What do you really get for $8.5 billion?

Passing the July 31st transportation referendum brings only one certainty: 10 years of increased sales taxes on products and services, including food.

What you get for that $8.5 billion depends on whom you talk to.

Proponents, including the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, speak fervently, but vaguely, about hope and change for congestion relief and a long list of associated benefits like jobs, quality of life, prosperity, and just about any other favorable outcome they can tie to the vote.

Proponents are noticeably silent, though, about how little impact our 10 years’ worth of taxes and projects will actually have on congestion relief. That’s particularly unsettling, because that’s the purpose of the law and its associated tax. Of course, it’s also the one absolute prerequisite necessary to realize all the other benefits.

Proponents say that spending billions will automatically have a direct and significant impact on your commute, but they never provide even a cursory regional traffic analysis that concludes as much.

At a debate in Cherokee County, one citizen asked the government’s Research Division chief, “... after spending $8.5 billion, which way is that commute time going, and by how much?” The chief responded, “The average commute time really doesn’t change a lot.”

The government did estimate congestion relief for 63 projects, and the greatest relief was 64.5 percent, for the Ga. Highway 74/I-85 intersection. If one of our many airport workers’ afternoon commute took them back to Peachtree City’s athletic fields to see their kid score the winning goal, it would break down like this:

• 18 minutes from the airport to PTC exit, with or without the tax.

• About 6 minutes to get through the intersection without the tax, and 65 percent of that, or 4 minutes, with the improvement from the tax.

• 22 minutes from the exit to the athletic field, with or without the tax.

Total commute times are 46 minutes before 10 years of taxes, and 44 minutes afterwards, a difference of about two minutes, or less than 5 percent. And this example uses the project with the greatest estimated congestion relief.

Also, proponents seldom discuss the 52 percent of regional project money earmarked for buses and trains, and avoid like the plague government’s estimates that those projects will collectively carry less than 2 percent of regional commuters by 2025.

Proponents don’t explain that existing transit is subsidized 80 percent by non-users and no proponent has said, or even suggested, that planned projects won’t bleed the same amount of red ink.

Fortunately, there’s no such transit on our county project list, but if you approve the tax, you and every other regional taxpayer share the financial fallout from transit chosen by the other counties. Under regionalism, their choices matter.

Oddly, Fayette’s Chamber of Commerce cites that as an example of “home rule” — how each county can manage its financial future — when it’s just the opposite.

Another violation of our constitutional home rule principle is that everyone in Fayette County could vote against the tax, and still have to pay it for 10 years if a majority of regional voters approve it.

Bob Ross

Peachtree City, Ga.

Citizen Bob
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Edit...

In the example in the article, a 65% congestion reduction would reduce the normal 6 minute travel time through the exit from an estimated 6 minutes now, to 2.1 minutes after improvements, and the overall travel time from 46 minutes to 42.1 minutes (8% overall route difference).

Peter Pfeifer
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Fiscal Conservatives indeed

I guess you're moving on to another topic since you can't/don't/won't have answers to the past ones.
In any case, the fiscal conservatives I know don't support "waste as you go" which is what this TSPLOST/TIA is.

Peter Pfeifer
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Mr. Drake does mislead

Mr. Drake;

I said before, I don't really care what you do for a living, what's important to me is if are you right or wrong.
I do care if you attempt to mislead, and you do.
1.) Please see today's AJC (online). In an article that describes the efforts of Local 732 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, it says, “MARTA announced Wednesday that it joined with “non-partisan” volunteers (why didn't they also put “volunteers” in quotes?) … that would bring MARTA $600 million ...” You've pretended that there isn't any money for MARTA.
2.) I've also seen and heard you say that we wouldn't be paying for transit because Fulton and Dekalb taxpayers would be paying. The projections are for Sales Tax collections within a specific county, are they not? So, if I or other Fayette County residents go to Clayton or Fulton or Dekalb or any other county using the TSPLOST tax collection and I purchase anything, I will be paying that tax, won't I?
3.) You claim that you are “not a lobbyist”. You head up an organization who's Objective is “To counsel, advise and render assistance in the planning and design of transportation facilities and other public installations by targeting government agencies, airports … My are not a “lobbyist” in the same way that a the manager of a McDonalds doesn't sell hamburgers because he doesn't wait on customers. Say hello to Dan for me, if he remembers me.

ginga1414
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Drake Is The Only One Crawling

Since you have informed us all that you are not a lobbyist, I suppose your job is to merely assist Mr. Lee in his lobbying efforts!

