Monthly Archives: September 2011

Will the TSPLOST Optimize Traffic Congestion Relief in Cobb?

Patch.com published an opinion on the proposed transportation referendum. Vinings resident questions just how many cars would be taken off the road as a result of a Cumberland-to-Midtown light rail.

By Ron Sifen

More and more community leaders in Cobb are realizing that the light rail proposal will consume a lot of tax dollars, but deliver little improvement in traffic congestion.

State Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) has criticized this project, saying that it “is not about traffic relief: it’s about economic development.” Setzler has recommended an alternative package of projects that would do far more, short term and long term, to alleviate traffic congestion in Cobb.

The Atlanta newspaper recently published a Politifact fact check on State Sen. Majority Leader Chip Rogers’ statement that rail “doesn’t do a great job of lessening traffic.” PolitiFact judged this statement to be “Mostly True,” and cited strong evidence to support that judgment. They downgraded to “Mostly True” only because they thought he should have added that adding lanes also doesn’t do a great job of lessening traffic in the long term. (I think that rail designed to alleviate traffic congestion can be successful. The problem with the proposed Cobb Parkway light rail concept is that it is designed to promote development, at the expense of traffic congestion relief.)

T-SPLOST forum was ‘staged’ event?

MARIETTA — Tuesday’s standing-room-only TSPLOST forum hosted by the Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable in Marietta was a calculated response to the recent town hall meetings held by Cobb lawmakers where residents have blasted the proposed 10 year tax, said state Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth).

“There’s a dramatically different set of people that turned out tonight,” Setzler said after the meeting, held in the Cobb Board of Commissioners room. “I mean, after the battering this light rail concept has taken in four consecutive town hall meetings around the county, I think there was a recognition among the supporters of this that if they don’t show up tonight in force, have prepared remarks and get recognized to be one of the seven speakers who got to speak, then their message was never going to get out.”

Pete Borden: TSPLOST a Trojan horse?

Mark Mathews, mayor of Kennesaw and a member of the regional roundtable, intimated that we either vote to pay $865 million of our money to run a light rail from Midtown to Cumberland or we else still have to pay the 1 percent TSPLOST for 10 years but lose the benefit of the $865 million.

First of all, that statement is not true. There is a possibility of that happening, but it is not a given fact, as Mathews would have us believe. This issue, as well as the list of projects is far from being “carved in stone” at this time, and will not be until Oct. 15. If it were, it would be time to tar and feather the people responsible for putting it together, including Mathews and Lee.

There was virtually no input from taxpayers prior to the list being formalized. More importantly, to the best of my knowledge, the regional roundtable is a group of politicians playing with my money and yours, few, if any of whom have more than a nodding acquaintance with light rail technology or urban transportation planning.

At present, a little more than $1 billion of TSPLOST is earmarked for Cobb County. They tell us that we are lucky to have about 97 percent of our taxes returned to Cobb County. First of all, if that were true, and it is not, that is not a very good deal. We are getting 100 percent on the local SPLOSTs we currently have going on.

TSPLOST is about everything except transportation.

by Paul W. Lentz, Jr. – Peachtree City, Ga

The Kingston Trio in 1959 sang about a man named Charlie who lacked a nickel to make the fare necessary to get off the Boston Mass Transit Authority (MTA) subway. Charlie was doomed forever to ride the subway, the “Man Who Never Returned.”

Today, it’s hard to relate to Charlie’s problem: a 15-cent subway fare (the total Charlie needed) is in the far past. On the other hand, the more I learn about the Transportation SPecial Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) and the uses for which it is intended, the more I feel like I was trapped in a maze of politics worse than the MTA tunnels under Boston.

The TSPLOST is about everything except transportation.

It is about a bunch of politicians out to make what they perceive as the wealthy people pay what the politicians preach to the masses to be the wealthy’s “fair share” of the cost of wasteful government spending. (Or, should that be “fare share”?)

It’s about politicians who just can’t stand that the people of Fayette County voted down a local TSPLOST in 2010, and who have figured out a way to get their revenge by diluting our votes and forcing the tax down our throats.

Read the full article here>>>

Cherokee County: T-SPLOST is “doomed to failure”

The Cherokee Tribune take a look at the Transportation Investment Act – AKA TSPLOST.  Surveys show few believe the one percent sales tax to be voted on in July 2012 will pass. Here is what they had to say….

 

According to a recent Georgia Municipal Association survey, half of the state’s mayors and city council members are worried that a 2012 referendum on adding another penny to local sales taxes — this one for regional transportation projects — is doomed to failure.

The survey was mailed to 2,450 mayors, council members, city managers and city clerks around the state and netted 609 responses. Statewide results of the survey had 49.6 percent of city officials saying they didn’t think the Transportation Special-Purpose Local Option Sales Tax would earn voter approval, with 31.9 saying they didn’t know whether it would pass or not, and only 18.6 percent expecting it to pass.

Officials around the state have also been known to play games with scheduling SPLOST referendums, moving them away from primary and general election dates, when large numbers of people can be expected at the polls, to lesser-known special election dates when only the most motivated voters will make an effort to get to the polls.

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Candidates Denounce TSPLOST

The five candidates running to fill the seat held by the late state Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-east Cobb) denounced the TSPLOST and Cobb EMC leadership during a candidate forum Monday.

TSPLOST Conflict of Interest?

SMYRNA — State Sen. Doug Stoner (D-Smyrna) works in business development for Croy Engineering of Marietta, a company that has directly benefited from a proposal for mass transit in Cobb County, which critics say creates a conflict of interest.

Croy Engineering is the project manager for the county’s $1.8 million Northwest Atlanta Corridor Alternatives Analysis Study, which will examine what kinds of mass transportation will work on the Interstate 75 and U.S. 41 corridors, how much it will cost and where it should be built.

Tom Maloy of the Marietta-based Georgia Tea Party believes that “doesn’t pass the smell test.”

GA Tea Party says NO to TSPLOST

“We are opposed to the TSPLOST in principle because we don’t believe that nine other counties and the city of Atlanta have the right to impose a tax increase on the citizens of Cobb County,” said J.D. Van Brink, who chairs the group’s board. “We believe that the law itself is fundamentally flawed and needs to be repealed.”

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TSPLOST: Dog & Pony Show – Questions Go Unanswered

I attended the transportation sales tax (TSPLOST) meeting last night at the Douglas County courthouse. About 60 people attended with about half of that being suit and tie top guns of the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC).

Noticeably absent from the meeting were the Douglas County legislative delegation who’s responsible for the Transportation Investment Act, HB-277. The TSPLSOT vote is planned for July 20012. The TSPLOST is estimated to extract over $6 billion from taxpayers over ten years.

The “public forum” was very controlled by the ARC and required citizens to fill out and submit a question card to be read by a moderator. The public was never encouraged to speak up or ask additional questions during the meeting. Continue reading

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TSPLOST Meeting Tomorrow 5pm Douglasville, Ga

Douglas County Courthouse
NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING: There will be a public meeting regarding the Transportation Investment Act on September 7, 2011 from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. in Citizens’ Hall located at the Douglas County Courthouse, 8700 Hospital Drive, Douglasville, GA 30134

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