Category Archives: Cobb County

The Marietta Daily Journal – The TSPLOST Passage will obstruct progress

There are always at least 2 sides to every issue.  Cobb County columnist Ron Sifen offers another perspective on the Transportation Sales Tax.

Ron Sifen

The TSPLOST was supposed to be about reducing traffic congestion.

The Atlanta Regional Commission has conceded that the TSPLOST projects list will do little to reduce regional commute times. The ARC says they are defining “alleviating traffic congestion” as meaning increasing the number of people who can reach a point in the region within 45 minutes. The ARC has conceded that this has nothing to do with improving the flow of traffic, and that it will have an insignificant impact on reducing commute times.

The reason that so many state legislators are now opposing the TSPLOST is that the projects list became a massive bait-and-switch. Most of the money, billions of dollars, is going to projects that will do little or nothing to improve the flow of traffic.

In public presentations on both July 12 and July 13, TSPLOST proponents said

* Light rail has NOTHING to do with reducing traffic congestion, and

* Light rail has NOTHING to do with moving people.

* Cities build light rail to promote economic development.

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation recently concluded that the TSPLOST projects list has “massive boondoggles that will put this state at a disadvantage for decades,“ and that “it would commit the region to wasteful spending on questionable projects for long past the 10-year sales tax.”

 

T-SPLOST: Tax Proponents Resort to name calling: “Racists”

The Marietta Daily Journal reports supporters of the July 31 transportation sales tax referendum has resorted to calling tax foes “racists” as polls show 56% of likely voters say no to the tax.

Cobb County Chairman Tim Lee has also described opponents of a proposed rail line from Midtown to Cumberland Mall as racists, according to MDJ.

“And one of the major reasons is that you turned your back on MARTA,” Leinberger said. “You have so underinvested in MARTA, and of course we all know what MARTA really stands for. It’s not the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit. It is Moving African Americans Rapidly Through Atlanta. You’ve racialized it. The white suburban neighborhoods and places have completely ignored the economic development potential that MARTA could have been and will be in the future.”

 

 

Higher Taxes or Commute Alternatives?

Georgia Clean Air Campaign offers Atlanta commuter alternatives.

We can increase our taxes or we can unitize existing transportation alternatives.

Continue reading

Tax Foes Get Busy: TIA Tax Faces Opposition -T-SPLOST

MDJ Colunmnist Don McKee writes:

The opposition is getting organized against the proposed Transportation Investment Act or TSPLOST to be voted on July 31. And not a moment too soon: Already the chambers of commerce and other deep-pocket backers are spending big bucks supporting the added one-cent regional sales tax in the 10-county metro area.

Now the Georgia Taxpayers Alliance says it will “lead a grassroots campaign” to defeat the TSPLOST, estimated to cost metro taxpayers “more than $7 billion over 10 years.” James Bell, director of the alliance, announced the campaign Wednesday.

“We’re working with a coalition being formed,” Bell said in a telephone interview yesterday. The coalition is expected to include the tea party and other groups opposing the regional sales tax that would raise an estimated $6.14 billion over 10 years.

Bell, a Lithia Springs videographer, said he and his alliance co-founder, Ron Williams, a Gwinnett County barber, do not “do membership” but instead work in building coalitions. He said he is in the process of “identifying 10 activists in 10 counties” to work against the TSPLOST by going to town hall meetings to speak up and help in other ways to energize a grassroots movement. The plan is for the anti-TSPLOST activists to use social networks, write letters to editors and stage public demonstrations, among other activities.
Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – Don McKee Grassroots movement being launched to oppose TSPLOST plan

Tax Group Says “NO” to Transportation Tax

Taxpayer Group Organizes against Regional Transportation Tax (T-SPLOST)

The Georgia Taxpayers Alliance, Inc. (GTA) has announced it will launch a grassroots campaign to defeat the July 31 Transportation Investment Act (TIA) Referendum, also called T-SPLOST. The tax is estimated to cost metro-Atlanta taxpayers more than $8.5 billion over ten years. 

