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T-SPLOST reasons shifting a lot lately

One simple reason not to vote for the T-SPLOST is the fact that paid lobbyist are desperately trying to dupe the public, including letters in The Citizen, on the benefits. T-SPLOST is supposed to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it takes an $8 million ad campaign and paid lobbyist to get the point across?

Every poll conducted in metro Atlanta shows T-SPLOST going down in defeat, that’s with Republicans and Democrats. This has truly tuned into a bipartisan effort to defeat special interest dishonesty.

AJC columnist Kyle Wingfield did an excellent job (“Taking a look at some T-SPLOST claims,” July 13, 2012) looking at the facts of T-SPLOST. Wingfield points out traffic “congestion adds relatively little to the average commute: up to 10 minutes of the hour a typical commuter spends in the car every day. Sheer distance between home and work accounts for the rest of the time.”

Wingfield concluded, “If congestion were to fall by 24 percent, then, the average commute would shrink by less than 2.5 minutes a day — only about a minute each way.”

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, that is $8 billion to save two minutes per day!

The referendum calls for spending $3.2 billion on mass transit projects that are only partially funded. The irony is we are not using 70 percent of the capacity of MARTA now.

MARTA’s General Manager Beverly Scott said, “We have a $6 billion investment operating at 30 percent of its design capacity,” (April 30, 2012,

Ridership is declining, debt stacking up in the billions of dollars and expanding mass transit is their answer to our problems. Stop this insanity in the voting booth on July 31, please.

The traffic relief claims have been so thoroughly disproven that the pro-T-SPLOST people swapped the “congestion relief” sales pitch to one of “economic stimulus program.”

The political action committees for the T-SPLOST forgot to file their disclosure form on the due date so that we can see the special interests funding behind it all. Those are the ones who get the T-SPLOST cash.

One of the news stations called me asking for a comment on Governor Deal doing away with Ga. Highway 400 tolls by the end of 2013, thinking it would help the T-SPLOST effort.

I replied that it simply proved our governor lied to us twice. When campaigning, he said he would remove the tolls and did not. He later said certain state obligations prevented him from removing the tolls. Last week he showed us he could, in fact, remove the tolls. That certainly does not restore my trust in government.

How would we pay for the billions of dollars, year over year, for operating and maintenance of an expanded transit system? Todd Long at GDOT, House Speaker David Ralston, Gov. Nathan Deal and Beverly Scott of MARTA have no idea how to pay those bills.

So they want us to run headlong into a system that does not relieve traffic congestion, will do little for the economy and there is no idea how we sustain the billions of dollars of mass transit costs.

Ladies and gentlemen, run as fast as you can to your polling place on July 31 and vote the T-SPLOST into extinction. Tell the special interest lobbyists to get the heck out of our transportation plans and force our government to develop a genuine plan that truly relieves traffic.

I recommend you look at and go to the “Untie Atlanta Regional Taxes” page on if you want to get the truth on T-SPLOST.

Steve Brown

Fayette Commissioner, Post 4

Transportation Leader Coalition member

Peachtree City, Ga.



Please note: This is NOT an endorsement of the transportation SPLOST, and I understand that conservatives in general –and the Tea Party in particular – consider most taxes anathema owing to profoundly ingrained distrust in the government’s ability to handle money efficiently.

That said, the moral outcry and thousands of words devoted to the indications and contraindications of this issue on The Citizen website seem colossally disproportionate to its potential impact on the pocketbooks of our residents in this, the 2nd richest (per capita) county in Georgia. Politifact estimates the tax to average about $132 a YEAR per resident. With a median household income in Fayette of $76,633, that means that you and your husband will be taxed an additional 0.34% of your annual income should the referendum pass. Many of us contribute $132 a MONTH for homeowners’ association dues for the “good” of our little neighborhoods.

So feel free to vote it up or down and stand on your pro- or anti-government principles, but don’t confuse this with anything resembling a budget breaker for Fayette residents. At most, it is a tiny nuisance.

