T-SPLOST vote reiterates: We’re more ‘metro’ than ‘Atlanta’

On Tuesday’s ballots, perhaps no question was more opposite the T-SPLOST in scope and spirit than the cityhood initiative for Brookhaven. Their opposite results — voters soundly defeated the T-SPLOST but approved Brookhaven’s incorporation — create a congruity that helps explain why the tax proposal was ill-designed from the start.

In short: Our region is not becoming more centralized, but less. The popular and political momentum is not toward bigger, but smaller.

Counting Brookhaven, which becomes a city of some 49,000 residents, four of Georgia’s 20 most-populous cities didn’t exist just seven years ago. All four — the others are Dunwoody, Johns Creek and Sandy Springs — are in Fulton and DeKalb counties. So are two smaller new cities, Chattahoochee Hills and Milton.

The biggest reason these areas incorporated was to insulate themselves as much as possible from costly, ineffective county governments. But it’s instructive that, while both Brookhaven and Sandy Springs abut Atlanta, neither of them sought refuge in the big city’s arms.

In fact, the last half-century of our history shows that, while the gravitational pull for the state’s population is toward Atlanta, the drift within the metro area is toward the edges. In 1960, Atlanta was a city of 487,455 in a metro area of 1.3 million. The 2010 census found a city of 420,003 in a metro area of almost 5.3 million. This steady trend toward the periphery did not prevent prosperity.

This is a different development pattern than other large U.S. metro areas have seen, or at least a starker example of a common one. Among the nation’s 20 largest metro areas, the average central city is home to a fifth of its region’s residents. Atlanta dropped below that threshold sometime in the 1970s and now sits at 8 percent. Only Miami and Riverside, Calif., anchor less-centralized regions.

Getting back to the T-SPLOST, the cities to which tax proponents often compared Atlanta have far more concentrated populations. To name a few: Dallas (19 percent of its metro area’s residents live in the hub city), Denver (24 percent), Portland (26 percent), Houston (35 percent), Phoenix (35 percent), Charlotte (42 percent).

To reach those levels of centralization, hundreds of thousands of metro Atlantans would have to move inside the capital city’s limits. Can anyone honestly envision that happening?

Yet, the city of Atlanta stood to receive the highest share of T-SPLOST spending relative to the tax revenues it generated: 140 percent. Gwinnett County, to name one counter-example, was to keep just 74 cents on the dollar.

It’s true that commuters in each county stood to benefit from projects built elsewhere, but those figures were overly skewed. The Atlanta-centric nature of the project list ran counter to the way metro residents have voted with their feet. And that gave the appearance, at least, that the point was not to relieve traffic congestion where it has developed, but to turn that gravitational pull back toward the central city. Which fed into the crucial issue of trust, or lack thereof.

As an Atlanta resident myself, I don’t want to see the city continue its stagnation. But I do think its renaissance will require much more than a force-feeding of transportation funding from elsewhere. If the T-SPLOST’s defeat spurs Atlanta’s leaders to figure out what else they need to do, maybe the whole lamentable exercise was worthwhile.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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310 comments Add your comment

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

August 3rd, 2012
6:00 pm

Yeah, like figuring out we don’t need anymore taxes, duh.

So is this blog getting shutdown over the weekend?

A Simple Man

August 3rd, 2012
6:02 pm

As a person who lives on the west side (Paulding Co), MARTA is a poor option. I have to drive all the way downtown to get on a train. By the time I’m there, I might as well just drive to my destination. It doesn’t get close to the baseball stadium or the dome. Poor planning and politics make public transportation fail. As for the tax, all Atlanta people do is see the “temporary” toll booths and know that the politicians waste the money and break promises.

Piedmont South from North Georgia

August 3rd, 2012
6:06 pm

Interesting stats. All all these people living outside the core city are criss-crossing the region every day making for massive traffic during rush hours.

