Wednesday, August 1, 2012

T-SPLOST defeated

The T-SPLOST vote was defeated across all ten counties that voted on it. In DeKalb, the vote was 52% against and 48% in favor. The vote sought a 1% sales tax over 10 years to focus on transportation projects around the metro Atlanta area. Detractors argued it didn't sufficiently address their given concerns (traffic vs. transit), that certain regions were underserved, and questioned if a 1% tax is the best way to address local transportation problems.

A team of AJC reporters sums up both the election's results and behind-the-scenes tensions leading to the T-SPLOST vote:
"Kasim Reed, who fought years for the referendum as a legislator and as Atlanta mayor, rallied supporters gathered at a hotel in downtown Atlanta. "The voters have decided," Reed said. "But tomorrow I'm going to wake up and work just as hard to change their minds." 
Gov. Nathan Deal's office told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he would now take a central role in transportation planning for the state's metro areas, and he would not support a sequel to Tuesday's referendum. . . ."
"Re-playing 40 years of Atlanta history, controversy built instantly around the proposed expansion of mass transit. Some loved it, some hated it. ... Deeper insecurities were at play as well. A poll conducted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last year found that 42 percent of respondents believed new mass transit brings crime." Continue reading @ AJC.
Jim Galloway at the AJC reports on what the Governor's above comment means:
"... traffic planners in regions across the state will be quickly asked to resubmit lists of road and rail proposals that require state and federal funding – figuring in an 8 percent decrease in federal funding. The governor has veto power over each list."
"The governor will not move forward without the consent GDOT,” Riley said – very carefully. Deal will court approval from the DOT board, but he intends to keep the initiative. The governor recently appointed a trusted aide, Toby Carr, as the DOT’s planning director, giving him another layer of control over what transportation projects are funded. 
So the Atlanta Regional Commission will soon have to clear its wish lists with the governor. ARC Chairman Tad Leithead said he’ll be happy to do so. “I think the entire state would welcome anything the governor does to keep transportation moving,” he said."