Do you get paid for your endeavors here, or do you just insult folks out of the goodness of your heart?

Now, Mr. Drake, since you have declared me off your communication list, I'm sure I won't have to deal with one of your snide replies

efdrakejr
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Just Crawl Out From Under a Rock??

1) I don't know if you just crawled out from under a rock but I think you can scour these pages and will NEVER find where I said there was no money for MARTA. In fact, I routinely post a link to the project list where all can see that MARTA has several projects. I have said that we picked projects that were important to us and Fulton and DeKalb picked projects that were important to them, including MARTA.

2) You are right, projections are for sales tax collections within a county so if you spend money in a county that has a transit project then I guess you could make the argument that you are contributing to transit. However, you could also make the argument that you are contributing to the improvements to the 74/85 interchange, GA54 widening and all the other road and bridge projects that are outside of our county but are still a benefit to us. It's one big pot of money so if it helps your feeling of being put upon then you can consider your money going to transit. Most reasonable people are happy about the other improvements I mentioned.

3) I'm really not sure what your point is on item 3. You want to insinuate that I am a lobbyist and then try to impress, I guess, by dropping the name of our lobbyist. Dan Lee is our lobbyist and I have said on here several times that I am not one but that we have one. Good for you for knowing his name. By the way, here is a link to the lobbyist search for Georgia. You will not find my name.

http://media.ethics.ga.gov/search/Lobbyist/Lobbyist_ByName.aspx

Peter Pfeifer
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Down boy, I didn’t know it was your rock.

Gee Mr. Drake, with your pleasant demeanor I recommend that you check to see if you and Steve were separated at birth.What you have said is that if TSPLOST passes and we are paying the Sales Tax, our money isn’t going to MARTA. Since MARTA is in line to receive a large portion of the tax, and since “it’s one big pot of money” (your words), then the money I pay in- here or in another county, is going into that big pot and MARTA would get $600 million dollars of it.Your continual attempts to disguise that fact don’t change it.And, I’m not trying to insinuate anything Mr. Drake. One of your listed “objectives” is lobbying. As for Mr. Lee, I was simply being friendly but as a Steve act-alike, I guess you wouldn’t look at it that way. I’ll try to remember not to do that again.

ginga1414
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"Projections" and "Targeting"

Gene, as I've said many times before, I'm just not into "projections."

Following "projections" is exactly what got this country into the economic mess that exists today.

"Projections" don't always turn out the way we thought they would. Right now, the economy is walking a very thin tight rope. It could fall one way or the other. This is not the time to gamble.

Now, when you talk about "targeting governmental agencies," that is nothing more than "targeting" the people of this county, region, state and country. A whole lot of people are barely keeping their heads above water. Others are sinking, as we speak.

If you would just answer a few questions for me, I would be very grateful.

1. How long do you predict it will take before the region will be able to benefit from the T-SPLOST?

2. If the "projections" don't go the way they have been predicted, and at the end of 10 years we are left with partially funded or partially completed projects; what happens then?

3. If MARTA isn't able to sustain the projects they want funded; what happens then?

efdrakejr
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Answers

1) Go to the attached link and you will see all the projects. It's kind of a jumble with 157 projects so I will tell you that the 74/85 interchange is scheduled for Band 2 which means it will be completed in the 2016-2019 range. Now if you filter the list to just Fayette, it is a little more manageable and you will see that some of our projects are in Band 1, which is 2013-2015, and the rest are in Band 2. So, I guess the simple answer is that I expect the region to see the benefit within the next 10 years but Fayette to see a more immediate benefit.

http://transformmetroatlanta.com/regional-projects/

2) The law is set up to essentially match project scope to actual revenue. For instance, if you went to the GDOT Open House for the 74/85 interchange project, you should have seen two options for the improvement design. One was more expensive and could probably handle traffic for 50 years. The less expensive one may have to be upgraded again in 30 years. They have planned for the expensive one but if revenues are coming in short, they will opt for the less expensive.

