T-SPLOST Debate: Not a Perfect Plan, But a Plan Nonetheless

'Our infrastructure is broken. We already have a terrible reputation for it, and we will look like fools if we refuse to help ourselves.'

by Callie McLean

First off, let me just say that I don't like sales taxes either. They are regressive and affect poorer people more. There's no getting around that. However, most of that sales tax income actually comes from people outside of Georgia. I forget the exact percentage I heard, but it's astoundingly high.

Secondly, yeah, it's going mostly outside our area, which sucks. But I know many of us in the area, myself included, travel far and wide to get to work, to shop at certain places that are just not in town or in our area. Those really terrible areas that are begging for improvement will affect those daily travels. Not only that, but if traffic is alleviated throughout the entire area, then the stress in other areas, including hopefully our own, will be lessened.

And in general - I am not saying that this is a perfect plan, but it IS a plan. If we vote no, who knows when they will come up with something else, if they will. It will at least be years. And what that will look like - who knows. This took a long time to create, and was bi-partisan and many people were consulted on this. I don't often say this about politics, but I do believe they did the best that they could. Also JOB CREATION. We have a high unemployment rate people.

I also believe that they have the intention for this to be as transparent as possible. I hope that that remains the case.

And finally, something needs to be done. Our infrastructure is broken. We already have a terrible reputation for it, and we will look like fools if we refuse to help ourselves. That prevents us from getting businesses and more investment. No one wants to invest in something that is broken. Ultimately, if we don't invest in ourselves, the federal government will also not invest in us. Think of it as a matching funds grant. That we won't get if we don't invest in ourselves. In fact, we will likely get less funds than we do now, resulting in even further deterioration of our infrastructure and more congestion with the increase in population.

I hope people can think about the long-term effects of this and the bigger picture.

Ms. McLean, a resident of Ormewood Park, is an exhibit designer for a metro Atlanta-based U.S. cultural resources management firm and the writer of the Fit Nerd Girl blog.

Jason in GP July 20, 2012 at 12:24 PM
"yeah, it's going mostly outside our area, which sucks." Yep. How about we stage a protest in front of the concrete plant demanding investment in the SE Beltline? It worked for the GA400 tolls. Kidding aside (sort of), I'll be holding my nose when I vote 'yes'.
Jamie Mneimneh July 20, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Yes, sales taxes most directly effect the working poor. In general, voting for poorly planned, improperly thought out legislation results in just that. Personally, I am not interested in having a 18 billion dollar slush fund overseen by unelected officials who have no voter accountability. As far as being a "joke" for transportation, I tend to disagree with you as far as our infrastructure and transportation go per http://www.cnbc.com/id/46414199/. The idea of "creating jobs" by raising taxes falls into the broken window fallacy. Pick up a copy of Economics in One Lesson, it will do wonders for your world view and maybe help you before using your vote to further reduce the quality of life for those who can't afford it and those who actually believe in trying to avoid passing least common denominator legislation. http://www.traffictruth.net/
J Kilgore July 20, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Callie writes that she heard that "...most of the sales tax comes from people outside Georgia." Then she acknowledges that "...it's going mostly outside our area." She continues that traffic will be relieved "...hopefully..." She continues her pitch FOR T SPLOST by admitting that it is not "perfect", but "they did the best they could". She favors transparency and she "hopes that remains the case." She concludes with a completely false statement, which she no doubt is parroting the false marketing of the Chamber of Commerce, that "our infrastructure is broken." Well, if that inane, thoughtless commentary which has no basis in fact and is based on nothing more than hope, is representative of the supporters of T SPLOST, then I am proud to be in the opposition camp. CNBC recently ranked Georgia 3rd in the entire country for the quality of our infrastructure and our transportation. Georgia has consistently ranked in the top ten in the country in terms of road quality. T SPLOST is based on unreasonable and unachievable revenue projections. The project lists are dramatically flawed as it is a ten year plan and the project costs are based on 2011 dollar, and, worse yet, the project lists are UNDER FUNDED. No private business would develop such a plan. Keep hoping Callie, and you will continue to get perpetual prevarication and inept performance from your elected representatives. Do your own research Callie. You will be amazed.
alicia sullivan July 20, 2012 at 02:08 PM
http://www.politifact.com/georgia/statements/2012/may/15/transportation-leadership-coalition/anti-transportation-tax-group-light-rail-doubles-c/ PolitiFact found that this claim of traffictruth.net was completely false.
Chris H July 20, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Jason, Beltline Inc does not own the right of way of the SE corridor south of I-20. It's still an active rail corridor by the LaFarge concrete plant you speak of. However, they look to be wanting to sell, so someday it will be developed. http://aisforatlanta.com/2011/02/lafarge-ready-to-leave-beltline/
Jamie Mneimneh July 20, 2012 at 05:47 PM
http://www.traffictruth.net/TrafficTruth_TSPLOST_Fact_Sheet_22May12.pdf and read for yourself. Maybe it's been updated but the quote that article seems to reference seems to be gone.
Jason in GP July 20, 2012 at 06:05 PM
The TIA has $600mil for the Beltline - most of which will be spent on streetcars not actually on the Beltline. Including past/current/future investments outside the TIA, we may hit $1bil by the time the SE line is freed. You'd think the $10mil or so (I'm just guessing) to buy the plant wouldn't be too much to ask for. We better get to it before Walmart does! (again, kidding - sort of)
Menelik Zee July 20, 2012 at 08:32 PM
No, it's not a perfect plan. I won't accept "a plan nonetheless". They run this game on the Southside everytime they need something. Lets have a plan where South Fulton County can have meaningful input.


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