 pm

@Uh Oh…”You are the son of Tiberius?”

Only in his rather fertile imagination…

ByteMe

July 19th, 2012
1:28 pm

I’m still back to: they need to create toll plazsas wherever 65 mph turns into 55 mph and use it to fund road and transit improvements under a single umbrella agency that combines GRTA, ARC and MARTA.

My Plan B. Thank me later :)

Jefferson

July 19th, 2012
1:28 pm

What ? Paper legs ?

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

July 19th, 2012
1:30 pm

A fertile imagination comment from someone who attributes a remark to me that I didn’t write.

Too funny! :roll:

md

July 19th, 2012
1:32 pm

“I’d like to point out that if you’d simply let other drivers merge with you rather than tailgate up to the last possible point of pavement, a large part of the congestion at pinch points would take care of itself.”

And every time I try to be courteous,, the guy/gal I let in slows down in front of me and causes everybody from there back to slow down or slam on their brakes……there is also an art to merging into faster traffic……..if you can’t drive like nascar, stay to the right. Those signs that say “slower traffic keep right” are there for a reason………..

Samantha

July 19th, 2012
1:33 pm

Nathan Deal did indeed pander. I laugh thinking about the phone calls and meetings with PR firms adn politicans trying to find a way to get TSPLOST out of it’s well deserved ditch. Cancelling the GA 400 tolls from the Northside to Buckhead should have been done when Sonny Perdue was governor, not now. The government broke faith with the taxpayers and this eleventh hour, jail house conversion is not going to restore that faith.
Yes TSPLOST is in trouble becasue the voters don’t have much faith in the people who will control the money. BUT the real problem is in the project list. Too much money to pet projects and not enought money to attack the real enemy, traffic.
I vote Nice Try but NO.

AnotherGovtLie

July 19th, 2012
1:35 pm

“The biggest problem I have with this decision, however, is that it ties our hands for making transportation improvements should the T-SPLOST fail.”

It doesn’t tie anyone’s hands at all! That’s the whole point, Kyle. Since promising to remove the toll (17 months from now) was just a lie anyhow to try and get more votes for T-SPLOST, when T-SPLOST fails he will just go back on his word yet again and NOT remove the toll. He will use the fact that T-SPLOST was voted down as his reason, even though he didn’t say he was going to remove it “if T-SPLOST passes”. He just said he would remove it, period. Lie, lie, lie. All these people do is lie. What’s sad is that your statement that I quoted above tells me you still don’t get that.

JohnnyReb

July 19th, 2012
1:37 pm

Deal has now made two mistakes on TSPLOST.

The first was endorsing it to start with,

and the second is, as Kyle writes, the obvious pandering to try and save it.

I have posted numeours times that TSPLOST is a wealth transfer project from South to North of I-20. That remains true and for that reason and the special interest, excuse me, project list should be voted down.

TruthBe

July 19th, 2012
1:41 pm

YES it is. Why? Because a deal is a deal, and a contract is to be honored, and your word is your bond. The State had a contract with the people of Georgia to take it down, in fact the contract had a sunset rule in it. REMEMBER???????? And the last election the now Governor Deal PROMISED to remove the toll for good period. So keep your word. And also VOTE NO on T-SPLOST.. Because of all the extra taxes and spending in it that has NOTHING to do with fixing the traffic problems. NO NEW TAXES FOR ANYTHING EVER UNTIL THE GOVERNMENT STOPS WASTING OUR HARD EARNED MONEY. Stop spending and cut the size of government. That includes state, city, county, and federal governments.

kimmer

July 19th, 2012
1:42 pm

I agree. The damage is already done and there are serious consequences for betraying the public’s trust. Talk about penny wise and pound foolish!

Kyle Wingfield

July 19th, 2012
1:48 pm

AnotherGovtLie @ 1:35: No, more like giving him too much credit to make this announcement trumpeting his kept promise and then turn around and go back on it. If he wanted the toll up in case of a failed T-SPLOST, why not frame it that one possible benefit of approving the T-SPLOST would be that the toll could come down?

In other words, if he wanted the toll to be up in the case of a failed T-SPLOST, I think he’d just let sleeping dogs (or in this case, tolls) lie.

Now, a different toll — maybe HOT lane(s) — in the future? That’s not out of the question imo.

TruthBe

July 19th, 2012
1:52 pm

carlosgvv , I agree with your statement posted at 12:21pm.

July 19th, 2012
12:21 pm

ragnar danneskjold

July 19th, 2012
1:52 pm

They are not fooling the people they need to fool, are they?

jconservative

July 19th, 2012
2:00 pm

I will believe that the 400 tolls are gone when I see the toll booths gone.

yuzeyurbrane

July 19th, 2012
2:09 pm

You are the bad guy. Moreover, you are obviously a closet tax and spend liberal. How clever to masquerade as a conservative.

iggy

July 19th, 2012
2:09 pm

I would imagine they will only block off the toll lanes, instead of eliminating them, for future re-institution when “times are tough.”

southpaw

July 19th, 2012
2:13 pm

JConservative @2:00

Hey! You stole my thunder! :-)
I couldn’t have said it better. “Let’s vote for the additional tax now so that maybe the old tax will go away in five or six months.” SOMETHING will happen before the end of the year, with the result of it being that the toll is still necessary.

President Barry

July 19th, 2012
2:18 pm

MAGIC TELEPROMPTER!

TELL ME WHAT TO SAY ABOUT THIS!

TELL ME WHAT TO THINK!

Don't Tread

July 19th, 2012
2:19 pm

I wonder if the toll will be reinstated if T-SPLOST is defeated. Hmmmmmm…..

Sounds like something 0bama would do.

DannyX

July 19th, 2012
2:20 pm

“TELL ME WHAT TO SAY ABOUT THIS!”

Say “end of quote.”

Kyle Wingfield

July 19th, 2012
2:20 pm

iggy @ 2:09: Deal’s press release referred to the time needed for “physically bringing down the gates and the dramatic restructuring that will be needed in the toll area.” Along with waiting out the three years to have no prepayment penalty, it’s another reason he cited for not taking down the toll until the end of next year.