Dave

August 3rd, 2012
6:10 pm

“Yet, the city of Atlanta stood to receive the highest share of T-SPLOST spending relative to the tax revenues it generated: 140 percent. Gwinnett County, to name one counter-example, was to keep just 74 cents on the dollar.”

stands for decibels

August 3rd, 2012
6:12 pm

Our region is not becoming more centralized, but less.

Sounds like wishful thinking, but…meh. too brain hurty to process & deconstruct.

Y’all have a good Friday evening…

They BOTH suck

August 3rd, 2012
6:13 pm

“So is this blog getting shutdown over the weekend?”

It depends on your actions. Don’t let everyone down

;-)

Sam

August 3rd, 2012
6:15 pm

It’s too bad that we aren’t more concentrated. But there’s not a whole lot of new compact residential developments in Atlanta proper, so for those who would like to move back to the core, there’s not many options.

I’m a native Atlantan, born and raised, and I’ve been harping since I was 20 years-old that we need to stop sprawling out in every direction. No one listened, and no one cared. Now, here we are, 30 years later, where everything is so spread out that there’s no real sense of community anywhere.

I love Atlanta and surrounds, but in many ways it has become a “MonstroCity”. And let’s face it folks, we must do something about the horrendous, nightmare traffic. And new and wider roads are not the answer.

Dave

August 3rd, 2012
6:16 pm

Sorry, here’s the comment to the quote above at 6:10.
Those that worry about this benefit split, vote for the Balkanization of Metro Atlanta. “You folks are taking my money.” Then too, some of us voted against T-Splost and would have voted against Brookhaven were we allowed to because both issues, as they came to the voters, were anti-Metro Atlanta. The perfect storm.

The only way we will solve our infrastructure and transit problems is to act as a region. Most politicians don’t think that way and a large percentage of the electorate don’t either. There is a Plan B, but it won’t happen because we are all out for ourselves these day.

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

August 3rd, 2012
6:17 pm

T-Splat had nothing to do with Atlanta, other than the Atlanta city government is probably the most distrusted of any in the region. The defeat was simply that people do not trust governments that simply want to tax, spend, reward their friends, increase their power, and grow their revenue, and care little about whether the citizens want the growth and the higher taxes. People feel that enough of their income is confiscated by Government at all levels, and this money is not spent wisely.

Yes, people have fled the corruption and ineptitude in Atlanta and sought out better places to live, but the level of trust in the governments in those new places, has proven to be a disappointment, as well. People want government that is efficient, trustworthy, competent, and a small part of their lives. So far, they haven’t found it.

JDW

August 3rd, 2012
6:17 pm

@Kyle…you got apples and oranges here…

“To name a few: Dallas (19 percent of its metro area’s residents live in the hub city), Denver (24 percent), Portland (26 percent), Houston (35 percent), Phoenix (35 percent), Charlotte (42 percent).”

I know for a fact that several of these cities have annexed the surrounding areas. An analogy to Atlanta would be for Fulton and Dekalb counties to be in the city limits. Here instead of consolidating governments, as we should have done, we have this hodgepodge of counties and municipalities combined with a “do nothing legislature” which is what really makes it impossible to get anything done.

Thulsa Doom

August 3rd, 2012
6:35 pm

When I would go down to the park in Peachtree Hills in Buckhead to play tennis I noticed every year that the tennis courts and the park in general were getting more and more dilapidated despite the wealth of the neighborhood. And there was usually a good wait to play on the courts. I was speaking to a few ladies that packed up their gear rather than wait and decided it was better and quicker to drive to some courts in the southern end of the city. The courts down there were for the most part new or brand new and the parks also newer according to the ladies so they played there often. There was also no wait to play on them. They looked at me like I was crazy for not knowing that all the newer and nicer facilities were in the southern part of the city. It was then that I realized why John’s Creek and other towns were leaving ATL and incorporating. They were tired of paying the lion’s share of taxes for ATL and seeing most of the money go elsewhere. Can’t say I blame them and if T-splost represents the same inequity then I’m glad it failed.

