Opinion: For better value for tax dollars, say no to TSPLOST
by Ron Sifen
June 14, 2012 01:19 AM | 3688 views | 48 48 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In order to initiate Plan B, taxpayers must vote NO on the regional tax on July 31.

The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) has recently conceded that the TSPLOST projects list will have an insignificant impact on reducing commute times.

Taxpayers in the region are being given the opportunity to pay higher taxes for 10 years to produce little or no reduction of commute times, and obligate future transportation dollars forever, so that we will have less money available in the future to pay for projects that would have been able to alleviate traffic congestion.

There could not possibly be a worse deal for taxpayers.

If the region votes down this projects list, the Transportation Investment Act provides for the region to develop a new projects list for another vote in 2 years. That is our opportunity for a Plan B.

The Plan B process must begin by establishing sensible criteria.

n Transit projects must be designed to cost-effectively provide a commute time that is reasonably time-competitive with driving.

n Total future transit operating and maintenance costs should be capped at a level that the region can reasonably handle without future tax increases. An annual cap in the vicinity of $20 million for all new transit funded by the TSPLOST, would force the region to decide whether it wanted one boondoggle transit line, or actually start the foundation of a regional network of affordable transit connectivity.

n Regional road projects must be designed to reduce commute times in corridors that serve at least 60000 car trips per day, and where traffic flow is impacted for at least 5 miles.

n Local projects must be paid for out of each jurisdiction’s 15 percent local allocation. Regional dollars cannot pay for local projects that do not meet the above criteria.

If the above criteria were applied, I would estimate that projects consuming more than 70 percent of all TSPLOST dollars would be disqualified!

Ultra-expensive single-corridor boondoggles will not help the region achieve its alleged goal of affordable, seamless, transit connectivity throughout the region.

Previous studies, like the Regional Transit Action Plan presented a financially realistic regional transit plan. The RTAP would have provided substantial regional connectivity, at a tiny fraction of the cost of the ultra-expensive projects being proposed in the current TSPLOST projects list.

The RTAP could be updated to coordinate with GDOT’s plans for managed lanes throughout the region, to achieve even better service at an even lower cost.

Express buses have already proven to be incredibly successful in the Atlanta region. Express bus is the form of transit that is best suited to cost-effectively provide reasonable trip times to various employment centers that are widely dispersed throughout a low density metropolitan area.

An expanded network of express bus routes from communities throughout the region to employment centers throughout the region, utilizing GDOT’s planned network of managed lanes, would coordinate both increased road capacity and expanded and improved transit services. Regardless of any other warts, the I-85 toll lanes have contributed to a 29% increase in express bus ridership in the I-85 corridor.

Hopefully, GDOT has abandoned any plans to convert any more existing lanes to managed lanes. However, adding managed lanes can add road capacity, and improve commute times in all lanes, and improve transit performance.

An expanded network of express buses, providing seamless connectivity between many communities, and many scattered employment centers throughout the region, would cost taxpayers a tiny fraction of what one ultra-expensive boondoggle light rail line would cost.

In addition to the managed lanes, we also need to fund projects like the safety and operational improvements in GDOT’s Revive285 project, including projects to alleviate the bottleneck in the I-75 / I-285 interchange, which are currently unfunded. Even without the managed lanes, the interchange improvements would dramatically improve bottlenecks, and improve traffic flow throughout the top end of I-285. Revive285 shows that these improvements would reduce typical rush hour commute times on the top end of I-285 by more than a third.

There are similar projects that need funding in other interstate corridors. These are projects that could reduce commute times for hundreds of thousands of Atlanta commuters.

On the south side, Plan B would be an opportunity to restore funding to the Tara Boulevard super-arterial, which could reduce commute times for tens of thousands of commuters.

There are many projects along major arterials and interstates that could improve traffic flow, and reduce commute times. GDOT’s plans for adding managed lanes (not converting any more lanes) will improve traffic flow, and could significantly enhance the performance of transit.

Those projects would be a better investment for taxpayers. Plan B is the opportunity for taxpayers to get a good value for their money.