President Barry

July 19th, 2012
2:26 pm

IS YOU ON MY SECRET KILL LIST YET?

Joeventures

July 19th, 2012
2:28 pm

In related news, a new study was released today showing that cynical people always look for reasons to stay cynical.

Bryan -- MARTA supporter

July 19th, 2012
2:29 pm

I am a supporter of the T-SPLOST but in a way I hope it goes up in flames. For all the no voters that compare this to the 400 tolls it is different. It is written into law that the tax ends in either 10 years or once the money projected is collected. There is no “Plan B” and the region will never pass an all transit or all roads tax. Taxes help maintain our way of living. If older generations didn’t support taxes we wouldn’t have the interstate system or be as developed of a region (heck as a nation) as we are. Then you have the pro transit folks that are mad cause it’s not enough transit. We have a great plan in place with the T-SPLOST. Perfect, no but if we don’t develop a foundation we aren’t just messing with local money we are messing with federal money! Read: http://saportareport.com/blog/2012/07/u-s-rep-john-mica-says-federal-dollars-are-at-stake-if-region-doesnt-pass-transportation-tax-new-polls-show-declining-support/#

And even local government is saying it will be years for them to even consider another T-SPLOST and it probably won’t even happen. But they did make it clear that they are going to get their money… WITH MORE TOLL ROADS!! Look at I-85 folks. Less free lanes with more clogged traffic and no alternatives. And yes this is about jobs and the economy as well, which will be hurt too when we don’t pass this. So welcome worst traffic, no local or federal dollars, more toll roads, and a poor job market and economy! GREAT JOB NO VOTERS!!

As far as the announcement this is government. Nothing happens in government fast. Was this idea on the table for months… YES. Now was it strategically released today when it was… YES also. I really hope you NO voters get what you want: no relief of traffic, no options besides driving, no jobs and economic development, no Plan B, and no way to stop your government from adding more HOT lanes to your highways!!!

Jefferson

July 19th, 2012
2:30 pm

Give Deal his yes votes, he needs the kickback to get out of debt. George Purdue made out like a bandit, why can’t he ?

Keep voting R and they will keep pumping all ya’ll. They forget what got them there, sport.

President Barry

July 19th, 2012
2:32 pm

I SAY WE NEED TO KEEP THOSE TOLLS IN PLACE AND USE THAT MONEY TO HELP SPREAD THE WEALTH AROUND.

IF YOU WERE ABLE TO GET TO YOUR BUSINESS THIS MORNING ON GA 400, YOU DIDN’T DO THAT BY YOURSELF!

YOUR GOVERNMENT MADE THAT ROAD FOR YOU THERE SO YOU COULD GET TO YOUR BUSINESS THAT SOMEBODY ELSE MADE FOR YOU, SO YOU SHOULD BE MORE APPRECIATIVE.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

July 19th, 2012
2:36 pm

Bryan, why would you have a Plan B available and out in the public eye if you have a Plan A in front of the voters you want passed? If your goal is to get your initiative passed, you don’t ever put out a fall-back position; at least not in the electoral world.

This argument about “There is no Plan B” is the silliest ever made on this blog, and that’s saying something.

You also don’t devise a Plan B until you see why and how much this Plan A loses by. Then you either raise taxes with a legislative vote, you change your project lists, or maybe a little bit of both.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

July 19th, 2012
2:38 pm

Isn’t there a rule on this blog about shouting in CAPS all the time?

Road Scholar

July 19th, 2012
2:40 pm

The biggest problem I have with this decision, however, is that it ties our hands for making transportation improvements should the T-SPLOST fail.

Even w/o the decision, our hands would have been tied for 2 years, at least. Or are you just upset that the improvements along SR 400 to be paid for by the toll extension are not being made since it is your commute corridor? Deal did not say what he was going to use to pay off the tolls. Gas Tax? Cookie sale? Transportation funds for the Atlanta region?

Me Be Tollin'

July 19th, 2012
2:48 pm

Here’s an idea – Move the northbound toll booth to the southern end of 400 so people living in the city contribute to the toll. Where it is now, North Fulton residents pay both ways but City residents can go all the way to to Lenox and back for free. In the popular words of President Obama, let’s make it “fair”.

Mel A. Tonin

July 19th, 2012
2:50 pm

OK, so if the TSPLOST passes the 400 tolls go away and if it doesn’t they stay?? Me thinks there will be another “legal hurdle” that will prevent the toll booths from coming down ANYWAY! Vote NO!

Just saying..

July 19th, 2012
2:57 pm

Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to…

Kyle Wingfield

July 19th, 2012
2:57 pm

Road @ 2:40: First, the improvements to be funded by the toll extension are still being made; the ones I mentioned, which stand not to be made, are the ones the T-SPLOST would fund. Second, my understanding is the money is coming from a combination of refinancing (meaning tens of millions less in interest payments) and over-borrowing in the first place (plus the fact the original tolls had also raised more money than necessary).

Third, none of the T-SPLOST improvements affect me personally, because I have a reverse commute and don’t get caught up very often in the mess that is traffic on the 285/400 interchange. The others are further north than where I drive. The new 85/400 interchange would help me, but again — that’s still being built with the toll proceeds. I drive that route every day, so I know rebuilding the 285/400 interchange would help a whole lot of people. Then again, that’s 1.5% of the money — and I see a lot of the places other projects would be built, too. For better or worse…

Kyle Wingfield

July 19th, 2012
2:59 pm

Me Be Tollin’ @ 2:48: OTOH, people who drive south on 400 to 285 never pay any tolls, even though the tolls fund improvements on that part of the highway. Is that “fair”?

Reality

July 19th, 2012
3:02 pm

“We’ll close the GA 400 Toll.”

They turned the microphone off for the rest of that statement:

“As long as you pass the TSPLOST.”

@Kyle Wingfield

July 19th, 2012
3:05 pm

You say the GA400/85 Interchange will not be built using the TSPLOST….then why is it listed as one of the projects?