There are many here who do not make that much. Even if we do, we would rather pay taxes directly in the coffers of Fayette that have them go into that big pot that will have no bottom. As much as we are tired of being taxed we are even more tired of our tax dollars being squandered. There are too many unanswered questions and/or too may pat answers that just seem too 'pie in the sky' for the majority of us.

That is quite understandable, mytmite. I assume that you will vote against the measure as is your right. My point is that this is not a great financial burden to many in our county, yet the rhetoric denotes cataclysmic consequences should the measure pass. I only ask for perspective instead of apocalyptic pronouncements about government take over of our lives.

Steve Brown's picture

The main problem is the we have a rotten project list. It was created by the special interest for the special interests.

efdrakejr's picture

More BS, Stevie. It was created by the county commission chairman and one mayor from each of the 10 counties plus the mayor of Atlanta to represent the particular needs of their communities and the region. Just because you hate our representatives on the committee, doesn't make it special interest.

Gene Drake

Woody's picture

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Woody's picture

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Woody's picture

What do county commissioners and mayors know about <strong>effective transportation solutions</strong>? They know politics and lack training or expertise in transit and highway planning. The wrong guys made the list. It would have been better if a professional study by engineers had been performed to determine the best ways to reduce commuting time rather than enhance politicians. <ul>The system was flawed from the beginning and the tax should be rejected</ul>.

efdrakejr's picture

Woody - The politicians weren't operating in a bubble. The ARC, GDOT and GRTA were there the whole way to provide guidance and direction.

Gene Drake

Woody's picture

I suspect that 90% of the politicians making the list didn't consult technical research, plus I don't trust any of those sources you listed to be qualified and objective. Otherwise, how is it, after ten years and billions and billions of dollars (as Carl Sagan would say), that commuting time is estimated to be reduced by a staggering(!) 2 - 3%? We couldn't have a worse return with monkees throwing darts at a list of proposals.

efdrakejr's picture

The meetings were open to the public (I attended them) so you don't have to suspect anything, you could just ask. ARC, GDOT and GRTA were in the meetings and engaged the whole time. However, if you just don't trust any function of government, then vote no.

Gene Drake

Woody's picture

Gene, other than people with vested interests, who has time to attend all open state and county meetings and then have a chance for questioning and input? You're living in a dream world if you think my presence would have influenced anything or that I would have been impressed with the process. I've been to meetings like that before.

I've actually seen hot dogs made, and that's clean compared to watching politicians divvying up $8 billion in pork.

You vote "yes" because you have a vested interest in looting the public. I'll vote "no," because it's an honest reaction for responsible transportation planning rather than what is offered. We'll keep our dollars for better uses.

Steve Brown's picture

You are cited who rubber stamped it, yes.

Look at all the entities benefiting from the TSPLOST forking out the big bucks to get the thing passed. Just saying.

Woody's picture

One issue overlooked in the arguments against T-SPLOST is opportunity cost to the county citizens. A penny sales tax for regional mass transit and roads is one less penny sales tax that can be be sold to and absorbed by taxpayers in the future to improve local schools, improve county roads, expand public safety, or, even, reduce property taxes! This transportation penny sales tax will block new sales taxes on local projects with greater returns for at least ten years. Vote "NO."

efdrakejr's picture

[quote Woody]A penny sales tax for regional mass transit and roads is one less penny sales tax that can be be sold to and absorbed by taxpayers in the future to improve local schools, improve county roads, expand public safety, or, even, reduce property taxes![/quote]

I won't speak to all of that but the TSPLOST will return the following funds for local transportation projects:

- Peachtree City - $10,462,000
- Fayetteville - $5,033,000
- Tyrone - $2,981,000
- Brooks - $543,000
- Woolsey - $105,000
- Unicorporated - $26,482,000

That's a lot of local road maintenance and expanded capacity.

Gene Drake

Woody's picture

<strong>Necessary projects, like the I-85 & GA 74 interchange were going to be done anyway!</strong> The rest is waste.

The T-SPLOST construction list reminds me of all the Obama stimulus projects up and down Fayette County -- handicapped cross-walks with painted lines, signs with countdowns, ramps, etc. at every intersection, even though most of those intersections had absolutely no pedestrian access. They are crosswalks to nowhere!

