Vote NO on T-SPLOST vote July 31
Our nation appears rudderless when you look at the trillions of dollars of stimulus money frittered away, the farm subsidies given to millionaire famers in the midst of top-dollar markets and our money wasted on “green” businesses which fail with little in the way of realistic business plans.
Special interests demand these programs so they can get fat and rich off of us, regardless of their failures. Remember, they do not give the money back.
Mass transit, especially rail, is another way of swindling our tax dollars to help special interests get rich while the taxpayers go deeper in debt. When all of the metro Chambers of Commerce sent their paid lobbyist, Terry Lawler, after me in the newspapers to attack me, you had better pay attention.
What is wrong with this picture: “Since 1982 government mass-transit subsidies have totaled $750 billion (in today’s dollars), yet the share of travelers using transit has fallen by nearly one-third,” (Why your highway has potholes, Wall Street Journal, 4-16-12).
On May 18, 2010 in Boston, the head of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Peter Rogoff, noted “there were more than $78 billion in deferred maintenance costs for public transit agencies in the U.S., and three-fourths of those costs were associated with rail systems,” (cascaedpolicy.org). “Mr. Rogoff pointed out that many local transit districts were seeking large federal grants for new rail lines, even though their overall levels of service were shrinking. He asked rhetorically, ‘If you can’t afford to operate the system you already have, why does it make sense for us to partner in your expansion?’”
MARTA is approaching $3 billion in deferred maintenance and they are losing around half-a-billion a year in operations. To make it worse, on July 31, they want you to vote to expand mass transit region-wide, blowing out the dam and flooding us with more transit debt.
You need to be alarmed because state and regional leaders cannot tell us how we are going to pay the billions of dollars of future expanded operations and maintenance costs year-over-year. And I did mean to say “we,” as in the citizens of Fayette County. The July 31 referendum, if it passes, will pull us into a regional transit system with costs beyond our means to pay.
Our county has covertly been walking hand-in-hand with the more urban counties in the region, sucking us into something we do not want and cannot afford. For years then-Commission Chairman Jack Smith and then-Mayor Ken Steele kept telling everyone they opposed mass transit in Fayette County.
However, they always voted in favor of it (with plans that included Fayette County) at the regional government level. Go see The Citizen article, “Commission Chairman Smith explains his ‘Yes’ vote for mass transit in Fayette.”
Chairman Herb Frady, Commissioner Lee Hearn and Commissioner Robert Horgan kept the prospects of mass transit in Fayette County alive by voting against the 2011 county resolution asking that we be removed from all regional, state and federal mass transit plans.
Out of desperation to get former Mayor Steele re-elected, Chairman Frady, then-Mayor Steele and the county administrator drove up to Atlanta and demanded that the Concept 3 regional mass transit plan be altered with no transit projects shown in Fayette.
They did this in direct violation of the previous 3-2 board vote keeping all plans intact. Chairman Frady and the county administrator disobeyed a direct order from the Board of Commissioners in order to get their cohort re-elected, planning on restoring the plans back later.
For the record, the official action of the Board of Commissioners still stands in favor of remaining in the transit plans. There has been no vote to the contrary even though I have asked for one.
Certain local interests have begged Jack Smith to run for the Board of Commissioners again, just two years after being unseated. Smith, development banker and transit voter, was most infamous for accelerating the West Fayetteville Bypass boondoggle project against the will of the people.
The Road to Nowhere has been one of the largest scams in county history.
With Chairman Frady opting to not run for re-election, the special interests need a solid vote they can count on to accompany Commissioner Hearn and Commissioner Horgan to push the passage of Phase III of the West Fayetteville Bypass.
The state and regional leaders want Fayette County locked into a regional transit system only because they need our money to keep the failing enterprise afloat financially.
Fayette County does not have to be in a debt-ridden transit system and we do not have to be forced into the Phase III of the West Fayetteville Bypass boondoggle. The choice is yours.
Candidates Randy Ognio and David Barlow have been solidly opposed to the devious status quo for years. Candidate Chuck Oddo is a political newcomer who will stand by the citizens as well.
We have a great thing going in Fayette County; let’s not watch it go away.
Fayette Commissioner, Post 4
Peachtree City, Ga.