At the end of the day, my decision to vote YES for the TSPLOST boils down to something pretty simple.
On July 31 I could vote for the TSPLOST because people I trust tell me I should.
Or, I could vote yes because I’m weary of having to plan errands and meetings to avoid traffic snarls.
Or, I could vote yes for the TSPLOST because we need the jobs that will be created with the $8.5 billion in transportation projects it will fund.
Or, I could vote yes because TSPLOST funds can reverse the trend of metro Atlanta and Georgia losing millions in matching federal funds for transportation improvements each year.
Or, I could vote yes because TSPLOST funds can help to strengthen our sagging economic competitiveness as a national and international business hub.
Or, I could vote yes because improved roads and transit will allow people to get where they need to be when they need to be there.
Or, I could vote yes because we have staggering backlogs of transportation maintenance and new project needs all around the state that continue to grow.
Or, I could vote yes because we have to find a way to provide more driving, walking, biking, and transit options for all of us to use every day.
However, I won’t vote yes for any of these reasons, although each is solid and compelling. Nor will I vote yes for any of the dozens of other sound, positive reasons that others have outlined. I won’t vote yes for TSPLOST because I love taxes, because I believe TSPLOST is a silver bullet that will magically correct all of our congestion ills or because I am enthusiastic about every single one of the projects on the well-vetted list of projects that TSPLOST will fund.
I will vote yes simply because I believe in my community, metro Atlanta and Georgia. I live here and plan to for the rest of my days. As a beneficiary of forward-looking, tough decisions and major infrastructure investments by generations of Georgia taxpayers before me, I will vote yes for the future of this region.
Perhaps someday opponents to TSPLOST will advance a better way to tackle and fund the very complicated and expensive business of supporting our economy and desired lifestyles. There will be plenty of need for future funding, too. Until then, however, I salute the folks who have slogged through the analysis and inelegant negotiations that led to the TSPLOST idea and vote. This process we call democracy gives us a chance to invest in our future. I am glad we can have a say. And I WILL vote yes on July 31.
Helen Preston Tapp
American Institute of Certified Planners
A native of Marietta, Tapp is a professional land, transportation and environmental planner and policy analyst.