3) I can't say for sure what MARTA will do but I do know that MARTA was completed in 1975 and, while ridership doesn't cover their cost and it has to be subsidized, it has always been subsidized by Fulton and DeKalb, where it resides, and not by Fayette. I understand folks' concern about MARTA but this law doesn't change that dynamic. It is a regional tax and some of that money will go towards maintenance and improvements for MARTA but it doesn't add us to the tax that Fulton and DeKalb have paid for 37 years.

I hope this helps.

Gene

efdrakejr
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Peter - I'll Type Slowly...

...so you and Ginga can keep up. This is what I have said. Fayette County is projected to pay in $190.2 million over the 10 years of the tax. We get back $173.5 million in Fayette County projects plus we get significant benefit from the $22.5 million project to improve the 74/85 interchange and the $40.2 million project to widen GA54 in Fayette and Clayton (actually credited to Clayton under TIA). Clearly, we are getting back more than the $190.2 million we are paying in with these road and bridge projects so unless you defy the laws of mathematics, there is none of our money left to go to MARTA. However, as I have also said, it is one big pot so if it helps you feel like a victim to think your portion is going to MARTA, more power to you.

As for our objectives listing lobbying, you know that's not what they say and you are just being dishonest. As you know, here is what they really say:

Quote:

To counsel, advise and render assistance in the planning and design of transportation facilities and other public installations by targeting governmental agencies, airports, military air bases, terminal ports, and private industry.

I'm sure you'll jump on that by saying that targeting governmental agencies is lobbying. However, you may have noticed from your distinguished service on the county commission that it is typically government that purchases roads and bridges so we, and every infrastructure group, have to target government to sell our product.

Peter Pfeifer
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Typing ssssllllllooooowwwwlllleeeeyyyy

So, do you prefer that I address you as Ed Brown or Steve Drake?

It is too bad that the smart people such as yourself have to type slowly so us dumb people can try to keep up with you.

I guess that I would “jump on that by saying targeting government agencies is lobbying.” I would say so because that’s exactly what lobbying is and your dodge is typical of the word games you play with every facet of this discussion.

How “dishonest” of me to point that out.And let me attempt to understand more of your logic. If you say “it’s all one big pot of money”, and I agree with you, that “helps me feel like a victim”? … No, I tried to understand it and I just don’t get that either. Too dumb I guess.

Your list of projects that we “get back” or “benefit from” is a little short isn’t it? In your eyes, wouldn’t I get a “benefit” from a project in Dekalb County or Cobb County if I go there? However, as Bob Ross has so ably proved, so what. There isn’t enough “traffic” benefit to justify this proposal. Our “get back/benefit” list also assumes that we’ll get all the projects on the list which us stupid people think we will not.

We will, however, create another bureaucratic mouth to feed.

How about the Legislature comes up with a real plan to address traffic in Atlanta? How about their plan actually accomplishes something? I think there would be plenty of concrete needed to do something that works. Don’t you? Is that concept too simple?

I think that most of us stupid people are tired of government wasting our tax dollars at the request of the smart recipients of those tax dollars.

tgarlock
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Well said Mr Pfeifer

more later

Terry Garlock

ginga1414
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Government Purchases Roads and Bridges?

Gene, I have to disagree with your statement that "it is typically government that purchases roads and bridges so we, and every infrastructure group, have to target government to sell our product."

I'm sorry, but that is not a true statement.

We the people are the ones who have to pay for the roads, bridges, and everything else.

You said, "we, and every infrastructure group, have to target government to sell our product."

Let's be perfectly clear, here. You might be targeting and selling your product to governmental representatives, but it is we the people who are paying for your product.

Therefore, you are "targeting" your fellow citizens.

Dondol
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Mr. Drake

The plain and simple truth is that you would not be spending this much time and effort if your were not gaining personally out of this. I've lived here my whole life and there's no way I would spend the time that you have. So that tells me you have a couple of Dogs in this Hunt! By the way, I have yet spoken to anyone that is voting yes, even my Democratic friends say no way!

pips1414
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What about ten years down the road?

