Today in Georgia is election day for municipal races. But in the state another vote is taking place that could change the road landscape of Metro Atlanta and Georgia. Voters in Georgia will vote yes or no on the T-SPLOST. This vote on a one-cent sales tax is to invest in a specifically identified list of transportation improvements in each of Georgia’s twelve economic development regions. If the vote in one region has a majority no then that region will get NO extra transportation funding. But if all of the economic development regions passes T-SPLOST; then the state would have an extra $18 BILLION of new transportation funds that would be generated state-wide over the 10 years. This would be the biggest economic development opportunity since the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. T-SPLOST would also change the board makeup of MARTA and would also expand mass transit in Metro Atlanta by bringing on more bus routes and new rail lines as seen by this map below.
There have been plenty of points made for and against the vote. And I am going to share both sides of this issue. First on the YES side of the vote which includes popular figures such as Clark Howard and traffic reporters. These people say you need to vote YES so Georgia and Metro Atlanta can attract new companies that would bring in good paying jobs. Plus traffic in Metro Atlanta is the worst in the south and one of the worst in the country and roads need to be expanded to relieve traffic congestion. Plus mass transit needs to be expanded to take cars off of the roads. This video from Transform Metro Atlanta does a good job talking about the vote and why it is needed.
On the NO side of the vote it has groups such as the Sierra Club, NAACP, and various Tea Party members saying this new tax is handing money over to elected officials who you can not trust. They also say a better approach to transportation funding is a change in the motor fuel tax, allowing it to be used for transportation rather than be deposited into the state’s general fund. Plus a change is needed at Georgia D.O.T and MARTA. They also say Metro Atlanta is too spread out and mass transit is not going to work. This music video from Traffic Truth is very good!
So what is my opinion on the T-SPLOST vote? I think something needs to be done to help solve the traffic problems in Metro Atlanta. People are getting tired of long commutes and traffic jams on the highways. Plus no one likes seeing what Georgia D.O.T. is doing to put a toll on the left lane of I-85 in NE Atlanta. Millions of dollars were wasted for a lane that hardly anyone uses. I even talked about on the blog. The link is below! http://geekalabama.com/2012/01/08/i-85-hot-lanes-failure-and-why-it-wont-work-in-alabama/.
Plus the Millennial Generation (people under age 30) wants to live in communities where a car is NOT needed. Car ownership for this age group is way down and this group prefers to live in communities where things are in a walking distance. And if this age group wants to travel they would prefer to use mass transit like buses and light rail. This blog post from Realtor.com explains it great! http://www.realtor.com/blogs/2012/03/05/millennials-moving-to-urban-centers/ Also have you heard of Walk Score; you need to check it out! http://www.walkscore.com/.
But I am afraid the T-SPLOST vote will not pass. The people who are against the vote are doing a very good job convincing people to vote NO. And let’s face it; people are growing tired of extra taxes and governments that does not spend taxpayer money wisely. Something needs to be done for mass transit and roads in Georgia and Metro Atlanta. And it does not need to involve telling people to live in the suburbs because Atlanta is not a safe place to live.
- Corporate donors to Atlanta T-SPLOST campaign gave little to statewide effort (m.onlineathens.com)
- T-SPLOST vote: Another historic move for Atlanta (ajc.com)
- Atlanta’s Tax-for-Transportation Vote Is Today (transportationnation.org)
- Georgia Sierra Club against T-SPLOST (lake.typepad.com)
- 10 Facts About the T-SPLOST Referendum (chesbuilt.com)
- T-SPLOST losing statewide, but not in Region 11 (lake.typepad.com)
- Ga. voters deciding transportation tax referendum (onlineathens.com)
- Commonly asked questions about T-SPLOST proposal (savannahnow.com)
- The debate surrounding T-SPLOST (wtvm.com)