Kyle Wingfield

July 19th, 2012
3:08 pm

Reality: It’d be clearer for you to keep posting as “Reality” and put “@Kyle Wingfield” in your comment.

On the question: It’s not listed as one of the projects for the T-SPLOST. The 285/400 and 85/285 interchanges are.

Just saying..

July 19th, 2012
3:09 pm

“As long as you pass the TSPLOST.”

Fun-ney!
and probably accurate.

Zelurishinique

July 19th, 2012
3:11 pm

Wow what a transparent, disingenuous move. Kyle called it what it is, an obvious pander for the “yes” vote.

Let’s don’t celebrate too soon. They already lied to us once, what’s to stop him from reneging on this latest promise to end the toll.

President Barry

July 19th, 2012
3:14 pm

LET ME BE CLEAR:

IF YOU FOLKS IN GEORGIA WANT TO HAVE A BAKE SALE TO RAISE MONEY FOR YOUR ROADS AND MAKE IT RAIN THOSE DOLLAR BILLS DOWN ON YOUR STATE’S D.O.T., MY FRIENDS IN THE CHOOM GANG HAVE A TOP-SHELF RECIPE FOR BROWNIES.

YOUR CUSTOMERS WILL KEEP GETTING HUNGRY AND KEEP COMING BACK FOR MORE TO GIVE YOU MORE OF THAT MONEY THAT SOMEBODY ELSE MADE FOR THEM.

BW

July 19th, 2012
3:17 pm

Kyle

I’m not sure “most” people agree on those three points. I even have Facebook friends posting videos of the roads outside their neighborhoods during the morning drive time hour or talking about the police doing more ticketing to justify their traffic congestion denial. I’m not sure if you have to deal with Milton sorry north Fulton county but I do and every one of those road projects will improve my commute from Duluth at I-85 and Pleasant Hill area to 400/McFarland area. I’m not sure there is legitimate opposition on the merits of congestion in that area. But you have alot of posters here talking about trust issues with the politicans they keep voting for….I will acknowledge that you acknowledge basic competency will restore trust yet the prevailing message out there in conservative land is that government is always bad and then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I would love to see a column about restoring trust between voters and elected officials because we need to be able to have another funding mechanism in short order after this vote goes down in flames.

Kyle Wingfield

July 19th, 2012
3:17 pm

President Barry: Lay off the CAPS button.

Yudont Nomey

July 19th, 2012
3:18 pm

Let me get this straight, you want government to build, repair and maintain roads? That sounds very socialist to me. Let the rick folk pay for the roads so they can get their goods transported and their workers to work.

BW

July 19th, 2012
3:18 pm

@Kyle Wingfield/Reality

The 400/85 interchange improvements are funded directly from the toll revenues.

Kyle Wingfield

July 19th, 2012
3:20 pm

BW @ 3:17: I don’t know if “most” do either, without having asked a statistically significant sample of them — which is why I wrote “many.” But I will say that “most” of the anti-T-SPLOST leadership agrees on the points.

BW

July 19th, 2012
3:20 pm

I still believe the legislature should simply raise the gas tax to adequately fund road improvements and bring an comprehensive commuter rail heavy transit plan for metro Atlanta to the voters.

OTP

July 19th, 2012
3:21 pm

If the vote is no, do none of the projects on the list get done? For example, the GA20 widening in Gwinnett supposedly already has federal funding.

BW

July 19th, 2012
3:22 pm

Kyle

We’re splitting hairs on many or most but there is nothing but vocal opposition with no alternative plan that is being pitched due to the need to gulp raise revenues.

Just Say No to New Taxes

July 19th, 2012
3:28 pm

As Ga 400 proves, you cannot trust the government scum to remove a tax as “promised” when certain conditions are met, so the best advice is to never, ever vote to approve a tax, any tax. Just say no to TSPLAT (like a bug hitting the windshield, splat goes the tax).

Bryan -- MARTA supporter

July 19th, 2012
3:29 pm

@ Tiberius – pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed July 19th, 2012 2:36 pm

I’m confused, who every said anything about there being a Plan B? I said there isn’t one. Meaning there isn’t going to be nothing if the current T-SPLOST isn’t passed.

And why raise taxes? Isn’t that the argument of most on why we SHOULDN’T vote for the current plan?

Kyle Wingfield

July 19th, 2012
3:30 pm

BW @ 3:22: Actually, I would say most of what you’d normally call the anti-tax crowd is more opposed to transit expansion than the tax itself — though certainly some high-profile opponents think a sales tax is not the best way to raise revenues.

Kyle Wingfield

July 19th, 2012
3:31 pm

OTP @ 3:21: A handful of projects would go through — on what timetable, though, I’m not sure — but most of the projects will be pushed back a long time absent new revenue.

Bubba

July 19th, 2012
3:32 pm

YEEEE-HAW! Let’s go back to dirt roads and horse & buggys! That outta fix Atlanter’s transpotashun problums! GO SOUTH!

southpaw

July 19th, 2012
3:36 pm

Should have said eighteen months, not six months, @2:13. That should give the politicians more time to find a pretext for keeping the toll. “No, southpaw! Just vote in the TSPLOST now, and maybe we’ll end the toll in a year and a half.”

Jay

July 19th, 2012
3:38 pm

The question that journalists need to ask is
1) How much is in the 400 account now
2) How much is going to take to “close the Toll lanes”
3) Why do the Toll Plaza have to completely be redone, just clear the two or three lanes of traffice flow and keep the rest of the structure as a reminder of a promise finally kept or reinstate if needed.
4) How much more in interest payments are needed to Dec 31, 2013, ie total payoff of the bonds including interest payments
5) Is there any other expenditures needed?

I suspect that there is enough right now to finish all the projects but they would rather collecting tolls for another 17 months.

If there is enough money, stop collecting the toll and just make the interest payments on time until Dec 2013 and pay the rest off.