Big, publicly funded projects like this have a way of running way over budget, and not getting finished on schedule. Who's going to pay for the completion of all the partially funded projects if the TSPLOST passes once the ten years are up? I haven't heard Mr. Drake or anyone else make a statement that the 1% tax is sure to end in ten years.

The only benefit to Fayette County I see is the I-85/Ga. 74 interchange, which is in Fulton County. We should not be having to pay for improvements outside our own county. Coweta County also contributes to the I-85/74 traffic, but they won't pay a dime because they had the good sense not to get involved with the ARC. Fayette County paying for a Fulton County interchange is like saying Coweta County should pay for Ga. 54 improvements in PTC because it creates traffic in PTC. And look at the traffic coming in from Forsyth, Bartow, Hall, and other non-TSPLOST counties. They all qualify as Atlanta-metro counties in terms of commuting, but don't have to deal with the ARC and the TSPLOST, and they get a free ride through Atlanta.

This regional TSPLOST is the work of the ARC and the last regime of commissioners. Former Commission Chairman Jack Smith got a high award from the ARC at the same time he lost his bid for reelection. The 2004 Fayette SPLOST was such a disaster with its West Fayetteville Bypass that the 2009 SPLOST was defeated 75% against it to only 25% for it. SPLOST failed in Fayette County, so the Jack Smith quintet of commissioners now support it regionally. After Chairman Smith's reelection defeat, his replacement, Commission Chariman Herb Frady and former Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele became the new TIA/TSPLOST Roundtable representatives from Fayette County.Mr. Frady is now retiring, and Mr. Steele lost his bid for reelection.

At the Commissioner Candidates Debate, Mr. Smith and the holdover commissioners running for reelection would not say how they will vote on the TSPLOST when other candidates did. They claimed that they have not decided. To me, this implies that they are calling those of us who are now publicly against the TSPLOST stupid.Yet, they will not stand up in support of the TSPLOST like Mr. Ross does against it.

Last, but by no means least, the TSPLOST debate, in Fayetteville on June 5th of this year which included members of the ARC, Mr. Ross, and Fayette Commissioner Steve Brown, played to a near capacity crowd. Over 90% of the attendees raised their hands against TSPLOST at the end of the program.

Citizen Bob
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Mr. Drake; the more relevant comparison...

...is how much traffic relief we COULD be getting for $8.5b, with what we WILL be getting for that much with the current T-SPLOST: 157 projects that provide only a little congestion relief + a very healthy dose of economic development projects for Atlanta.
A responsible list from politicians could also avoid earmarking $931,000,000 for projects that won't take any vehicles off the roads (new terrazzo floors for the airport MARTA station, MARTA lighting, ventilators, and escalators, a commuter train study, etc).

efdrakejr
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I think we've probably...

...been down this road before. You and I agree that if we were making the list, there would be less transit and more road projects. However, as is typical in a representative form of government, one person didn't get to make the list. It takes cooperation and even a little compromise which the Tea Party seems completely unwilling to do. Nonetheless, from this yearlong process of cooperation and compromise, Fayette County gets an outstanding return on our investment and Fulton and DeKalb get, among other things, the repairs to MARTA that are important to them. I really don't mean to insult you but you sound like a Democrat when you keep insisting that you not only know what is best for your county but for every other county as well. If you are so big into home rule as you assert, then let the other counties decide on their projects.

As for your assertion that the bill was designed for congestion relief only and not economic development, please see the bill. On page 20 of the bill (pg 21 of attachment), you will see the following.

Quote:

Examples of specific public benefits include, but are not limited to, congestion mitigation, increased lane capacity, public safety, and economic development.

http://www.dot.state.ga.us/localgovernment/FundingPrograms/transreferend...

Citizen Bob
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I've consistently stated...