How can I be excited about a transportation list that includes a very expensive Atlanta Beltline walking trail to nowhere? That's really going to cut down on traffic congestions. (Sarcasm)

efdrakejr's picture

I recommend you call State Planning Director Toby Carr, ask him when the 74/85 interchange is planned if the TSPLOST fails and report back to us. I assure you it isn't any time soon.

Gene Drake

Woody's picture

I suggest that it will be *at least* eight years before the 74/85 interchange is completed with T-SPLOST. There is not going to be one -- not one -- project done under budget and on time if this thing passes. I have more faith in Obamacare cost projections than I do with these prepared by politicians and their cronies.

Like the old Goldwater theme -- "Deep in your heart, you know I'm right."

efdrakejr's picture

I get your position Woody. Government bad, bad, bad. But for those that realize transportation infrastructure is a legitimate function of government and that legitimate functions of government have to be paid for, here's a factual counter to Woody's opinion that all projects will be late and over budget. It is a National Cooperative Highway Research Program study that shows for the last decade, GDOT has been number one in the nation at delivering projects under budget and number two in the nation at delivering them on time.

Consider facts over emotion and vote YES for transportation.

Gene Drake

G35 Dude's picture

[quote]I recommend you call State Planning Director Toby Carr, ask him when the 74/85 interchange is planned if the TSPLOST fails and report back to us. I assure you it isn't any time soon.[/quote]

Under TSPLOST plans this project would not be started until the 2016-2019 time-frame. You're saying that if we don't approve this bill it'll take even longer? LOL I'd better go see if I can change my vote to Yes!!! (sarcasm off)

Steve Brown's picture

You lobbyist keep trying ...

The voters are learning the real facts ...

Robert W. Morgan's picture

I thought I had heard every convoluted justification for and against TSPLOST, but this one is pretty original - basically Woody is saying by voting the transportation tax down we are reserving the taxpayers capacity to absorb that one cent tax for something more noble - one of which is to improve local schools. I think that means a bailout for the school system because the BOE mismanaged their way into the deep waters of excessive staffing and excessive spending..

Whew! Well I have already voted against the TSPLOST and I sure hope others do as well, but any thought that the taxpayers of this county will vote themselves another one cent tax to bail out the school board is fanciful at best. They might vote to drown the school board, but a bailout? Never.

Now, Woody's other idea is a sales tax that reduces property taxes. I like that a lot. That should be explored because we have a couple of shopping magnets and employment centers that draw people from the adjacent counties and they spend money when they are here. And we would get it all - no redistribution through the sticky fingers of ARC or DOT - 100% comes to Fayette County. Then the redistribution is to property owners - even bypassing the free-spending Fayette County Commission. I'd have to see the math, but that seems more logical than anything I have heard all year.

Live free or die!

suggarfoot's picture

"They might vote to drown the school board, but a bailout? Never."

Robert, I think you are right, about two of them anyway. ha ha

Woody's picture

If you're at the point where you'll be retired within ten years, then vote "no" on the T-SPLOST. By the time they get the projects going, you'll be retired rather than commuting.

Don’t you remember all the lane closures and barrels from past “improvements” to I-285, which was originally built with two lanes in each direction and later widened? Don’t you remember the road construction mess around the airport, which lasted for years?

The first immediate result from a Yes vote will be the tax and increased cost-of-living. The second result will be, for many years, lane closures, construction barrels, and more traffic congestion and delays, not less. The final result, much later, will be a slight improvement in traffic, but at a disproportionately high cost, and meanwhile a lot of changes will have taken place in our population size, where people live, where they work, and how they work, with possibly a large increase in tele-commuting and much less need “to go downtown.” (Look at how much less we depend on the postal service, with email, and bill-paying through the internet. Most sports events now come to us through television, and we hardly need to go to them. Here in Fayette County we now have our own hospital and no longer need to go to Atlanta for medical services. Times are a-changing.)

