Cobb County’s Pete Borden does a great job on summarizing the outrage created by the Transportation Investment Act (TSPLOST). Please take a few minutes and read it. If you agree with Pete you can post on the www.MDJonline.com . If you disagree, WE REALLY NEED TO HERE FROM YOU!
“Three separate pieces, a news story, an editorial and a letter to the editor, all within recent days, have shed new light on a local proposal under the Transportation Investment Act (TIA). Said proposal is popularly, but erroneously called “TSPLOST.”
I use the term “erroneously” because, even though it is called such, there is very little, if any, similarity between the TIA and SPLOST. Unlike SPLOST, the TIA does not require defined projects, rather seems to favor ambiguity. Further, the TIA is administered by political appointees, rather than officials elected for that purpose. Indeed, it seems to be written to invite, enable and protect malfeasance and cronyism.
State Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) admits what most of us have known for some months now. The TSPLOST proposal is a like a jigsaw puzzle with half the pieces missing.
Further, he states that the proposal has been switched from a regional traffic relief plan to a plan for economic development and transit transformation for Atlanta. To most of us, that is yesterday’s news, a day too late. It is obvious to most taxpayers of Cobb County that this proposal was designed as a bailout for MARTA and the city of Atlanta, and that not a one of the perpetrators of the travesty ever had a thought of how, or if, it would benefit Cobb County.
Even more amazing, but still not news to the taxpayers, was County Commission Chairman Tim Lee’s admission that the proposal was purposely written in a convoluted manner. However, I admit to being a little astonished when he justified that by saying they thought that was how the TIA intended that it should be presented. If that is truly what the lawmakers intended, it is time to heat up the tar and collect the feathers.
State Rep. Rich Golick (R-Smyrna) said he believes there is a disconnect between how Lee thinks Cobb County taxpayer money is to be used and how the taxpayers think it is to be used. DUH! Well, yeah! There is a massive disconnect at play.
First, we don’t want our money spent to further the agenda of the Chamber of Commerce, the Cumberland Community Improvement District or Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta. We do not want it spent on a project designed to bring MARTA to Cobb County, through the back door. We voted on that some years ago. We didn’t want it then and we still don’t want it. We are sorry that MARTA and the City of Atlanta are having all these problems but we don’t feel like putting our dog in a fight not of our making.
Hopefully, the fiasco known as the “HOT Lanes” has successfully torpedoed and sunk the TSPLOST scheme. “HOT Lanes” is another massive government boondoggle which we raced to embrace. It turned out to be as useful as reverse gear on a motorcycle. Unfortunately, we took a pocketful of Uncle Sam’s money for it and he won’t let us out of the deal.
However, since the TSPLOST boondoggle is the direct result of lawmakers trusting the wrong people, it would behoove them to correct the situation by having Gov. Nathan Deal put a two year moratorium on voting on it until it can be fully vetted. Failing that the voters will kill it and it may never rise again.
In a last ditch effort to save SPLOST, Lee proposed a “split penny” SPLOST scheme, wherein the county and the school board would share a SPLOST. It appears Lee is desperately trying to save SPLOST. Any kind of SPLOST would be better than none, is, I am sure, his thinking.
I am fairly certain the voters of Cobb County are tired of being taken for fools. Before voting for any more taxes, TIA, or SPLOST, we need to let both the current SPLOSTs run their course. We need the county and the school board to convince us that our money will not be used for questionable projects, like rubber grass, while we have students housed in trailers or sidewalks/bike trails while we have massive traffic congestion problems in many areas of the county.
Mostly, we need the TIA/TSPLOST put on hold and the hand that is reaching for our wallets slapped away. We need a better plan than any one we have yet heard. We want TIA amended to put elected officials, not political appointees, in charge of spending our money and make it mandatory they spend it like we vote to spend it. ”
Pete Borden is a masonry contractor.