Ron Sifen of Vinings is president of the Cobb County Civic Coalition. His views do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCCC.
Comments
(48)
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Ton
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July 12, 2012
I16 you forgot to mention that the employees of these contractors will benifit as well. Do you have any concept of how many people are employed in the road construction industry here in Georgia or how many people have been laid off over the last several years because GDOT is not letting projects?

Among the contractors listed you also need to mention everyone else associated such as Manufacturers, Fabricators, Suppliers and also the countless sub-contractors like the welders, pipe-fitters, electricans, Plumbers just to mention a few and lets not forget the guy who cleans the porta-johns. Quarrys will benifit, Steel Mills will benifit,Truck drivers will benifit.Concrete plants will benifit.There will be an increase in the sales of heavy equiptment.

This is far more reaching that you may realise.You toss those names out like they are evil entities who only live to suck the money out of taxpayers pockets but for every name mentioned there are at least one hundred other businesses associated with the road construction industry and lets not forget the tens of thousands of people that are employeed by them.
anonymous
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June 24, 2012
I attended the TSPLOST town hall in Woodstock, and I heard Mr. Alexander from the Atlanta Regional Commission say that the TSPLOST would not reduce commute times. So I know that Mr. Sifen is correct about that. I think it should be called the Tax Hoax.
anonymous
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June 24, 2012
I have noticed that when people have the facts on their side, they argue the facts. When people don't have facts on their side, they attack other people. Mr. Sifen consistenly presents a solid case of the facts.
anonymous
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June 24, 2012
I have followed Sifen's columns for a long time. He does his homework and provides sensible factual information. I am voting for Plan B.
Faker
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June 21, 2012
It is unbelievable that people believe the facts and figures that Sifen throws out like candy. And the children are eating it up. Grow up people. Sifen has no experiance in Transportation. While he hides his occupation, he is a phone operator for a banking credit card operation. He has never worked in transportation. He isn't a part of preparing the AA. Do you people know what a stake holder is? He is just one of many who attends meetings and gives opinions. Just like some body parts, everyone has an opinion. And Sifen's is no better than anyone else. Sifen couldn't do half of what he is doing without Ott helping him and ghost writing for him. One day, Sifen will walk up and figure out how much he was used by Ott. By then, he will really be a has-been.
Night Eagle
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June 19, 2012
I shall vote NO on July 31 and support Plan B.

However, the current menagement and planners of the DOT are like the 'Gang the could not shoot straight'-I would not vote or give them a single new penny. They should be sent packing and replaced en masse by a competent group.

The current folks are the ones who have in 40 years not added an extra exit lane from I-285 to I-20 W, thus causing a daily many miles long bottle neck. They have allowed the highways and accesses all over and around Atlanta to become filled with trash and deteriorate for years, depite S.Perdue's promise of a fix.We present an image that is worse than many so called 3d World countries.Have you driven on W.Paces Ferry? A street with the Governor's Mansion is rutted and potholed-for years! It is only now that the new T-Splost is to be voted on, that they have deigned to start trash pick up.

No,again, these folks need to resign in shame or be fired.There must be competent people who can plan and fix our problems.What about it, Governor Deal?

Bill Bill
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June 18, 2012
How about we just get government the HELL out of the way, and out of our pockets?
Warren Kuhn
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June 15, 2012
I doubt that T-SPLOST is really going to make a difference. Continually paving the metro area has just expanded the size of the parking lot. A succesful transportation system has to be a blend of modes and it has to make sense. I'd love to hop on a train like I do in Chicago, Boston, or New York and get where I'm going but it's not going to happen in Atlanta any time soon. The Light rail proposal in T-SPLOST is similar to the Marta rail system. It's not convenient for most of the people sitting in cars on the freeway. I'd love to ride it to the Airport. By the time I get to the Marta Station though I might as well go all the way. I don't need a "Shopper Express" rail to take me between Cumberland and Town Center either. I'd much rather MARTA be regionally controlled and built out to service more people and more areas. At least then I can turn my head away from the empty HOV lane, peer through the window of the train car and dream of a train coming to my area.