... that Fayette gets a good dollar-for-dollar return on TIA taxes paid. Absent the TIA, we may not have chosen to tax ourselves for ten years for the projects on the final list, but that's not the issue up for debate.
When counties make expensive choices that have historically fared very poorly economically, I side with you- if their citizens choose to subsidize those choices, they're entitled to do so.
Passage of the referendum, however, dramatically changes the game. Fayette would no longer be an independent county for such taxation, but a very small fish in a big newly created pond- the Metro Atlanta Region. A regional majority decision may easily have consequences that we have no choice but to accept, since Fayette has only about 4% of the regions' voters (using 2008 general election results). Sure, we'll benefit from some good decisions, but the magnitude of the economic liabilities are huge: MARTA's building a $2.9b unfunded maintenance liability this decade alone, and is routinely incurring $500m annual operating losses. That is not sustainable. Declining ridership exacerbates the problem and none of the proponents have answers. Yet, a couple of regional counties have chosen to double down on such projects.
I'm well aware of the examples in the legislation (which was a required inclusion with the Draft Investment List), but most proponents are selling the TIA as a means to "untie the traffic knot", and government reports show that our money makes very little headway on that front. In 10 years, when regional commuters see "not that much" difference in their drive times, government and proponents will have lost much more credibility than they already have with the broken promises of GA 400 toll booths.

ginga1414
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This Is Absolutely Ridiculous

We spend 8.5 billion to save 2 minutes here and maybe 2 minutes there?

That is absolutely ridiculous!

And the Fayette Chamber of Commerce thinks that "each county can manage its financial future?"

That is beyond hysterical!

PLEASE check out the following link and CLICK on the "Like" button.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DoirHD2hu0

efdrakejr
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Your Comparison is Ridiculous

You are comparing the total amount paid over the entire 10 years of the tax by all 4 million people in the 10 county area to what one person saves on one trip on one day. That may be the dictionary definition of ridiculous or, at a minimum, misleading.

Let's compare apples to apples. That $8.5 billion divided over 4 million people is actually $2125 per person over 10 years which, for simplicity's sake, is $212.50 per person per year. Bob's hypothetical airport employee likely works about 250 days per year and he goes back and forth through the 74/85 interchange on his way to and from work so that's actually 500 times that he gets to enjoy the improvements afforded him by the TSPLOST. Dividing said employee's contribution of $212.50 per year by 500 trips through the interchange yields a cost of 42.5 cents per trip.

Voters may still decide that 42.5 cents is too much to pay to improve their trip to and from work but let's at least deal in apples to apples comparisons.

PTC Observer
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Mr. Drake

Where has the government been successful long term in getting our traffic problems solved? Temporary at best, but long term solutions......well you can't sell enough concrete to solve our long term problems...can you Mr. Drake? In fact, you can't sell enough concrete ever.

So, to put it simply so you can understand....the long term objective with your proposal is not to solve problems with traffic, the objective is to create even more traffic, so long term you can sell more tax increases to voters, to increase the use of concrete.

We're not buying it Mr. Drake. Spreading the pain of paying taxes is the problem, not the solution. People should pay directly for what they use, including roads. When this happens we will begin to solve problems with traffic, urban sprawl, energy consumption and a host of other problems associated with the current taxing scheme. Oh yes, you could still sell your concrete but not as much.

ginga1414
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Whether Defined As Coercion, Intimidation, or Incentive

Whether one wants to define the terminology used within the Transportation Investment Act (Regional T-SPLOST) as coercion, intimidation, or incentive, it all means the same thing, and that is "abuse of power."

When the terminology prompts more than 400 businesses to commit their employees to vote a certain way, that is "abuse of power."

It is "abuse of power" when a boss puts an arm around an employee's shoulder and urges them to do the "right thing."

When Regional and State Government instigate and pass a Bill that penalizes a segment of the population if they don't vote in favor of a T-SPLOST, that is "abuse of power!"

If the Regional T-SPLOST were a reasonable, equitable proposal with factual documentation that it would achieve what was being proposed, we wouldn't have governments, lobbyists, employers, and Chambers of Commerce strong arming taxpayers to fork over $8.5 billion.

renault314
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efdrakejr - arent you sick and tired

of the government, at all levels, constantly turning their pockets out and claiming poverty? Claiming that they can solve all our problems if we'd only just give them a little more money? EIGHT AND A HALF BILLION DOLLARS being the "little" amount in this case. When does it end? How much in taxes is enough? Politicians always say these things are temporary, but when the time is up, somehow they just can't get along without it, can they? And magically it gets voted on to be renewed or continued and since everyone is used to it, no one complains much. Like the 400 toll booths? How long has that road been paid for already? But still they are there, gobbling your quarters like hungry hungry hippos. And the DOT rep had the nerve to say that if they took the booths down, more people would use the road and congestion would be worse?!?! Yeah, right. Thats why they left the booths up, to reduce congestion.
When was the last time you heard the state reduce taxes? Or a state agency voluntarily reducing their budget and say "Y'know, thats just too much, we dont need that." Dude, everything you say about why we should pass this might be on point, but you are fooling yourself if you think this tax is ever going to go away once approved. That, I think, is what everyone else instinctively undrstands about this that you don't seem to get.