BW

July 19th, 2012
3:44 pm

Kyle

Exactly. I do think that a majority of suburbanities will accept a commuter rail system not run by MARTA or the city of Atlanta. And maybe if that works the entire heavy rail and commuter rail network can be merged under one state agency that receives state funding in exchange for additional oversight read a majority of non Atlanta board members running it. Once this sales tax fails, the legislature is going to have to strap it on and go ahead and vote as a unified bloc to raise the gas tax for the road improvements such that Grover can’t target them all at election time. That’s the only way I see out of this.

Just Say No to New Taxes

July 19th, 2012
3:55 pm

Is the Ga 400 Toll Road Fund the same fund that X Governor Roy (The Crook, imho) Barnyard stole money from for his cronies building Atlantic Station? I think it is, so let us remind people of that other crooked scum bag politician who lied to the taxpayers for the benefit of his worthless cronies, imho! JUST SAY NO TO ALL NEW TAXES, AND TELL ALL DEMOCRATS TO GO TO …..

@@

July 19th, 2012
3:58 pm

I have to admit, this has turned out to be the most confusing topic ever had the “pleasure” of reading.

It’s rare that I travel 400. Have friends whose mansion in perched on a termite hill off of Riverside Drive.

I’ll take a turnip patch over a termite hill any day of the week.

==================================

Watch Your Backs, CEOs: The Margin For Error Is Shrinking

These things have a way of sorting themselves out.

Road Scholar

July 19th, 2012
4:05 pm

Kyle; Now I understand your commute. Get ready for more traffic on this piece of SR 400. By removing the tolls, those who won’t pay the toll because they use different routes to avoid the toll now will use SR400. The studies done have shown that.

Back to the bonds and their payoff. The bonds were sold backed by the future revenue that the toll would bring in. That was the way the original toll worked in building the facility. Now with no revenue stream after 2013, the bonds still need to be paid off with cash. You are right that the future interest money to be paid will go away… a net savings. My point is with some of the projects already in design and construction (I 85 is a design build job…others are in different levels of implementation) either new money will need to be identified to 1) pay off the bonds, and 2) finance those projects that will move forward on the SRTA list of improvements. (This list of project is NOT related to Tsplost).

Some of the SRTA projects may not be implemented (zero cost.). Those that are being implemented have been funded with resulting toll collection balances (leftover monies), or new cash. Where does that cash come from? GDOT budget? General fund? You still have to pay for what has been started, or you will , at min, have to pay demobilization and materials already bought costs.

I would hope that the I 85 project gets done . The others???? If you had read my past posts concerning this corridor, you would remember I liked the I 85 project, but most of the others were too far away from the Extension (south of I 285) to be worthy to use toll monies collected ITP. Some of those projects were in Forsyth Co; the % of users in FC that use the toll section would be very low.

For history sake, the original deal for tolls on SR 400 had been renegotited many times saving the taxpayer money in interest payments over the 20 years. The reason why they weren’t removed earlier is that the operation costs of the toll plaza and the satellite office were under estimated…why…because Georgia has never had such a road. Those duties were privatized with only the toll booth managers being state employees…working for SRTA. The only toll Ga had was a short bridge to St Simons (that toll was removed when a study showed that, with needed toll improvements, the toll revenue there would not pay for the improvements.

Jefferson

July 19th, 2012
4:06 pm

Why when lied to by the GOP, would anyone think they have changed or will change unless booted out ? How did they get the job ?

Michael H. Smith

July 19th, 2012
4:10 pm

Yeah right!

Are some of you Republicans getting nervous?

Go ahead with your little game, end the 400 toll after the fact. It want do you any good. In fact,for many people it will likely add your slimy political insult to our egregious injury which you heaped on top of the nasty liar wound Roy Barnes first inflicted upon us in the first place.

T-SPLOST? HELL NO!

I’m voting for the T-SPLAT

The Republicans supporting this T-SPLOST should all be replaced with “real HONEST SMALL GOVERNMENT conservatives”.

Road Scholar

July 19th, 2012
4:11 pm

Just Say No: Some toll monies were used to buy property west of Atlantic station (bounded by 17th St Ikea, and Northside Drive. Not Atlantic Station proper. I believe that property was sold off; do not know for a fact.

jd

July 19th, 2012
4:16 pm

Hmmm… when the princes and princesses of North Fulton tire of the potholes — maybe they will realize there is NSTAFH – (No Such Thing As A Free Highway)

But, then, they can build businesses without goverment help…

@@

July 19th, 2012
4:20 pm

Tiberius:

Are some of you Republicans getting nervous?

Confused is more like it. When confused, I vote “NO”.

Stick this in your pothole

July 19th, 2012
4:21 pm

And we can build roads without giving 52 cent out of every additional gas tax dollar raised to MARTA. :lol:

Road Scholar

July 19th, 2012
4:22 pm

Kyle, you have my e-mail address…..

@@

July 19th, 2012
4:22 pm

Oops! Michael.

Note to self–pay closer attention.

Just Say No to New Taxes

July 19th, 2012
4:23 pm

Road Scholar: I believe Roy paid for the interchange with I75/85 at Atlantic Station using Ga 400 Toll money. When caught, he said, oops, I didn’t know any better, imho! Once a slime ball politician, always a slime ball politician. I for one eagerly await the revolution….

ld

July 19th, 2012
4:25 pm

A vote against the Tspolost is a vote to put the responsibility for serving the best interest of the state back where it belongs–in the laps of Georgia’s power hungry, over-paid, work/responsibility-dodging, self-serving, money grubbin; lobbyist pampered, have-it-both ways elected polititions.

md

July 19th, 2012
4:33 pm

“Let me get this straight, you want government to build, repair and maintain roads? That sounds very socialist to me. Let the rick folk pay for the roads so they can get their goods transported and their workers to work.”

Gov’t gets its money from those willing to go out and start businesses……….so those businesses built the roads.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

July 19th, 2012
4:34 pm

Bryan, I suggest you read my 2:36 again.

The problem is that you’re complaining that there is no Plan B.

My complaint is that calling for a Plan B, when Plan A hasn’t been voted on, is electorally foolish.

Road Scholar

July 19th, 2012
4:35 pm

“…the feds should relinquish the bulk of transportation planning and funding back to the states.

