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#Cambridge HS (GA) losing 27-0 late in 2nd Qtr

My new Gilltrans blog post on T-SPLOST: http://t.co/Z16PiDjM

Have been reading some good articles (a good sample one) in the AJC about what could be next after the defeat of the T-SPLOST vote in metro Atlanta.  The list of transportation will never end, the only question is what will get done and what will not.  I am certain there are projects that might have happened are now 10, 20 even 30 years out or totally out of the picture.

I am reminded of the ten years I lived in Huntsville, Alabama after I got married.  We bought an older home and we had a constant “punch list” of upgrades and fixes.  I finished the last one about 30 minutes before our Realtor put the sign in the yard, as we were moving to Atlanta for my new job.  Had we not moved, I would probably still be working on things, but that’s another story.

The T-SPLOST represented about 15% of what Metro Atlanta has on its “Honey Do” list or in this case, it is more accurately a “Honey DOT” list as in GDOT.  Without it, we may get 1 – 2% of our list addressed and likely toll roads which are not on the list but needed to fund anything really.  Gov. Deal says the GA 400 interchange with I-285 is the highest priority. Rail expansion is dead.  MARTA is in serious trouble. (No surprise, the Untie Atlanta commercial featured the sign for this interchange in front of the ball of asphalt and cars.)

It is now an opportunity for GDOT as well as all other state and local agencies to review their spending and address their highest priorities.  I hope there will be some creative and innovative solutions.

My childhood home “@TWCjerdman: 2nd time this summer that Russellville, AR has had a record 100+ streak. Current: 18 straight days”

“@UntieAtlanta: “@EastCobbPatch: There are conservatives who support the #TSPLOST Some are making their case…. http://t.co/8m8Y3iY2”

Just registered with Twellow, the Twitter yellow pages. View my profile here: http://t.co/7sajMrlb

Something important about #T SPLOST. Project list was best effort of local, region and technical experts and was bipartisan. No better list

My latest blog post on the Atlanta T-SPLOST http://t.co/kyMDqIqA (tsplost-atlanta-2-weeks-out-losing-momentum)

A few weeks ago it seemed that every poll had the Atlanta region T-SPLOST a reasonable chance of passing.  The commercial advantage on TV and radio and the Internet was formidable.

Something has happened….

Suddenly, the chance don’t look so good.  This was before powerful senator Chip Rogers changes his position and now opposes the bill.

As a conservative, a Reagan-conservative, it is not my first nature to support a tax increase.  On the other hand everyone (virtually) agrees that taxes cannot be zero.  There is some level of tax that is acceptable and some that is not.  There are some government expenditures worth taxing for and some that are not.

I am very sympathetic to the side that opposes the T-SPLOST – I know it is hard to trust politicians and the government (exhibit “A” – not removing the GA 400 tolls)…  I know we have enough taxes..I know there’s too much transit…I know some studies rate the expected improvement in congestion as minimal…I know some people have long commutes by choice to have cheaper housing and/or better public schools.

On the other hand, as I have alluded to in previous posts, if we don’t do the projects in the T-SPLOST, there will be another set of projects that may be even less tolerable – because they will tax the driver by use in the form of toll lanes or toll roads.  Honestly, toll roads are probably coming either way, but the T-SPLOST may delay them 10 years or so.

I do agree with the arguments form the business community about Atlanta’s image being tarnished (not extremely, however) if T-SPLOST fails.  We have a problem that is not going to be solved without money form somewhere.  There is no logical way to see how the current funding structure is going to support a 21st century transportation network in one of the top 10 metro arras in the United States.

What would I have done different.  This is just my opinion.  Actually, I have two:

(1) Go for a 0.5 cent tax and cut the projects in half.  Make the mix 2/3 roads and 1/3 transit.

(2) Had two bills  – one for roads and one for transit with virtually the same projects list.  Each 0.5 cents.

Either of these options would have made some unhappy, but the voters might support a smaller tax.   There is an even more unpopular option (3) – raise the gas tax or another unpopular one (4) – a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax.

Let’s get this straight, once again.  Whether you are for or against the tax – there is a problem, it will either get solved at some cost to someone, or, it will not be solved and cause a whole other set of problems.

Atlanta, it’s our time to choose.

 

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