There's a closed "Park and Ride" not far from where I live. The entrance is gated and the pavement is riddled with weeds. I wonder how much that lot cost the taxpayers and whether we're still paying for it.
Steven in Kennesaw
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June 15, 2012
I think your view is wrong on the express bus option. First let me ask if you're a regular customer of the current express bus system? Current riders of this service can enlighten you that this service has been cut so many times by CCT you often are late or miss the bus. CCT has also raised fairs from $3.00 to $5.00 one way. Previously you could purchase a round trip for $5.00. I started riding the CCT express to Atlanta and then transfering to a bus to Douglasville where I work. When I started riding this service it cost me $5.00 round trip. As CCT started cutting services and raising fairs, we now pay $5.00 for a one way trip and no round trip. That means a trip to down town and back will cost you $10.00. This is comparable to a tank of gas. I also might add that since CCT has cut routes the buses are crowded and you often have to fight with a patron to share the seat because the drivers refuse to deal with it. Also one last note CCT express bus service doesn't transfer to Marta. So guess what, when you arrive to Atlanta, you have to pay additional fares to ride Marta or GRTA Xpress bus. It costs me a total of $13.00 a day to ride the bus. I think driving is the better option here. So there's your wonderful express bus service that you say has proven to be incredibly successful.
Xpress 2
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June 18, 2012
Your numbers and experiences don't match mine...

I pay $6.50 for a daily round trip from the Marietta Transfer Station to Downtown. The total mileage is about 34 miles. Since I have to pay to park, the Xpress is less money even before considering the possible savings from wear and tear on the car.

I can shoose from five departures in the morning and six in the evening. The bus is clean and usually at about half capacity. I arrive to work nice and relaxed as opposed to frazzled and angry.

I'm sold, and if you could see how many car drivers are playing with their phones, you would want to ride the bus with me too.
4Dees
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June 19, 2012
Sorry, but $10 round trip is not comparable to a tank of gas. It costs me almost $50 to fill up my car (that gets close to 30 mi./gal.), and the SUV that my husband drives costs close to $70 for a tank.
COBBCSI
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June 15, 2012
Most of you drive to Florida I’m sure you don’t use I 475 to bypass Macon right, you’d much rather drive through downtown Macon in that traffic. If you’re going to Savannah you don’t have the choice but to get hung up in all that downtown traffic getting to I 16. Where’s my Atlanta bypass fools the current TSPLOST is just a pork barrel project list that will not relieve traffic congestion. I 16 is right Folks that will profit, CW Matthews, Butch Thompson, Baldwin Paving, Atkins, Croy eng, Pbsj, Ma, Cobb Dot, GDOT and others.
JR in Mableton
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June 14, 2012
Would you mind explaining why these projects will not reduce commute times (according to you)? In your professional opinion, what will be the average commute when the Atlanta region surpasses a population of 8 million people? How many express buses will be needed to handle 2.5 million more people? You seem to be shading the facts a bit. Could it be that these projects are needed to prevent 2 hour commutes like LA??

Could you share your plans to remedy I-75 at I-285? How will you finance your proposed projects? The tea party wants to raise the gas tax!! What say you? How will your projects impove traffic? Will the express bus serve Mableton? Will it take me downtown? To the airport? How will you finance the maintenance of your projects? Do you have the support in the legislature and governor's office to approve another SPLOST referendum?

Your county has used SPLOST programs since the 1980's and has been quite successful with them. What would traffic look like if Cobb had not invested $2 billion in transportation improvements?

Your continued opining reminds me of an old Wendy's commercial......"Where's the beef?" Enough fluff! Publish your project list and financing plan. Saying "NO" is not a Plan B.
anonymous
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June 17, 2012
@JR - The ARC has admitted on several recent occasions that this projects list will not significantly reduce commute times. Sifen did identify recommendations for the I75 - I285 interchange. He said Plan B should fund the unfunded Revive285 projects.

Georgia Public Policy Foundation recently issued an independent objective professional analysis of the TSPLOST projects. They pointed out that rail works in high density places and that Atlanta is the lowest density major city in the world. GPPF presented extensive information supporting why bus options would work better than rail in the Atlanta region.