NUK_1
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Some MARTA riders think TSPLOST is a fail too

http://www.ajc.com/news/marta-riders-wary-of-1466107.html

I'd like to see a flat-out rejection all across the board and I think it's possible. Of course, I also thought Obamacare's individual mandate would die in the SC, but it was upheld 6-3, so my crystal ball is pretty defective.

efdrakejr
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I Am Not Surprised

The Sierra Club came out against it weeks ago because it doesn't have enough transit. The Tea Party is against it because it has too much transit. Kind of gives you an idea how difficult it is to put together a transportation project list that doesn't have part of the people upset no matter what you do.

efdrakejr
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Reimposition of the Tax

Please see page 24 of the bill in the link below. Reimposition of the tax requires the following:
1. A majority of the counties in the region to agree on continuation.
2. A new project list.
3. A vote of the people to renew it.

The legislature understands that the people don't trust them so they built these safeguards into the bill. Now you may say that they'll just raise our taxes some other way if we don't vote to tax ourselves but, as I stated in my editorial a week ago, they have not raised the state excise tax on fuel (which funds transportation) since 1971 so I don't think history supports that position.

http://www.dot.state.ga.us/localgovernment/FundingPrograms/transreferend...

Spyglass
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As lone as the toll booths are in place on 400

no way I'm trusting the State on much of anything regarding "dropping" of taxes or fees.

S. Lindsey
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Gas tax is a stealth tax efdrakejr

Using the Gas tax as an analogy is a non-starter... Every time the price of gas goes up everyone yells. So should they decide to raise taxes on fuels it would immediately be met with howls of protest.

efdrakejr wrote:

...been down this road before. You and I agree that if we were making the list, there would be less transit and more road projects. However, as is typical in a representative form of government, one person didn't get to make the list. It takes cooperation and even a little compromise which the Tea Party seems completely unwilling to do.

Compromise...come on give up a little it won't hurt.... much. You know I am a little sick and tired of being told to "Compromise" on this and that. Compromise my principles, compromise my beliefs, compromise on taxes...

NO not anymore. Compromise get's us Billion dollar programs to educate Africans on how to wash their genitals.

Compromise get's us billion dollar studies on can a shrimp run on a treadmill or why pig crap stinks.

Compromise get's us a President that usurps the Constitution and puts his beliefs before the rule of Law.

No Sir, I won't compromise anymore.

efdrakejr wrote:

I really don't mean to insult you but you sound like a Democrat when you keep insisting that you not only know what is best for your county but for every other county as well.

But Sir, isn't that what the "Committee" did? Did they create a referendum for those of us that live here to submit ideas of what we need? If the citizens of Fayette County decide we don't want to be taxed for projects in Atlanta do we get to opt out or did they decide they knew what was best for all of us?

efdrakejr wrote:

Nonetheless, from this yearlong process of cooperation and compromise, Fayette County gets an outstanding return on our investment and Fulton and DeKalb get, among other things, the repairs to MARTA that are important to them.

If Fulton County wants to repair the Marta Station then tax the residents of Fulton County and the riders of Marta. This is just another re-distribution of wealth scam. Most of the projected funds are to be spent in Fulton County why? If I am being taxed the proportional amount of tax that is provided should be spent by the County it was seized from but we are spreading the wealth aren't we.

efdrakejr wrote:

If you are so big into home rule as you assert, then let the other counties decide on their projects.

Exactly let them decide and PAY FOR IT.

efdrakejr wrote:

As for your assertion that the bill was designed for congestion relief only and not economic development, please see the bill. On page 20 of the bill (pg 21 of attachment), you will see the following.