Kyle Wingfield

August 3rd, 2012
6:35 pm

Actually, JDW, that’s my point exactly: We have chosen to go in a different direction than they have. Like I said, SS and Brookhaven didn’t want to be annexed by Atlanta; they wanted to be separate. But the proposals treated our region as if that weren’t the case.

Hillbilly D

August 3rd, 2012
6:35 pm

To my way of thinking, this was a statewide solution to a Metro Atlanta problem. In my area, it was totally unnecessary and I think that goes for many other areas of the state as well. Whoever hatched this scheme, did it for two reasons in my opinion. One was so they could say, this isn’t just about helping Atlanta, it’s about helping the state (I assume they thought that made it more palatable, politically) and Two, they could sneak through a huge tax increase without anybody in the Legislature having to stick their neck out and take a stand.

It was a poorly thought out plan from the beginning. I was talking to somebody I know who was at a meeting where this plan was announced, before it was made public and he said that everybody that was listening just looked at each other dumbfounded.

And as for the Chamber of Commerce being for it, check your history, statewide. When has a Chamber of Commerce ever been against any kind of SPLOST or LOST? The business community is always for sales taxes because they don’t pay them, consumers do.

Thulsa Doom

August 3rd, 2012
6:44 pm

Hillbilly D,

What did they say was poorly thought out about T-splost and why? I did not vote on it as I didn’t feel I had enough infor or knew enough about it to make an educated decision so I just left it to others. Also, if the people who conceived it are like the hwy dept in Alabama then there is no need for an explanation. My mom was one of them state gubment workers that folks like to deride and what’s funny is that mom used to tell me how other govt depts used to have the same type of derision for how poorly run the hwy dept. was. They looked down on the hwy dept. in the same fashion that the Neal Boortzes of the world look down on anyone who happens to work for the govt.

Frankly

August 3rd, 2012
6:46 pm

Lets be honest here. We all know that there are lot of factors that have contributed to the new city-hoods as well as the way the metro has developed in general, not the least of which is racial polarization. This low density decentralized pattern is not some happy coincidences that makes Atlanta “special”. It is a PROBLEM that needs to be SOLVED. Atlanta’s decentralization also means that infrastructure has to be spread over a larger area and in case you haven’t noticed, we simply cannot afford it.

It is also pointless to compare Atlanta with the city populations of the Texas cities because they exist in a state that doesn’t handcuff cities in favor of counties. Houston for example has a land area of 600 sq miles. Thats 4 and 1/2 times the land area of Atlanta (the city) and LARGER than Fulton county.

Furthermore there is a population of around 800,000 ITP and though not perfect, even that would be a more relevant comparison as the center of the metro. The TSPLOST projects within the Perimeter ( they were not just in the city) were there because that is where transit is most appropriate. And assuming the local economy grows the city and ITP are projected to grow at a rate exceeding nearly all counties in the region. The ITP projects would have been timely infrastructure investments.

Bottom line … we accomplish absolutely nothing by viewing the area like a bunch of independent little fiefdoms.

Logic was never intended for libs

August 3rd, 2012
6:48 pm

Well, looks like the left wingers acted like little children today by vandalizing Chicfilas. What tolerant little children they are.

Hillbilly D

August 3rd, 2012
6:55 pm

Thulsa

They way it was explained to me, everybody who was listening, a lot of whom were for doing something, by the way, felt that it was a PR disaster, the way they were going about it. They said it was guaranteed to pit region against region and county against county, within regions. Reading through many of the comments in these multiple threads on here, it looked to me like that’s exactly what happened in the Metro Region. How many times did you hear a comment like, “well my side of town isn’t getting anything or why is my money going to the other side of town, etc”. Some counties were net receivers (getting more back than they paid in) and others were donor counties (paying in more than they were to get back).

In my region, I just don’t think we need anymore roads. I’m also against the whole “region” concept where you have an appointed board making decisions. As for the Atlanta region, that’s for the folks there to decide what to do but from what I saw, the project list was a poorly planned mishmash and there was a certain arrogance until they realized the vote was in trouble. Then they tried the strong arm and the “you’re an idiot if you vote against us” strategy. Those are guaranteed to bring failure, in my opinion.