No legislation is required for Plan B. The existing TIA law authorizes any region that rejects its projects list to put together a new projects list and come back for a new vote in 2 years. There is no reason for Atlanta to attempt to reimpose the same failed projects list. If Atlanta really wants to use TIA to alleviate traffic congestion, Atlanta already has the authorization to put together a completely different projects list that actually would help to alleviate traffic congestion. Sifen's Plan B would do a better job of alleviating traffic congestion than the current list.
NtheNo
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June 14, 2012
No = T-$$$$PLOST
Last GA Democrat
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June 14, 2012
"Total future transit operating and maintenance costs should be capped at a level that the region can reasonably handle without future tax increases. An annual cap in the vicinity of $20 million for all new transit funded by the TSPLOST, would force the region to decide whether it wanted one boondoggle transit line, or actually start the foundation of a regional network of affordable transit connectivity."

Part of the problem with Metro Atlanta's approach to transit financing is that, in an attempt to make and keep transit affordable for the lowest-income and most downtrodden commuters, we have priced transit fares entirely too low, which has in effect severely-limited the funding needed to actually make transit appealing and convenient to the people who actually make up most of the SOV's(single-occupant vehicles) the make up the majority of vehicles stuck in really bad traffic congestion on the roads.

Forget the T-SPLOST or tax increase method of financing transit, or roads even, as tax increases to finance transit lines is totally unnecssary.

If a transit line cannot be self-supporting with the use of USER FEES in the form of adequately-priced fares high-enough to help finance the initial construction and continuing operations and maintenance of the line throughout the rest of its lifespan going forward, then it does not need to be built.

We would be wise to completely max-out on road expansion (widening and expansion of every major road in Cobb County and Metro Atlanta, doubling of freeway capacity, etc) before we continue with expanding the same increasingly-flawed mismanaged bare-bones transit approach in a misguided attempt to keep transit affordable for the poorest of the poor.
archlab
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June 21, 2012
I think that the term 'User Fees' needs to be in the forefront of any transit improvements. Let those who use it/pay for it. Aka - Toll Roads.

Unpopular? Yes. Equitable? YES.

Also, if you make the traffic, then pay for the solution. But don't force those who have no stake in these solutions to pay for them. Too many people in the Atlanta Area have a 'free-rdie' when it comes to their ability to just 'jump onto the highway' at peak times for no cost. These are the same who complain the most.
Restless in GA
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June 14, 2012
The passage of the Regional Transportation Referendum is the best option that we have to get transportation reform in the city. The likelihood of proponents coming together in two years to try to pass this bill again, or any other bill for that matter is highly unlikely. We can all agree that transportation is a major issue in GA. Let's work together now to implement the necessary changes to bring about reform!
TIC
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June 14, 2012
@ Restless in GA

If we all agree that transportation is a major issue that needs to be addressed then what is going to prevent us from coming together and formulating a realistic solution the second time around?

The only reason, I can think of that a follow up effort would fail is because the current proponents are not getting their way.

If it doesn't benefit them directly they are not going to be interested.

Let's vote this current TSPLOST down, start another effort and see who steps up and who does not.

Then we will see who REALLY wants to address our transportation issues.

The true believers will be revealed and the crooks will fall by the wayside.
Cobb Can
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June 14, 2012
Lets run our own splost when we know what we are buying.

If the Region Powers don't want to entertain Plan B, Cobb can do even more improvements with an old fashioned, Cobb only, SPLOST.... and we would be able to spend all the money rather than just what the Region decides to "send back".

Sifen has presented a reasonable alternative. Vote NO July 31st and do Plan B.
TIC
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June 14, 2012
@ Cobb Can

I agree.

Based on the estimated sales tax collections of the 2011 Cobb TSPLOST of $492 Million for four years, an estimated ten year collection amount would be right around $1.230 Billion.

Not so coincidentally it is about the same amount as we are being allocatedt in the current Regional TSPLOST. Maybe a little more.

The difference is, of course, that we (Cobb County) would control the money ourselves and not be sending it to GDOT, GRTA or some other mismanaged, out of control state agency.

I think most of the other counties in the Atlanta Region could do the same thing and make out just as well financially and also control their own destiny. I don't know that for sure, because I did not make those individual county calculations.

The only entities that would likely suffer under this local TSPLOST Plan B scenario would be the City of Atlanta and MARTA.

So

Our Cobb County Plan B would be to collect just as much revenue over a ten year period, control our own dollars and have at least some semblance of control over our local politicians and bureaucracies

or

Go with Plan A, give our revenues to state bureaucracies over which we have no control and that have proven time and again that they are inefficient, corrupt and mismanaged.