Quote:

Examples of specific public benefits include, but are not limited to, congestion mitigation, increased lane capacity, public safety, and economic development.

Economic Development as defined by WHO? What are the developments? Where are the developments? Or is this one of those "Shovel Ready" programs that really wasn't shovel ready?

Splost are those little stealthy creatures that scurry around at night like a cockroach. You might think they are gone but they never really leave.

I am voting a resounding NO. I like many others are tired being Nickle and Dimed by Politicians wanting to move pet projects.

When you can show me there are no more cuts to be made then come to me with your hand out and maybe we will talk.

efdrakejr
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Lindsey

So you don't want a sales tax and you think the gas tax is a stealth tax and is a non-starter. How do you propose we pay for road expansion and maintenance? Would you prefer a Vehicle Miles Traveled tax where the government has a GPS on your vehicle and they charge you for your actual miles traveled? Most people do not care for that level of government intrusion. How about a toll on every road? It would be a little tough on traffic if you had stop and pay before you turned on each road but it would be a user pays system. Once again though, I don't think too many people would favor that.

I understand your concern about healthy shrimp and clean African genitals so I went back and checked the project list and you will be glad to know there are no such projects on the list. If you are uncertain, you can review the list for yourself, http://transformmetroatlanta.com/regional-projects/.

You don't get to opt out of the tax for projects in Atlanta but you get a great return for projects in Fayette. If we don't have a regional roundtable and GDOT just picks all projects as they do currently, you don't get to opt out of that either.

It is untrue that SPLOSTs never leave. Fayette voted not to renew theirs the last time it was up and the region can do the same for this one.

S. Lindsey
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Well Mr. Drake with the new Healthcare Tax don't need another

tax.
I was speaking of your relating splost taxes to gas taxes... People tend to ignore that Government gets 30-40 cents per gallon for doing nothing to bring that gas to market ok that "supposed" to pay for roads.. Splost taxes for this project or that project just never seem to go away.
They are like toll bridges where the toll is supposed to pay for that bridge but yet year after year after year that toll is not only still there it goes up.

Again I ask you specifically what projects in Fayette? Where is the list? Where can I go to see how this money is to be used? Specifics Mr. Drake not some air fingers quote developments.

You see Mr. Drake a lot of us don't trust the Government to, well do as they say... Once they get our money they tend to find new and interesting ways to spread it around especially around election time.

efdrakejr
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Fayette County Projects

Click on the following link and then on the left side of the page under County, select Fayette. You can then click on each of the projects and it will bring up a summary sheet. You can get even further detail by clicking View Project Fact Sheet from the summary sheet.

http://transformmetroatlanta.com/regional-projects/

Clearly, yesterday was an abomination and I don't blame you for not trusting our government. That being said though, I am judging these projects by how GDOT performs (not POTUS or SCOTUS) and this National Cooperative Highway Research Program report shows that GDOT is number one in the nation at delivering projects within budget and number two at delivering them on schedule.

http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/docs/NCHRP20-24(37)A(01)_FR.pdf

S. Lindsey
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Mr. Drake I count 10 projects for Fayette

out of over a hundred most having nothing to do with congestion being the areas proposed are not congested.

Two of those are Bike Paths well really they are the same bike path but split as two projects...see Government at work again.., nice but how does that relieve traffic...?

Two projects scheduled for the next two years while the rest 8-10 years from now while projects in Fulton and Atlanta a majority are scheduled within the next two years.

Seems like we get to pay the tax now and wait while "others" get the benefits.

Is this really a good investment for us?

Sorry I don't think so....

efdrakejr
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Timing

This is a pay-as-you-go tax so projects will be done as the money comes in. It is broken down into three time frames; 2013-2015, 2016-2019 and 2020-2022, so the projects will be split about a third into each time frame. Out of our 10 projects, 4 are in the first band and six are in the second band but NONE are in the third band. So, looking at the glass half empty, I guess we have to wait a while for a majority of our projects but, looking at it half full, we get all of ours done before a full third of them are even started.

MYTMITE
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Mr. Drake, if you are not a lobbyist and just a concerned

citizen, who is minding the store while you spend all your time on this site trying to convince us of the myriad benefits of T-SPLOST as seen through your eyes?