Hillbilly D

August 3rd, 2012
6:56 pm

Logic

Just for general info, Kyle has asked us to stay on topic in this thread. Downstairs is an open thread.

Logic was never intended for libs

August 3rd, 2012
7:00 pm

“Just for general info, Kyle has asked us to stay on topic in this thread. Downstairs is an open thread.’

Sorry, I’ve been working all day and skipped over that.

Frankly

August 3rd, 2012
7:04 pm

Also in land area Dallas (the city) is larger than Cobb and Phoenix (the city) is larger than Gwinnett. Metro Atlanta is more than twice the size of the rest of those cities but Charlotte is also larger than Dekalb. At any rate, it is a dubious comparison.

Michael H. Smith

August 3rd, 2012
7:16 pm

To reach those levels of centralization, hundreds of thousands of metro Atlantans would have to move inside the capital city’s limits. Can anyone honestly envision that happening?

As an Atlanta resident myself, I don’t want to see the city continue its stagnation. But I do think its renaissance will require much more than a force-feeding of transportation funding from elsewhere. If the T-SPLOST’s defeat spurs Atlanta’s leaders to figure out what else they need to do, maybe the whole lamentable exercise was worthwhile.

Nope! Not with the current political power structure and the population which makes it possible to exist.

md

August 3rd, 2012
7:18 pm

And that trend is how it should be…..democracy at work. No different than the States going their separate ways as many do not agree…..

The whole idea of a republic was to counter true democracy and the will of any one group on everybody else….democracy in a pure form tends to lead to trouble…….

you are joking right?

August 3rd, 2012
7:22 pm

A Simple Man… really? MARTA goes right under the GA Dome and the reason MARTA doesn’t come close to Paulding County is 1. Cobb didn’t want to pay for MARTA so it never expanded there and 2. Paulding would never pay for MARTA service so it definitely isn’t coming there. Why are you blaming MARTA when you should be blaming Cobb and your own county for not wanting to invest in the system? I don’t understand how some people *think* around here.

If more counties would join MARTA and the state would chip in funds like it should then the system could expand to more places and be more useful to more people… but again, people in this area don’t seem to grasp that logic. If it isn’t a road widening project to 20 lanes each way, they can’t justify the expense. It’s unfortunate.

And Kyle, your whole way of thinking (which is pretty much how 99% of people in this area think) is the reason why the city of Atlanta will never reach it’s full potential. People in this area want to see the city die a slow and painful death and all they care about is their own little bubble in the suburbs. Who the hell wants to live in a suburb of a dead city? It’s not exactly something most people would prefer… unless you live in Georgia.

Michael H. Smith

August 3rd, 2012
7:24 pm

The business community is always for sales taxes because they don’t pay them, consumers do.

Businesses pass all taxes they pay onto the consumer. Liberals can dance on this fact until their two left feet blister but businesses do not absorb taxes they pass them onto we the consumer in the final cost of whatever product or service we purchase from them.

Therefore any real HONEST tax reform would do away with business taxes altogether.

Michael H. Smith

August 3rd, 2012
7:29 pm

The whole idea of a republic was to counter true democracy and the will of any one group on everybody else….democracy in a pure form tends to lead to trouble…….

Spot on md.

Madison made that fact well known I do believe in the Federalist paper #10. We are a Representative Republic by Constitution mandate, which requires that each state shall have a Republican form of government.

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

August 3rd, 2012
7:30 pm

I think there is some racial component to the lack of centralization. It went both ways at the time. Whites fled for better schools and more effective and efficient government. Once Blacks got the reins of power, they refused any effort to annex any white areas into the city. All the annexation, as I remember it was on the south side of town. Talks at times, about annexing Buckhead and Sandy Springs failed because on one side the white people did not want to be annexed, and the Blacks in power did not want to dilute their base. Unfortunately, some times, everyone gets what they want.