I vote for Plan B.

SG68
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June 14, 2012
Most of what you are saying Mr. Sifen is correct and makes sense.

However,

I do have some concerns about the viability of bus service simply from the standpoint of the perception of riding buses in the South.

It doesn't make sense, but it is a cultural issue that will be difficult to overcome.

Maybe financial necessity will be able to help resolve that ridiculous stigma. I hope so.

The second flaw in your "Plan B" scenario is that it doesn't jive with the wishes of the power brokers (political and business) that formulated the TIA project list in the first place.

Most of the projects in the TIA are their for their own enrichment and benefit. That's why they are spending multi-millions of dollars on a propaganda campaign to sell their bogus bill of goods to the public.

A few projects that actually make sense (mostly expressway interchange improvements) were thrown in. But that was only so that the boondoggle aspect of the list wasn't so blatantly obvious.

Like you said about 70% of the projects could be immediately eliminated because they are not aimed at effectively reducing traffic congestion and/or addressing regional transportation problems and issues.

They are aimed at the pocket books of the special interest groups who concocted this $7 Billion scam in the first place.

Plan B is a potential alternative, but only if the taxpayers can effectively wrest the power from those individuals and agencies that put together the first project list.

Name them
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June 14, 2012
Plan B does not jive with the elected offcials from the Governor on down. Check the quotes, they have not political will to do this again in 2 years.

but I am sure that is the aim of yourself and Mr. Sifen anyway. Do nothing would suit you just fine.

Who are the special interests you are talking about? Be specific!

SG68
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June 14, 2012
@ Name Them

For just a few of the special interest beneficiaries read I16's post below.

I will add MARTA, the City of Atlanta and GRTA from the public domain.

To identify the private sector beneficiaries just look at the people who are contributing big bucks to MAVEN and the other propaganda machines that are trying to cram the TSPLOST down our throats by carpet bombing the public with half truths and misinformation about the supposed "benefits" of approving the TSPLOST.

and

Plan B is not about doing nothing. It is about doing the RIGHT thing that actually addresses our regional transportation issues.

The epitomy of doing nothing is the current TIA project list.
Be Careful
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June 14, 2012
So, now that the ARC has admitted these projects will not have any meaningful impact on commute times, how long before Tim Lee and Mark Mathews are advising people to vote against it?

Mark is on the ARC, so he KNOWS they now say the projects won't do what they originally said.

Will he do the right thing, or continue to push for these silly ideas?
I16
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June 14, 2012
Folks that will profit, CW Matthews, Butch Thompson, Baldwwin Paving,and others.

Atkins, Croy eng, Pbsj, Ma, Cobb Dot, Ga Dot.

Mr. Moreland, David Hankerson, Tim Lee, Mark Matthews, Chip Rogers, Nathan Liberal Deal and others.

VOTE NO TSPLOST.
A Few ?
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June 14, 2012
So you must be against the free enterprise system and against small business. Who do you think builds road projects anyway but the private sector?

Pretty unbelievable anti-business talk.
TIC
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June 14, 2012
@ A Few ?

Don't be so myopic and ignorant.

No one has a problem with private sector businesses benefiting from legitimate and effective transportation projects.

That's the problem. The current TIA project list is a money wasting debacle!!

It is the LIST stupid!!

A Few ?
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June 14, 2012
I am not the one being myopic or ignorant.

When multiple individuals talking points consists of anti-business rhetoric and conspiracy theories regarding the RTR and who is going to benefit, whithout any facts, just conjecture, it is easy to see who is ignorant.

If you don't like the list, don't vote for the list. If you don't like the process, blame the General Assembly and the folks who voted for this process.

Don't concoct some wild eyed stories and disparage good hard working private sector organizations for supporting this effort.

You sound like a bunch of Occupy Wall street twits and that is myopic and ignorant personified.
TIC
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June 14, 2012
It's not rhetoric, it's not conspiracy theories, it's not anti- business and it's not conjecture.

For anyone who is willing to look objectively at the ridiculous TIA project list, take note of who is spending big money to support it and then make some common sense deductions, it is pretty clear as to the intent of what is being proposed.