It makes little to no sense that Georgians pay a gas tax, the feds take the bulk of it, then Georgia’s politicians have to go to Washington and ask for our money back — but the feds decide what we build with it! ”

Kyle, as of the last transportation bill approved before the recent one, we would get directly 92% of our fed gas tax back. The remainder went to research, joint transportation studies with other states, to fund part of the Fed DOT,safety studies and other related costs. Back in the 1970-1990 times we got back about 60% directly. The bill in 1992 reduced the fed governments role in selecting projects and set the 92% min return. Since then earmarks have been outlawed, but many “unfunded” programs were added diluting the money collected. The new bill, which I am reviewing, allegedly reduces the programs and gives more control to the locals…not necessarily GDOT but the state regional and urban area planning organizations. Those planning orgs are rooted in fed law.

Again in past posts, I have said that the fed tax should be abolished or reduced to only fund joint research and development, safety programs, research which benefits the states, the national defense hwy system etc. Send the remainder of the money or the fed tax% not used for those programs directly to the states.

Road Scholar

July 19th, 2012
4:38 pm

Just say..: I do not believe so. It was developer monies , federal (DOT and EPA ( it was a brownsfield redevelopment project)) and state monies. The only SR 400 money used was for the land I defined earlier.

Just Say No to New Taxes

July 19th, 2012
4:44 pm

Road Scholar – Kyle has full access to the AJC archives from that era, I am sure he can tell us the whole story, if he so chooses.

Just Say No to New Taxes

July 19th, 2012
4:45 pm

There was a big stink about the diversion of GA 400 toll money by Roy, the ajc ran several stories.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

July 19th, 2012
4:45 pm

Man, @@!

First JDW, and now YOU!

I must really be getting inside your heads . . . ;)

Kyle Wingfield

July 19th, 2012
4:53 pm

Road @ 4:05: I agree, more traffic on 400 between 285 and 85 is probably coming when the toll booths disappear. Which will probably lead to the creation of HOT lane(s) there (and north of 285?) …

Deal in his announcement indicated there will be enough money already in the account or coming between now and Dec. 2013 to pay for the projects. The reduced interest payments due to refinancing eliminate the need to keep the tolls past 2013, not to pay for the projects.

@@

July 19th, 2012
4:57 pm

Tiberius:

Sorry! No room for you inside my head. After trying to follow this T-Splost debate, it’s full of cotton balls.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

July 19th, 2012
5:00 pm

@@ at 4:57: :lol:

I know what you mean. My own situation makes it easy for me. Glad they’re going away as part of my small government beliefs, but in essence will affect me very little. I might spend $2 per year driving on GA400.

iggy

July 19th, 2012
5:10 pm

HOT Lanes will not be used by this blogger. Paying a tax on a tax…KMA!

Dusty

July 19th, 2012
5:39 pm

I don’t care if the ending of Ga. 400 tolls now is a great idea.

The governor who made the original “pay off promise” lied and that lie is “set in concrete”. We don’t forget it. Now Governor Deal has made his promise to end the tolls in 13 months according to what the regulations allow. We can only wait and see how this promise works out. (I don’t believe in mob violence.)

As to T-SPLOST. even if they lined GA 400 with decorated Christmas trees, gave free ice cream at the toll booths and polished your headlights at every stop, I would not vote for T-SPLOST.

Speaking of great ideas, I need one. What should I have for dinner?

Michael H. Smith

July 19th, 2012
5:43 pm

@@

July 19th, 2012
4:22 pm

Note to who and what are you talking about?

BADA BING

July 19th, 2012
5:52 pm

If you chop a tree down in the forest, and no one is around,did you do that, or did the Gov’t do it for you?

Michael H. Smith

July 19th, 2012
5:53 pm

It is a very simple thing to get a voter approved gas tax increase past, provided the terms met voter approval. But this give MARTA the loins share when most of the taxpayers involved in this thing don’t want to give MARTA a cent isn’t going to cut it. Nor will the idea of giving the politicians another with no strings and no mandatory return to the ballot for voter approval of extension .

How many times has Cobb and Gwinnett told MARTA to take a hike Kyle? After what has happened with the GA 400 toll road Georgians will never give their elected office a tax with no strings or mandate for re-approval to extend the tax or kill it. Of course they can just raise the tax and face we voters head on at the ballot box as many of them surely will now after these last minute stunts.

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

July 19th, 2012
5:55 pm

No, Obama resents their modest success precisely because they did earn it.- Taranto, WSJ

So which came first, the car, the road or the tax used to build the road?

md

July 19th, 2012
5:57 pm

“If you chop a tree down in the forest, and no one is around,did you do that, or did the Gov’t do it for you?”

Did the gov’t pay for the ax??

Michael H. Smith

July 19th, 2012
6:00 pm

Dusty,

Deal and Company could have ended the toll already. But we agree, it will not make any difference. Our NO vote shall remain NO.

Wallis the dog

July 19th, 2012
6:08 pm

When the tolls cease I hope they’ll leave one worker out there to collect fifty cents from Sonny Perdue when he drives by.

Hillbilly D

July 19th, 2012
6:08 pm

Coming 12 days before the T-SPLOST referendum, this is an obvious pander for “yes” votes.

Not only is this an obvious pander for votes, it’s also just a “plan”. Now me, I don’t trust any politicians, in general, and Ol’ Nathan is one of the ones I don’t trust in particular. I’d be about willing to bet you a Co-Cola that this “plan” never comes to fruition, no matter which way the vote goes. It’s just another pig in a poke.

@@

July 19th, 2012
6:10 pm

@@

July 19th, 2012
6:15 pm

Tell ‘ya how muddled this debate has left my mind.

I’m reading an article about California’s new law that mandates laying chickens be provided a cage where they can stand up and spread their ___________?

Legs? That’s what I thought I read.

It’s actually their wings…they should be able to stand up and spread their wings.

Michael H. Smith

July 19th, 2012
6:16 pm

Got ya’. Once I went back and read the direction of your initial comment it became clear. I should have wrote back, never mind before you read my clueless question. My bad.