I don’t think there is anyway to put people back together again, at this late date.

md

August 3rd, 2012
7:30 pm

I’ve tried to explain that businesses don’t pay taxes for a long time, and folks just don’t get it.

An expense is an expense is an expense…………but some have no clue what that means.

Michael H. Smith

August 3rd, 2012
7:33 pm

Federalist No. 10 & Thomas Jefferson

“democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.” ~ Madison

http://eyler.freeservers.com/JeffPers/jefpco55.htm

Michael H. Smith

August 3rd, 2012
7:41 pm

folks just don’t get it.

Yeah and those are the ones who refuse to get it because it exposes an underhanded tactic employed by government to make you and I pay more tax than government wants us to know we actually pay.
Of course the reason is because the majority would then know and demand less tax and less government. So the big government lovers – socialist – must rush to the defense to what even they know is a shameless political farce.

Michael H. Smith

August 3rd, 2012
7:47 pm

Oh did I… well, guess I did Kyle. I name called. Says alot about me indeed: I don’t call goats, pigs or dogs, cats and while I may occasionally tempt a violation of the Winifield rule I always observe Duck’s Law… If it quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck or swims like a duck then it has to be a DANG DUCK!

jeffrey

August 3rd, 2012
7:58 pm

I voted for tsplost. I want my beltline. It’s right near my house. But even though tsplost didn’t pass, I still think my intown property value went up.

kayaker 71

August 3rd, 2012
7:58 pm

Does Kyle’s rule state that we cannot vary from the posted thread?

Perfect Article Kyle !

August 3rd, 2012
8:06 pm

You are right on with your assessment of T-SPLAT! And yes, bottom line – it is an issue of TRUST!! We have lost all faith and trust in our government officials and everyone just needs to vote OUT any incumbent for the next decade or two here in Georgia – keep sending the message that if “they don’t care to do the right things” then they will be VOTED OUT! Maybe then our elected officials will start listening to their constituents. How ironic that on the very day of the vote on Tuesday on the front page of the AJC there was an article about DFACS and the young girl that died – virtually of Starvation. Did you hear Gov. Deal, our legislators, big business, or the Chamber heads cry out in shame about that one? Everyone in Georgia knows that for years neglect, abuse, and deaths have been happening to children re DFACS and also with the mentally ill and developmentally disabled that are suppose to be “served and protected” by our government officials. It has unfortunately been a quite severe ongoing problem. Now, where were all of these fine government and/or public officials on that day for that young lady or all along? NO WHERE! They just want all of the money they can get and don’t give one darn about these precious people. Facts are facts – do you see and hear our Gov./Lt. Gov/Legislators demanding a change for these people and reaching out to them and their families who attempt to reach out to their elected officials? NO – how outrageous. So until this state and these “fine folks” within can care about basic human lives and dignity, we believe pretty much, that those and numerous other reasons (Ga 400 Toll, HOT lanes, road debacles, education fraud, airport fraud, etc.) give anyone in this state “pause” to trust…….

weetamoe

August 3rd, 2012
8:29 pm

I don’t think Texas has the sort of zoning restrictions we have in the metro area. I have family there, just north of Houston, and the whole area seems much more prosperous. My oldest son lives in the city of Atlanta and his property taxes are much higher than mine, just a couple of miles from the city limits. My dad, who has never lived more than a few miles from the Massachusetts home he grew up in, recently downsized to a very small house on a sort of commons shared with about a dozen neighbors and his taxes are extremely high–and there are no zoning restrictions at all there which is why you can still find ethnic restaurants in the basements of private homes and old two and three decker tenements in beautiful condition. I’m not sure of any logical reasons for the discrepancies–of course except Texas is very very different from Massachusetts. And Atlanta is even more of a puzzle.