James Bell, director of GTA said he is organizing in the 10 county Atlanta region to inform voters of the pending vote and encourage voters to vote “NO” on July 31.

Bell said while his group of grassroots activists cannot compete with a multi-million dollar pro tax campaigns funded by special interest groups, they do have dedicated citizens willing to work county by county to turn out the vote against the massive tax proposal.

“The opposition to the transportation tax is growing,”Bell said. “Even lawmakers who previously supported the tax have now come out opposing it.”

According to GTA, activists will be using social networks, attending public meetings, writing editorial letters and holding public demonstrations to bring attention to the sales tax vote in July.

Ron Williams, co-founder of GTA and a Gwinnett County resident said Gwinnett will be a major player in defeating the tax.

“D.O.T. projects like HOT lanes have made Gwinnett voters skeptical of any proposal to reduce traffic congestion,” said Williams.

The group believes an informed public will reject the 10-year tax increase, but the key to defeating the tax is voter turn out. Voters most go to the polls. “If you stay home and do not vote it is just like a vote in favor of the tax,”Bell said.

GTA has set up an educational Blog at www.TSPLOST.info .

James Bell and other metro-Atlanta activists are available for media interviews.

For more information:  James Bell – 404-452-4668 or Email – GaTaxpayer@gmail.com

East Cobb residents tee off on TSPLOST

by Jon Gillooly
jgillooly@mdjonline.com
March 29, 2012 12:00 AM

EAST COBB — An Atlanta Regional Commission staffer’s presentation on the July 31 regional transportation referendum didn’t make many believers out of an audience of about 30 on Wednesday evening at the East Cobb Library.

The event was held by the East Cobb Civic Association.

Jane Hayse, transportation planning division chief for the Atlanta Regional Commission, gave a presentation on the proposed 10-year tax for transportation projects that would raise the sales tax rate by 1 percent before opening up the floor to questions.

Bobbi Shams of east Cobb asked Hayse who she anticipates using a light rail line in Cobb County.

Hayse said the county is in the process of determining “who is the market, using transit, particularly along Highway 41 going all the way up Kennesaw State. There’s a lot of students between Kennesaw State and Southern Poly that are possible candidates, a lot of redevelopment going on in those areas.”

Shams also asked Hayse if she believed a Cobb-financed rail line was really meant to serve Fulton County residents.

Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal

Pete Borden: TSPLOST is alphabet soup

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. Continue reading

TSPLOST Shell Game

This was published in the Marietta Daily Journal

Dear Editor,

Cobb Chairman Tim Lee’s new proposal to make the transportation sale tax referendum more palatable by reducing the amount ear marked for a rail line from Fulton County to Cobb by $300 million is nothing more than a shell game…a magic trick. The hand is faster than the eye!

So now he claims they can build the 13 mile rail line for $500 million? The truth is once this tax is approved there is nothing in the Transportation Investment Act that will enforce the project list. Once they have the money they can do what they want with it. They can shift the money at will. They can move cash from one county to another and there is nothing we can do about it. Continue reading

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10-year TSPLOST is such a beast.

Opinion from Cobb Resident:
Tim Lee is the Chairman of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners, but you would never know it by his bullheaded endorsement of the current 10-county Atlanta metro region Transportation SPLOST scheme. Lee needs to be reminded that he was elected by the people of Cobb County and that he works for them. He was not elected by the voters of Fulton, DeKalb, Douglas, Henry, Cherokee, Clayton, Fayette, Rockdale or Gwinnett. And he certainly was not elected by the voters of the City of Atlanta. So, why does our county chairman persist in his strange desire to give away more than $856 million, or 85 percent, of Cobb’s estimated $1 billion TSPLOST money to another county for light rail? Continue reading

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.)

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