As for the hardworking transportation oriented private sector businesses that support the TSPLOST.

Do they really have a choice?

If they opposed it or just didn't wholeheartedly support it, that would be duly noted and if the TSPLOST passed they would likely be effectively blacklisted when it came time to select consultants or contractors.

If you are just to naive or simply aren't astute enough to recognize that, it's not my problem.

It's right in front of you if you care to look closely enough.

As for the TIA process, the Members of the General Assembly did not anticipate that the legislation they passed would be purposely perverted by the members of the Roundtable to create their own personal slush fund of projects.

The legislators built in some flexibilty on purpose, but they didn't expect that flexibility to be so carelessly and selfishly abused.
A Few ?
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June 14, 2012
@TIC Everything you keep saying is just warmed over non-specific rhetorical talking points and YES conspiracy theories. The business community who cares about the investment they have already made in this region are investing in this campaign because they believe it is the right thing to do. It is the method of funding the Legislature prescribed. The project list was not perverted at all. You may not like a project on the list and that may be the thing that has you pitching a fit but guess what, there may be a project you like someone else thinks is a "boondogle." That is part of living in a region and this is a REGIONAL project list. You use phrases like "slush fund" but you have nothing to back that up at all.

The legislators were too worried about breaking some pledge they signed from Grover Norquist to fund this directly with a state wide tax, or come up with a list of priorities and projects themselves so we have this process. It is not perfect mind you but the process worked.

If you got 21 leaders from this region in a room again and looked at the list of projects I am pretty sure many of if not the same list of projects would rise to the top and be selected.

What you are advocating for is to vote this down and wait two years and do it all over again. Guess what, that won't happen. There is no political will from the State leaders, Members of the General Assembly or likely any of the roundtable members to do this over in two years.

A NO vote is a vote to do nothing because that is what will happen.

Ron Sifen knows it, you know it and the rest of the folks against this know that and that is exactly what you really want to happen.
anonymous
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June 15, 2012
--A Few ? said: The business community who cares about the investment they have already made in this region are investing in this campaign because they believe it is the right thing to do.

BUT, the business community is not willing to pony up their own dollars to make it happen. It makes no business sense to them except to the extent that they get to do the work with other people (taxpayers) paying the bill.

Take your load of blather and send it off to whereever they sent Sam Olens and Hankersons' mules, please.
TIC
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June 15, 2012
@ A Few?

It's hard to imagine that you can't see this TIA fiasco for what it is?

My greatest fear about this issue is that there will be more than 50% of the voters out there who are like you and lapping up the pro TSPLOST propaganda as if it is the truth.

What is being proposed in the TIA/TSPLOST, for the most part, is not a solution to our regional transportation and congestion issues.

However you are correct when you say that the private business leaders you mentioned are doing what they think is best for THEIR investments.

You have unwttingly identified the root of the problem.

They can't, or just refuse, to look beyond their own immediate business interests and seriously consider the larger picture for the Metro Atlanta region.

As a result of their narrowly focused, self interested motivation the future of the Metro area is in jeopardy. They will benefit in the short run, but in the long run the sustainability of the region will be damaged.

Plan B is not, as you contend, about doing nothing. It is about doing the RIGHT thing for the Metro area.

Raise My Gas Taxes?
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June 14, 2012
Mr. Sifen apparently didn't get Debbie Dooley's memo earlier this week when she told a group that the Tea Party would support raising the gas tax as a plan B. Seriously? They rant and rave about tax pledges and government accountability, and their plan is to raise the gas tax without letting the people vote on it, put the money in the state's general fund without oversight, and then let that tax go on forever? Someone told me that it would take raising the gas tax 25 cents to build these projects! And on top of that, they're allied with the Sierra Club, who's Plan B is to push for MARTA in Cobb County and Gwinnett County. I was originally going to vote no on this, but now I'm voting yes because I think the biggest boondoggle of all would be letting the self professed experts in the Tea Party and Sierra Club lead the charge for a project list in two years. THAT would be a boondoggle.
Last GA Democrat
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June 14, 2012
Don't vote for this T-SPLOST is nothing more than a red herring designed to get public handouts made up of our tax dollars in the pockets of well-connected roadbuilders, land spectulators, real estate developers, railbuilders and ridiculously high-priced consultants.