ATLien

August 3rd, 2012
8:33 pm

Atlanta needs to charge a commuter tax. Utilize those proceeds to further expand and increase Marta stations and other viable public transportation options within the city proper. If surburban / exurban residents don’t want Marta in their neighborhoods pay a tax to enter Atlanta. I’m sick of the massive traffic on 75/85 and other interchanges as they head back to their strip mall laden homogenous communities.

intown resident

August 3rd, 2012
8:35 pm

I have lived in New York City and Seattle. Both have thriving downtowns where people work, play and live with very limited freeways due to natural topography (water on three sides) People use mass transit extensively in both, Here people rarely go downtown and much fewer commute by mass transit. Marta is excellent but has been severely cut back, However if you look at where the growth is in Atlanta during recent years it is around Marta stations. Decatur, Midtown and Lenox are booming because of that. However most of the transplants here want to live in the burbs and hate cities.The sooner they choke on traffic the better. Then somebody might realize that unlimited highways, suburban sprawl and daily congestion requires spending money on mass transit.

Because the city of Atlanta is the only city in the area with effective mass transit and infrastructure for expansion it will continue to grow . Watch the intown values continue to rise while y’all go underwater with home values outside the city. Made over $200,000 on an intown house I owned for a year this past year and sold another at a decent profit the year before.. Can any of you OTP people match that? Have fun sitting in your cars and overheating while trying to figure out what you are going to do with that house.

Old Goober

August 3rd, 2012
8:56 pm

My vote against TSPLOST was decided on the basis that none of the listed projects were going to relieve any traffic congestion. It was a long list of pet projects of the people who decided on the list. A million bucks for a new intersection? Really? The barrage of TV and radio ads plus the telephone calls reinforced my conviction. There was big money behind the promotion of TSPLOST, and it wasn’t coming from cities and counties. I concluded that TSPLOST was a vehicle to serve as a piggy bank for power brokers and road construction contractors. Besides those considerations, I objected to the use of the regressive sales tax to fund the transportation desires of a few.

As for attitudes toward Atlanta, I see a largely corrupt administration dedicated to imposing high fees and taxes. Just look at the “art” work at the Atlanta airport for an example of the profligate spending. I see residents there willing to pay $4,000 per year just in property taxes on a middle class house. That boggles my mind. I’m outraged enough at paying !,800 per year in Fulton County and City of Roswell property taxes on a house appraised at $150,000. And then I deal with annoyances such as getting a threatening card from a Dallas-area firm warning me that if I do not pay an annual $25 tag fee and present a certificate of vaccination for my dog, Fulton County will charge me in a court of law. Why is my county hiring a Dallas-area firm to collect pet license fees?

In short, I’m convinced that City of Atlanta residents are visitors from Mars. They don’t live in the same world I do. I was fooled once when I voted for the MARTA tax, only to learn that the trains don’t come anywhere close to where I live. I won’t be fooled again.

Ayn Rant

August 3rd, 2012
9:16 pm

You people are seriously provincial! T-SPLOST would have generated thousands of jobs to lift the state economy out of recession, and would have built infrastructure to encourage business investment in the area. All this for a penny more sales tax which few people would even notice.

Kyle says the “no” vote is an indication of the voters’ mistrust of politicians and government. Well, who in the tarnation elected and re-elected the jackasses to public office?

ODD OWL

August 3rd, 2012
9:37 pm

The Republicans are the ones who screwed up everything… But i don’t see the non rich people who vote Republican, voting these incompetent louts out of office… The State of georgia didn’t have any of these problems when the Democrats was in control… Just saying…

Piedmont South from North Georgia

August 3rd, 2012
9:53 pm

intown resident

August 3rd, 2012
8:35 pm

______

Agree that the future growth will be downtown and around MARTA stations. That’s the way it has been for years, and will continue, with offices, apartments and condo continuing to be built in those area.
A toll to enter Atlanta would be hard to enforce than in New York. Atlanta is not an Island. But there could be tolls on the major interstates going into Atlanta inside I-285. That would encourage MARTA ridership.
Higher gas taxes would also help. with the money going into the general revenue fund.