I must say, I have to admire your tenacity, you have not convinced one person and yet you keep at it. Sort of like those pit bulls that refuse to let go once they latch on to something.

efdrakejr
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This Is Just For Fun

I have no illusions that the outcome of the TSPLOST hinges on the opinions offered by the 20 or so same people on The Citizen blog...and neither should you.

You'll be glad to know I'm not spending all my time here and, in fact, am spending substantially more time convincing folks who are open to the idea.

See you at the polls.

S. Lindsey
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It's the Whimpy line all over again...

I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a Hamburger today.

In this case they want their "pay" up front for the promise of that Hamburger years from now.

Nope haven't convinced me yet... still voting NO and from the comments here everyone else is too.

Try the AJC blog lot's of Liberals there they love voting for taxes that they don't have to pay for.

efdrakejr
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Fiscal Conservatives

Most fiscal conservatives like that the bill is pay-as-you-go as opposed to borrowing the money and passing the debt down to the next generation. I don't know how you buy things in your house, but if I am not borrowing then I generally have to save up a little before I make big purchases. It's the same concept here.

Spyglass
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As cars get more and more economical

We are going to have to address the gas tax. There aren't less cars on the road, just less gas being bought. I hate taxes as much as the rest of you, but I also like roads. I see the gas tax as a much more equitable way to build our roads in Georgia.

I also do not support one thin dime for supporting Marta. They have had plenty of time to find traction and they have failed miserably.

S. Lindsey
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Spy did you know that the Gas Tax

is placed in the General Budget and used for everything else but roads?

Then DOT get's a budget to use on roads that might or might not be sufficient.

Sort of like the proposed Splost tax and that "Big pot of Money".

If the Tax was really used just for roads we would see better road conditions, but you know Politicians once they see that "Pot of Gold" that just can't help dipping their hands in the coins.

efdrakejr
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Gas Tax

Georgia has two parts to their gas tax, a 7.5 cents per gallon excise tax which has not increased since 1971, and a 4% sales tax that is applied to the average price published by the state on Jan 1 and Jul 1 of every year. Additionally, there is a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon which has not increased since 1993.

For the state portion, GDOT gets the 7.5 cent per gallon excise tax and 3% of the sales tax. The other 1% goes to the general fund so to a small degree, you are partially correct. I think GDOT should get the entire 4% but that 1% difference is nowhere near enough to offset the needs.

The federal portion also does not go to the general fund. It goes to the Highway Trust Fund which then doles the money back out to the states. I personally think this inefficient and the federal government has too big a role in state transportation issues but my point is still the same, it does not go to the general fund.

G35 Dude
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Mr Drake - Federal Gas Tax
Quote:

The federal portion also does not go to the general fund. It goes to the Highway Trust Fund which then doles the money back out to the states. I personally think this inefficient and the federal government has too big a role in state transportation issues but my point is still the same, it does not go to the general fund.

As per Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters in a 2007 interview:

Quote:

"You know, I think Americans would be shocked to learn that only about 60 percent of the gas tax money that they pay today actually goes into highway and bridge construction. Much of it goes in many, many other areas."

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/transportation/july-dec07/infrastructure_...

Once again the government plays a shell game with our money!

efdrakejr
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Not To Pick Nits

I'm not trying to parse words nor am I defending earmarks which, to a degree, essentially misappropriate funds. But what I said was that the federal gas tax goes to the Highway Trust Fund and it does. You will note later in the same article that you referenced that Mary Peters says the earmarks were out of the Highway Bill:

Quote:

Well, an earmark is a project that's designated by a member of Congress specifically to a project generally in his or her district or state. And the level of earmarking has increased substantially over the last couple of decades in terms of the highway bill. The last highway bill that was passed, in the summer of 2005, contained over 6,000 of those marks, those specially designated projects. And the cost of those projects just in that bill alone was $24 billion, almost a tenth of the bill.

On the bright side, when the Republicans took control of the House in 2010, they pledged to eliminate earmarking and, to the best of my knowledge, they have. Further, the TSPLOST is a state project and has a defined list of projects that were decided on before it goes to a vote of the people. There will be no earmarks.

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