If the T-SPLOST is voted down, Plan B will likely never come to pass as many state politicians are openly talking about passing legislation to void and eliminate the process of remaking a list for yet another vote in two years which no lawmaker really wants to do then as 2014 will be a Gubernatorial election year here in Georgia.

In fact, if they really wanted to get more bang for the buck, the state would do well to ELIMINATE and ABOLISH THE GAS TAX FOR ALL GEORGIANS by just simply charging mileage-based USER FEES on each major road, making each major road fully SELF-FUNDED.

The state could retain the gas tax on all out-of-state vehicles and drivers and even raise it to gain more money for road construction and maintenance.
A Few ?
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June 15, 2012
How would you suggest the State determine how many miles you have traveled on these roads to determine how much User Fee (see Tax) you will pay.

Will this be something that is self-reported or do you advocate some sort of tracking device be placed on every vehicle with a GA license plate on it.

How about all of the other cars from other states that drive our roads and highways every day? How do you expect to keep track of their miles traveled and send them a bill?

Have you really thought this idea through any more than you have thought through the other wild ideas you have expressed in these pages?
John in East Cobb
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June 14, 2012
Last evening channel 11 ran headlines of major expected job growth for the Atlanta area. They quoted publications.

Does anyone else suspect the TIA folks for this "good" news.
It is GOOD news
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June 14, 2012
Why in the heck would you put good in quotes related to job growth in the Atlanta market.

Do you not see this possiblity as in fact GOOD news? Just amazing people seem so ant-business in these blog pages recently.

Kiplingers online was the source listing Atlanta as one of 8 cities expected to see job growth.
TIC
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June 14, 2012
@ John in East Cobb

The point is that the pro TSPLOST people are insinuating that only minimal job growth is going to be possible without the passage of the TSPLOST.

They are holding out the TSPLOST as the one and only hope for job growth in the Atlanta Metro area and if we don't pass it that our community will whither up and die.

Can you say scare tactics?

THE TRUTH
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June 14, 2012
@TIC They go hand in hand. Atlanta has a lot of great resources available to it, many of which were investments made over time that have resulted in great growth. Our entire existance can really be traced to transportation related events. Peachtree street is a high point on a ridgeline that was used by Indians and early settlers. Atlanta's first name was terminus, as that is where all of the trains met. Hartsfield airport and that major investment represented a huge step in the growth of our region. The Interstate Highway System then MARTA and those investments that have also led to growth and development. We are at another crossroads and this vote represents an opportunity to make another such investment in our region and the rest of the state.

TIC
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June 14, 2012
@ THE TRUTH

You are correct about our history regarding transportation.

For the most part the existence and subsequent progress of Atlanta is based on being a transportation hub.

The exception might be MARTA and that is a management problem not an infrastructure problem.

Where I think we diverge in our opinion is that the previous transportation advancements you mentioned were the right projects at the right time for the right reasons.

This TSPLOST does not reflect the good judgement that was exhibited in regard to those other projects.

It is a collection of the WRONG projects for the WRONG reasons.

Sure we need to do something, but it needs to be effective and financially responsible.

This TSPLOST is neither.

THE TRUTH
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June 14, 2012
Of the 157 regional projects list three examples of WRONG projects for the WRONG reasons.

I just want to know how you define them.
TIC
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June 14, 2012
The Atlanta Beltline Trolley TIA-AT-007 Local trolley system with no appreciable impact on regional congestion issues

The I-85 Corridor Transit Study TIA-GW-031 No infrastructue improvements; no impact on regional congestion issues

The McCollum Airport Improvements TIA-CO-018 and 020 Non traffic related and no impact on regional congestion issues

Real Truth
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June 14, 2012
The bus/train boondoggle takes 2/3 of Cobb's money. That counts for several bad projects.

The missing projects at I-75/I-285 interchange and I-285 between I-75 and Perimeter Mall, are where the congestion lies.

Plan B can put the boondoggle money where the real needs are.

This list really is bad. Vote NO July 31st.

VoteNo!
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June 14, 2012
Good info--vote no on this scam. Cobb taxpayers would get hosed big time. Some connected people would get rich so let them find another way to steal money. Vote no.
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