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The Winners and Losers of TSPLOST

Gov. Deal has effectively killed the TSPLOST and put transportation's future in his hands.

The Losers

The very nice people at the Sierra Club who thought that facts, logic, and the needs of the people would win out. They bet that a less-than-perfect TSPLOST list could be improved. They lost.

The very nice people at the NAACP who thought that the underserved and overlooked would be better served by an improved TSPLOST. They lost.

The very nice people who felt that the parts of metro Atlanta that had carried a disproportionate amount of the transportation funding for decades should be shown some consideration and that an improved TSPLOST would create more fairness. They lost.

The angry T-people who initially thought that by working together with other groups, they could have some influence on transportation policy. They lost.

Instead of getting halfway to our destination, we are back to the starting line, and still backing up.

Gov. Deal has said that he will determine what projects will be selected. He will determine what projects are “needed” and which projects are just “wanted.” No input of the state legislature is wanted.

There will be no Plan B, no do-over. There will be no additional taxes. Gas taxes won’t be raised. Without additional funding, there won’t be any progress, not half progress, not partial progress. Existing gas taxes couldn’t fix existing potholes and improve existing roads. We are slowly backing up to the 1950s.

The Winners 

Imagine this phone call to Gov. Deal’s private/lobbyist-only cell phone: “Hello Nathan, this is Mitt Bane. I hear that you could use some money to improve Georgia’s transportation system. Our new transportation division would like to invest in Georgia’s roads. A public private partnership is the best way to go. We get Georgia and the federal government to guarantee a $100 million loan. Bane puts the first $30 million in our pockets and the next $70 million into a toll road, or HOT Lane, or whatever you folks want to call it.”

Gov. Deal likes the idea but asks, “What about opposition?”

CEO Bane says, “If the Governor's Mansion didn’t get burned down because the HOT Lane disaster in Gwinnett on I-85, you are immune from harm. You’ll get the credit for action and we’ll take the heat for the screw ups. The environmentalists won’t get their calls answered. Local groups will be ignored. The T-people won’t know what to do. Will they criticize free market capitalism? I don’t think so. Besides, we’re getting the Koch brothers to form a transportation partnership and they can take care of their own.”

Gov. Deal says, “That sounds great, but what if the plan falls apart and you go bankrupt?”

CEO Bane says, “Nathan, Nathan it’s not our money, except what we'll already have in our pockets. Georgia and the feds are backing the loan. We don’t get hurt. We don’t take the risk, just the profit. Nate, by the way, the Koch brothers want to buy MARTA and re-name it after their dad. Let’s talk about that on our next call.”

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Just A Grunt August 04, 2012 at 09:27 PM
It appears that those who voted against the TSPLOST wind up being the losers. There was a little publicized provision in the bill that punishes counties which voted against it. http://www.11alive.com/news/article/250758/1/Most-Georgia-counties-will-be-punished-for-voting-down-T-SPLOST "A little publicized clause in the law [48-8-244 (d)] requires counties in the 9 regions that said 'no' to pay 30% of the cost of future transportation projects. But it only requires the 3 regions that voted "yes" to pay 10%." In other words if GDOT goes ahead with a project we will pay 30% of the cost anyway. Anger doesn't begin to describe how I feel having found this out.
Jack Gleason August 05, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Greater than 75% voted NO...I can't imagine them really wanting that kind of REVOLT : ?
Bruce August 06, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and especially former Atlanta City Council member and failed Atlanta mayoral candidate Lisa Borders put the death grip on TSPLOST by angrily calling all TSPLOST opponents racists. Since Kasim and Lisa are black, do they think TSPLOST opponent State Senator Vincent Fort, a black man, is a racist? How about Dekalb County NAACP President John Evans, another black man, who opposed TSPLOST? The people have spoken. Get a life.
Dean Sheridan August 13, 2012 at 01:52 PM
@Mike Holzknecht : Clearly the TAX payer was the winner. Writing a piece like that makes you what? Keep in mind the ANNUAL 1/2 Billion dollar failed MARTA model and the fact that Fulton-Dekalb voted down their own TSPLOST weeks prior. They won't have that luxury any more. How are they going to pay for fixing that and the water-sewer problems they have without making "others" pay through the nose for their own mess. The real winners are the good people of Fulton-Dekalb. Now, they will pay attention to their elected officials and how they are spending their money. Maybe they will have second thoughts about spending tax money on a 50 million dollar albatross (not including maintenance) when City Councilmen propose Trolley cars from hell on failed bus routes due to ridership.next time. Kind of gives you goose bumps all over thinking about this learned moment.
Bruce November 06, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Have you heard there is a study of compensation that recommends the Atlanta City Council members get a raise. I think it would bring their salary for a part time job to over $120,000, which means their pensions would increase as well. The recommendation for the mayor was thousands more but I never heard the exact number. Does anyone know?

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