WeNeedAlternatives

August 3rd, 2012
10:05 pm

The Balkanization of the area does exactly the opposite of what the smaller government folks wish to achieve. Sure, it creates smaller governments, but many, many more of them. Ultimately, the economies of scale are lost in the shuffle.

What I will sadly enjoy is the whaling and gnashing of teeth by the ‘NO’ people when they realize the ramifications of the hidden penalties from the rejection of the TIA. Increased matching funds for state highway projects will increase their taxes. Whoopee!

WeNeedAlternatives

August 3rd, 2012
10:13 pm

Oops… just a bit of a misstatement.
It’s not increased matching funds – it’s increased local matching fund requirements for the state projects. (pass the TIA the local government pays 15%… reject the TIA … 30%). Guess we’ll get fewer roads at the expense of the communities that passed it.
Ah, yes, that’s plan B isn’t it.

atler8

August 3rd, 2012
10:31 pm

Kyle,
The political leadership from top to bottom in this state is pathetically worthless so the “lamentable exercise”, as you put it, will never have served any purpose other than to have given the tea partiers the mistaken idea that it was largely their doing that defeated T-splost.
It was the pathetic way this state & metro area have been governed that sapped people’s confidence in the government’s ability to properly tax & fairly administer & complete the splost projects. Hence the loud no vote in the metro.
The legislature lacked the guts once again to tackle the problem & threw the idea of a poorly cobbled-together referendum out there because they were bereft of ideas & solutions as per usual & lacked the political will to do anything.
What is so particularly galling is that one party, which now rules the state from top to bottom, except in certain municipalities, once claimed that they would run things differently if given the reigns of power & a chance to run the state. As we now know, that line was a bunch of hogwash as they have proved to be every bit as inept & corrupt as the party they replaced in power. And to top it off, we have to put up with their meddling social legislation that wants to pry into our personal lives, our bedrooms & what we do with our bodies. So much for you centrist libertarian sorts who complain about big government while lying down with dogs.
And thank you to the posters here who have correctly noted the fallacy where Kyle compared our particularly decentralized metro situation to those in Dallas, Houston, Charlotte & Phoenix, where state laws are MUCH less restrictive in annexation policies. The Buckhead Plan of Improvement in 1952 was the last major annexation allowed to go forward by the city of Atlanta. How could Atlanta’s city population have done anything but decline or remain stagnant when it has not effectively annexed a square mile of land in 60 years! I nearly went slack-jawed Kyle at your poor choice of comparisons.
And yes, we are tremendously decentralized as a result. It’s not so much a case of people “voting with their feet” as it is a case of Atlanta being starved for new land area. Additionally in 1960, which you cited as a part of your population figures, metro Atlanta consisted of something like 5 counties. The Census Bureau now includes approximately 27 counties in the metro area so, as one poster put it, you have an apple and oranges situation going here Kyle.
Much of the origin of the anti-Atlanta sentiment in the legislature originally was rooted in an urban versus rural split only to be replaced by a decades-long largely race-based fear of the city of Atlanta. As for example, back in the 1960’s the legislature allowed a very narrow strip of land several miles long to be incorporated on the Cobb County side of the Chattahoochee River to keep Atlanta from ever annexing across the river. Even though not a single person ever lived in the narrow riverside strip of land, it was allowed to incorporate & thus fulfill it’s purpose to stymie any annexation plans westward by Atlanta. Thus was born the community of Chattahoochee Plantation.
I don’t see the parochialism being overcome in the region anytime soon and as experts in the site industry noted the other day, the T-splost no vote will make metro Atlanta a harder sell as the area tries to recruit new business.
As I sit on my GRTA bus every afternoon in gridlock I ponder what we have wrought & realize that I can’t think of another state & metro area that has so completely lost it’s mojo in the last 5 years!

Edward

August 3rd, 2012
10:43 pm

Ayn: you’re expecting logic and reason where there is none.

td

August 3rd, 2012
11:07 pm

I see there are several sore loser contractors or engineers on here tonight giving us a good whine because they must have counted their chickens before they hatched.