@@

July 19th, 2012
6:16 pm

And chickens should probably be “hens”.

Hillbilly D

July 19th, 2012
6:28 pm

When the tolls cease I hope they’ll leave one worker out there to collect fifty cents from Sonny Perdue when he drives by.

If he was still governor, he’d just fly over in one of the Georgia Air Force’s helicopters. I wonder if he can still do that as an ex-governor.

Hillbilly D

July 19th, 2012
6:31 pm

And chickens should probably be “hens”.

If’n they lay eggs or else you got the story of the century. (IWH)

Reminds me of the first time my Grandpa sent me out to gather eggs. He gave me a basket, pointed me at the chicken house, didn’t say anything about how many eggs I should find or where they’d be. So I made repeated trips back to the chicken house because “boy, you didn’t get ‘em all”. After a few days, I figured out exactly where each hen’s nest was (they had free range inside the chicken house). I believe he was teaching me something.

John

July 19th, 2012
6:34 pm

Will all the mis-management of funds that the politicians seem to engage in on a regular basis how dare they ask the citizens to impose another tax on themselves! Especially in these times of hardship when the citizens are scrapping to make a living with what they have. The politicians should learn a lesson from us and start managing the taxpayer’s money better!

BADA BING

July 19th, 2012
6:35 pm

Hey all, this weekend I am going to get in my car, which I didn’t build, load my jetski, which I didn’t build, drive to the lake, which I didn’t impound, on roads that I didn’t pave, take a lunch, that I didn’t grow, pick, or process, stop for gas that I didn’t find, pump or refine, and have some fun. This country is great, I don’t have to do anything and yet I get rewarded. This must be how plantation owners felt in the Old South. No wonder slavery was popular.

md

July 19th, 2012
6:54 pm

I put gas in my car last week that helped pave that road heading to the lake, so by someone’s logic I must own a share of your jetski…….what time shall we be there??

BADA BING

July 19th, 2012
7:01 pm

md, you must be a socialist, be there at 10 AM. You have to help push me it off.

Kyle Wingfield

July 19th, 2012
7:03 pm

All right, everyone, comments will be in moderation until tomorrow morning.

@@

July 19th, 2012
7:06 pm

My first and only experience at gathering eggs was with my sister-in-law. She had agreed to gather someone’s eggs while they were away. She told me that I had to leave one egg in the nest so the hen would know where to return.

Went back the next day to gather again. Couldn’t recall where I’d left the single eggs. If left there too long, that original single egg was gonna rot or hatch.

Don’t know how that works.

md

July 19th, 2012
7:07 pm

Oh no….no work for me, just ride and ride and ride…….

middle of the road

July 19th, 2012
7:53 pm

So when TSPLOST fails, I will bet that Deal will go back on this promise , too! Want to bet?

ViewFromMidtown

July 19th, 2012
8:28 pm

Wow, Kyle finally admits there is a project on the Atlanta Metro TIA list that would benefit HIM. After all his posturing and pontificating.

What’s hilarious about all these people crying wolf about “government corruption” and “broken promise” is that they’re complaining about a “leadership” and legislature that is majority Republican which you claim is corrupt and by its cowardice to do what’s necessary, gave us a TIA process which was pre-ordained to produce a sub-optimal list and yet, after the elections every Republican incumbent will be re-elected.

You complain about corruption and then refuse to hold the corrupt Republicans accountable. You deserve the crumbling infrastructure you vote for; you deserve the inept and corrupt government you get. Sadly, you will be taking all the rest of us down with you.

Eric

July 19th, 2012
9:01 pm

Good post, Kyle. I agree! I especially read through the lines and find that the purpose of TPLOST is more development for business at the people’s expense. Traffic relief won’t amount to much when another 1-2 million people arrive. But they’ll surely have new housing built and more roads.

Old Timer

July 19th, 2012
9:17 pm

Here’s the deal, Deal ends the 400 toll, the 10 county voters deny the TSLOST. The remaining state has their own 10 county TSPLOST problems. All this rhetoric has been for the Atlanta area, So does Atnata concede to the rest of the state or do they try to spoon off the rest of the state later. Politican are not to be trusted, Statesmen are. If the rest of the stae 10 county units pass the vote and the total vote is affrimative–the Atlanta area still wins. This election wasn’t just about one area–the politicans lumped it all together.Tthey still hve an out for Atlanta.

Jm

July 19th, 2012
10:07 pm

Kyle

We need to double deck the perimeter

Period

With taxes and tolls, limited access

BJ

July 19th, 2012
11:06 pm

I’ll gladly remove your toll booth in 2013, for your vote for TSPLOST this month.

Deal pledged not to raised taxes, but is now supporting the TSPLOST tax.

Why should we trust him when he says the GA 400 tax will be removed next year?

JASon

July 20th, 2012
12:44 am

If the government becomes corrupt, aren’t we allowed to take it over if we want? I’m not suggesting I want to do this in any way, I’m just asking if its legal from a constitutional standpoint. I was just curious.

southpaw

July 20th, 2012
7:29 am

I report @5:55 pm
Before the car, horses and buggies were on the roads. Now between the road and the tax, your guess is as good as mine.

BADA BING @5:52
Good to hear from you again! I’ve missed your wit.

Bill

July 20th, 2012
8:02 am

It sounds like you are against transportation taxes, except when they might improve YOUR commute.

JDW

July 20th, 2012
8:04 am

@Eric…”I especially read through the lines and find that the purpose of TPLOST is more development for business at the people’s expense. ”

At the people’s expense…who do you think will work in the jobs created by business? Who do you think is hurt by lack of said jobs?

Bill

July 20th, 2012
8:05 am

Jason,
That is an interesting question. Our founding fathers certainly suggested that the people should be able to throw off an oppressive government. But, they also passed laws regarding sedition and treason that make that very act a major crime. I think that when they talked about throwing off an oppressive government, they meant the one before them.

intown resident

July 20th, 2012
8:10 am

Double the tolls and run Marta up to Alpharetta; use the remaining money to unclog the 400/285 interchange . That is the problem in this state -everybody wants free infrastructure and the people in the North end are scared to death of riding MARTA except when they go to the airport or to a sports event.