I have lived in this town over 20 years, we are not going to ever see anything that make a difference in traffic. This is just another attempt to rifle thru your pockets. Funny, the don't call it a tax, it's a transportation initiative? If you buy a new car and shell out another 300 dollars, will you still say, it's just a penny? Marta fails, need to pump more cash into it, let's get Fayette, Coweta and all the other non Marta counties to funnel their money into our failed system. It's a scam people.

Mike Lukovich in the AJC this morning nailed many of the opponents of T-SPLOST who just say no to everything and always will.


meanoldconservatives's picture

Mike Lukovich and Cynthia Tucker both continue to save me $220 per year. I never got around to thanking them publicly, until now.

a 105 Driver?

Cyclist's picture

A "Thud" driver on this board. What are the odds???

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Odds would be pretty high--as you can see, he wasn't--just a fan. Considering my background,I liked the Wild Weasel version! 105D also great on low-level penetration & bomb delivery, but they lost a lot of them! Personally, I preferred to watch an AC-130 work out!

Cyclist's picture

The last "Thud" I seen was at the Wright Patterson museum.

Come to think of it, one of the aircraft types that I used to own is on display at the Pima Air Museum:

You know that you're getting old when stuff you used to own is a museums piece someplace!!!!!

We need to start thinking about another coffee get together.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

10-4--maybe sometime after the election, we can meet and celebrate or drown sorrows!

invite EFDrake?? Although he will probably want something stronger than coffee after the election or, Saints Forfend, maybe we would be the ones needing something stronger if Elfie wins out in the election. But then, he would be too busy counting out all that money he will be getting with all those roads being built--he could then afford to buy his own ocean rather than having to sit on a measly little dock by a measly little lake.

efdrakejr's picture

Willing to bury the hatchet in victory or defeat.

Gene Drake

NUK_1's picture

Looks like we'll be meeting at Krystal then because I don't think the TSPLOST will win. If it does, you got to come off the hip with some of that concrete money and we'll go to Pascal's or Broadway Diner :)

efdrakejr's picture

Who knows, if by some chance this does pass, I may at least be willing to splurge on some adult refreshments.

Gene Drake

can't make one last impassioned plea trying to win us over to the dark side? Or are you busy cashing a big check to pay for those delicious adult refreshments you will owe us? Can't wait......

Gene, it's

Douglas S. Stuart
Peachtree Neurological Clinic
3200 Downwood Circle, NW, Suite 550


May or may not be taking new patients--he didn't tell me. I'm an 'old' patient! Hope it works out for you.


efdrakejr's picture

It was a pleasure to meet you this morning.

Gene Drake

After all the grief he has given us on this site I think the least he can do is reach in those deep pockets regardless of the winner---because after all--isn't he always a winner? (think he'll fall for that?) Either Pascal's or Broadway Diner sounds good to me.

Hey, Elfie, look at all the people you will meet there who will think you are such a great guy that you may be able to make some converts for the next T-SPLOST.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Next to Pascal's

Live free or die!

C'mon--you know we have never attempted to limit attendance--period!

need to consider where we will meet--after all he does have the big bucks--lol

efdrakejr's picture

become "regardless of outcome"? Are you distorting my position again?!?

Gene Drake

our turn. Besides, you are the good sport, we are the poor lil residents of PTC who can only afford coffee--you are Mr. Big Bucks, so it won't hurt you to splurge this once.

No, not a pilot but a fan of the plane.
I did however work for this hometown airline. Got the lyrics confused from AC/DC, Dirty deeds and their done dirt cheap. Thought they were singing Dirty Deeds and the Thunderchief. People laughed and started calling me Thunderchief. Pun was not related to the aircraft 105 but at my error.

Dondol's picture

Three votes cast last week in my household voted NO!
Marta's been in business since 1971 and still losing money, Pour management plain and simple, and I'm not willing help them!

kcchiefandy's picture

...and reports I've seen are predicting 35% 'Yes' and 55% 'No'. People are just tired of taxes at this time, I believe.

S. Lindsey's picture

You know the one where oh doom this is a citizens vote to vote NO to Tolls and Gas taxes and VOTE YES for well... a TAX.

Of course they don't call it that but....

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand


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