This failed because it would not have cut down of the morning or afternoon commutes between Acworth or Sugarhill to downtown. Too much beltline and MARTA is in no a way a solution because metro Atlanta is way to spread out.

intown resident

August 3rd, 2012
11:11 pm

Oh and let me add a little more to my intown experience fot the last thirty years. Raised two kids that went through city of Atlanta schools -as good as any in the burbs. Can’t beat Grady High except in sports. Crime? – no more than in the burbs. Taxes are higher but property values are higher and traffic less than out there with a lot more public amenities like parks and mass transit. Time to work? fifteen minutes max and no congestion.
Enjoy the commute folks- atleast you will not have to pay any tolls thanks to ole Nathan or sit on Marta with some of the little people.Be thankful to the Party of No and ole Grover Norquist . You made them proud this week.

Dusty

August 3rd, 2012
11:15 pm

OH moan and groan and vilify Georgia yet nobody is making you stay here. Every state has its own particular problems. Georgia is clearly working on its future with a clear vision.

The citizens and government of Georgia have realized (while others haven’t) that “hard” times are here. The citizens as a whole, not just one particular group. figured out that spending a lot of money with a ten year plan for an expensive Pandora tax-box of “goodies” was the wrong way to go. Good move! Clear thinking.

Not only that, but Governor Deal is slashing the state budget because the money is not there for a larger one. Now that’s good thinking too. Don’t spend what you don’t have!

You unhappy ones who want our state to spend more of “our” money for progress, go break your own budget and buy stuff you can’t afford. Get ready for the future with a colossal debt of your very own but don’t wish a bigger load on the rest of us.

.I can guess that you will vote for President Obama who will give you more benefits to keep you happy while building the largest national deficit this world has ever seen. There’s your progress. Uh huh. Progress!

.

bu2

August 3rd, 2012
11:50 pm

It was interesting that a swatch of south Central Georgia all the way across the state passed TSPLOST. Those 3 regions passed it narrowly. The 3 southmost regions and Macon defeated it with 56-58% no votes. The 4 northern districts and Atlanta defeated it by huge margins.

rooster

August 4th, 2012
12:19 am

Frankly:

Exactly. The comparison of percentages of metro populations inside core city limits doesn’t tell us much if it ignores land area. Denver and Portland have very similar land areas to Atlanta’s, but their metro populations are both less than half that of metro Atlanta. Charlotte is about 100 square miles bigger than Atlanta, and its metro population is barely a third of Atlanta’s. Houston has more than four times the area of Atlanta, and its metro population is only about 15 or 20 percent greater than metro Atlanta’s. Phoenix has about three-and-a-half times the land area of Atlanta, but its metro population is only about four fifths of metro Atlanta’s. So of course these cities contain higher percentages of their metro populations.

The only entity that can make Atlanta think and act as a region on matters that demand it is the state. The state needs to understand that traffic solutions for metro Atlanta are as critical to the state as the deepening of the channel to the port of Savannah. And the city and metro need to understand that state funding is going to be linked to state control.

DawgDad

August 4th, 2012
2:58 am

Kyle, your article is almost silly. No revelations here, “all politics is local” (look it up).

You misread the trust issue. It’s no different here in the suburbs vs. inner city or county vs. State than it is anywhere else I’ve lived over five-plus decades. Virtually all of the mistrust is simple human nature, and it underlies why our forefathers framed our Constitution with checks and balances. The super-Regional approach to funding MARTA, beltline, trolleys, and other inner-city follies was just plain nuts, and it was obvious from the beginning to a vast majority of the voters in the area.

The rationale behind limited government was clearly on display. When powerful big government entities cozy up with big business instead of maintaining a proper arms-length relationship those politicians and institutional leaders will invariably attempt to ram their narrow self-serving interests down the throats of the general population. In this case, they invited too many voters and got their noses bloodied.