I'm a liberal and believe everything I read and nothing the other side comes up with...cause we're smart and they are not

July 20th, 2012
8:12 am

Scared of riding Marta? I make sure I have a full tank of gas when traveling through anywhere in Atlanta so i don’t have to get off for gas. And yes, I was born and raised in Atlanta and lived there 41 years.

@@

July 20th, 2012
8:21 am

Speaking of Atlanta…

Spoiled kids? Atlanta’s got ‘em.

Atlanta ranked No. 7 in cities that spoil their kids, according to a survey released last month by Bundle.com, a company that assesses consumers’ spending habits.

schnirt

aps

July 20th, 2012
8:44 am

I hear that MARTA to Alpharetta is scheduled for 2025. That’ll help us now. Also, no one has stated what happens to the tax on each gallon of gas. This tax is supposed to be used for exactly what the TSPLOST funds are for, yet it gets siphoned off by politicians and we’re left in the situation that we have now. These lifetime politicians have screwed us time and time again but we keep sending them back to office.

Whirled Peas

July 20th, 2012
9:10 am

The best way to get the attention of a mule is to hit him on the ass with a two by four. And the politicians can see that the voters have the two by four in hand and ready for a good swat. Removing the tolls is a gimick that they how will stave off the two by four.

j

July 20th, 2012
9:10 am

Kyle, i agree with you but only for a different reason. I too pay the toll everyday and enjoy the cruise lane. Lift the 400 toll and i’m stuck sitting in traffic in the mornings. I do agree that the toll should have been lifted as promised but i think there is an easy fix to this. Create a cruise lane on 400, remove the old tolls, and use the cruise money to pay for road repairs. Or, take away the tolls on the weekends, and use the toll money during the week for the TSPLOST referendum. I’m not voting yes to raising the tax by 1% when there are better alternatives.

The Government is Stupid

July 20th, 2012
9:12 am

Kyle,

I agree that we need an actually interchange at 400 and 285. Right now all we have is a connection. The problem with the plan is that “Construction likely to occur in Band
3 (2020‐2022)”. That is straight from the plan…….so ten years from now we would have some relief. Now look at the plan to add toll lanes to 75 and 575…..that will not help if there is no road improvement on 285 between 75 and 400. A really improvement would be to build express lanes that only allow entrance and exit at certain locations……for example….a express lane on 285 that starts at 75 and the next exit is 400 then the next exit is 85 then 78 then 20……etc. This reduces the cross over lane traffic and people will not constantly be on their brakes……so traffic would continue to flow. That project is not even on the list. My vote is NO. For the second plan maybe they should try and fund the most important and biggest bang project FIRST and work them FIRST.

The Government is Stupid

July 20th, 2012
9:19 am

@APS

No MARTA to Alpharetta is not funded….at least not what you think…..From the report “This project funds the corridor planning, engineering, environmental review and assessment, improved interim bus services, and possible
limited right‐of‐way acquisition for the extension of the MARTA North (Red) Line.” No train, no platform, no track, and only ‘possible LIMITED ROW acquisition’!!!!! the second time the tax is approved might possibly get a train to alpharetta…..sometime after 2025….but by then the studies will be out of date and have to be completed again. The correct vote is NO!

Jimmy62

July 20th, 2012
9:43 am

Wouldn’t a gas tax make more sense? That way the people who use the roads pay for the roads.

iggy

July 20th, 2012
10:09 am

If Marta began rail construction, from the end of line to Alpharetta, its highly questionable if it would be completed by 2025. When, if ever, the Marta train pulls into Alpharetta look for a business demographic shift.

Remember the flight from Perimeter mall. Marta turned Perimeter mall into a very undesirable place to be.

Road Scholar

July 20th, 2012
10:10 am

Jm: Please enlighten us as to how would you build double decking the perimeter?

NOTEESPLOST

July 20th, 2012
10:16 am

Georgia was recently named the most corrupt state. Use the money you’ve already taken from us, balance the budget and apply oversight to prioritize the projects. I would like a new truck with a working heater, but I can wear a coat another winter and use the money I was tucking away to fix the heat pump in the house for my entire family.

AU Liberal in ATL

July 20th, 2012
10:28 am

Hey hypocrite, think of the toll as a tax. Now, what’s your self important opinion?

catlady

July 20th, 2012
10:36 am

Just shows how unneeded the extension of the tax was, that it can be dropped right before the election. Crooked is as crooked does. Many of us might have voted for Tsplost if the toll had ended as it was supposed to. This lets you see how crooked the whole thing was.

Kyle Wingfield

July 20th, 2012
10:42 am

Bill @ 8:02: I’m willing to pay for things that I consider a good value. Do you feel differently?

Kyle Wingfield

July 20th, 2012
10:43 am

I’m a liberal @ 8:03: This blog isn’t for complaining about other AJC blogs. If you want to write about the topic at hand, feel free to do so.

Kyle Wingfield

July 20th, 2012
10:47 am

AU Liberal @ 10:28: I don’t know what to think of someone who comes on an opinion blog and then complains that the blogger writes his opinions.

Except that it pretty much confirms what I thought about Auburn…

Kyle Wingfield

July 20th, 2012
10:47 am

We’re not going into the Colorado shooting on this comment thread. If you must say something, say a prayer for the victims and their families.

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

July 20th, 2012
10:55 am

Mr. Romney wasn’t so much a captain of industry as a captain of deindustrialization, making big profits for his firm (and himself) by helping to dismantle the implicit social contract that used to make the United States a middle-class society. So now he proposes bringing the skills and techniques he used in business to the White House. Somehow, I’m not enthusiastic about the prospect.

Paul Krugman

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

July 20th, 2012
10:58 am

Kyle, lots of folks don’t understand the difference between “opinion/editorial” and “news”.

They used to come on Jay’s blog all the time asking him to just give the news and stop giving his opinion. Blows the mind.

md

July 20th, 2012
11:00 am

Krugmans an idiot……that social contract stopped the minute the american consumer began it’s quest for the cheapest goods it could find……….there was not one iota of concern about the neighbors job then, and not much now either…….

Choices absolutely do have consequences……now live with them.

TruthBe

July 20th, 2012
11:02 am

YES. Why? Because a deal is a deal, and a contract is to be honored, and your word is your bond. The State had a contract with the people of Georgia to take it down, in fact the contract had a sunset rule in it. REMEMBER???????? And the last election the now Governor Deal PROMISED to remove the toll for good period. So keep your word. And also VOTE NO on T-SPLOST.. Because of all the extra taxes and spending in it that has NOTHING to do with fixing the traffic problems. NO NEW TAXES FOR ANYTHING EVER UNTIL THE GOVERNMENT STOPS WASTING OUR HARD EARNED MONEY. Stop spending and cut the size of government. That includes state, city, county, and federal governments. Fire all the career corrupt politicians.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

July 20th, 2012
11:04 am

If I ever had any doubts about voting for Mitt Romney before, knowing that Paul Krugman doesn’t like him and feels the need to lie about him certainly cements my upcoming vote for Romney.

Bruno

July 20th, 2012
11:07 am

Kyle–The first rule of blogmeistering is to come up with a controversial column title to generate a lot of interest. We’re never gonna make it here with only conservative bloggers. Preaching to the choir is boring. No offense, but this 400 toll column is putting even me to sleep.

In order to help you out, then, I’ve come up with a few possible topics:

“Who’s a bigger jerk–Pelosi or Obama??”

“Who was a bigger influence on Obama–Bill Ayres or Jeremiah Wright??”

“Are Hawaiian Birth Certificates Worht the Paper They’re Printed On??”

“The Global Warming Hoax”

;-)

@@

July 20th, 2012
11:12 am

I would like to correct something I said awhile back.

Turns out SPLOST tax HAS built a humongous rec center for our children. A neighbor called wanting to know what it was. “A new rec center,” I told her. She was NOT pleased.

Her response? “We’re building a rec center while drastically cutting our education budget?”

“That’s how it works,” I told her. “Back when our schools were failing, everybody thought rec centers were the answer to our problems…if the money is collected for rec centers, they have to build rec centers.”

Now our students can hang out at rec centers instead of school.

How kool is that?

@@

July 20th, 2012
11:13 am

’scuse me. Our CLAYTON COUNTY SPLOST.

@@

July 20th, 2012
11:18 am

The rec centers were Wole Ralph’s door into our BoC. I’m getting robo calls telling me what a “blessing” he’s been for Clayton County and would I vote to continue this blessing.

NOPE!

@@

July 20th, 2012
11:21 am

Is this a scratch & sniff blog? Whenever I come in, everybody leaves. I use Dove deodorant. Should I change?

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

July 20th, 2012
11:29 am

Kyle has fresh sheets upstairs, @@

zeke

July 20th, 2012
11:32 am

VOTE NO, UNLESS ALL THE MARTA EXPANSION PROJECTS ARE DELETED!! AND, YES, ALL THE RAIL AND BUS PROJECTS ARE EXPANSION OF MARTA TO COUNTIES AND CITIES THAT DO NOT WANT THEM!!!!!

iggy

July 20th, 2012
11:56 am

Zeke has it correct. And @@, you smell marvelous.

Married with (School) Children

July 20th, 2012
12:50 pm

While that “Traffic is Strangling Atlanta” commercial played on my television this morning, it occurred to me that the commercial is an incredible gift to the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce.

That commercial will help Charlotte even if the TSPLOT passes — all the company recruiters up in Charlotte have to say is sure, Atlanta passed a penny sales tax, but how much of a difference can a penny make?

Chris Sanchez

July 20th, 2012
3:11 pm

Folks in the metro Atlanta area are not against paying for projects that improve traffic congestion. What we are against is handing over $7 Billion to politicians for a plan that has no hope of relieving congestion, half of which is not intended to relieve congestion in the first place. I imagine that much money could really impact our traffic woes if it were all spent to do so.

If economic development is an issue that needs funding, then propose it and lets have that debate. Don’t try to hide it in this TSPLOST nonsense. The lack of trust in our politicians, underscored by Gov. Purdue extending the GA 400 toll, is their own fault. Now Gov. Deal decides that seventeen months from now the GA 400 toll will go away to try and get some support for TSPLOST. Frankly it is insulting! Had he been bold and done so quickly after taking office he may have had some influence on this and other issues. However, the voters see Deal’s actions for what they are.

bu2

July 20th, 2012
7:47 pm

Well said Chris.

I think Deal’s actions reinforce any distrust. They aren’t going to get any new votes.

catlady

July 22nd, 2012
3:55 pm

So, if Tsplost fails, will Nate the Great put the tolls back on 400?

Fool me once, shame on me, etc.

catlady

July 22nd, 2012
4:06 pm

Enter your comments here

lovetravel

July 23rd, 2012
12:34 pm

I don’t know nothing about where exactly the money going and how it help the State of Georgia. I am only looking at it as it help BUT everyone complain about a little coin the spare but they aren’t complain about how much people make over what they make. All in all I am not going to say anything else since everyone is only worry about “MONEY” it all about money in the first place. We need to relax and think and try to help each other and every counties too. I hope this will help everyone start to make a wake up call to realize not to get upset over a little coin than a big coin

JMatt

July 26th, 2012
10:07 am

The cat is already out the bag and the damage was done when Purdue decided to extend the toll. This is a political move to save next week vote. I’m very apprehensive about the 7/31 referendum. First is the mistrust of government to keep their word as illustrated with the 400 situation. While Deal is eliminating the toll next year, the move to do this is very suspect and not genuine which makes things even worse. Second, I don’t see how many of the projects on the referendum list solves traffic problems. They’re just wasted money being spent.

There are some great projects that are on the list but many lousy ones as well. Based the two factors above, I’m still on the fence about this initiative. I’m leaning towards no though.