Last Saturday I had the opportunity to speak individually with six different legislators at a political gathering, several of whom are in leadership positions in the Georgia General Assembly.
They all expressed dislike of the way the project list for the T-SPLOST was developed and hoped it was voted down. My response was to advocate repeal of HB277 and starting over, first by fixing the real problem: a dysfunctional DOT, and by specifying transportation priorities with congestion relief at the top and by eliminating the movement to regional governance. The universal reaction to fixing the DOT seemed like I was asking them to date a pretty girl who has AIDS.
Their response universally was that they couldn’t go directly against the speaker and the governor. "First, we have to allow the measure to fail, letting the public prove the speaker and the governor were wrong." Then, perhaps they can cobble together some kind of “Plan B.” I have gotten this same response from other legislative “leaders” in visits to the Capitol.
Passage of the T-SPLOST will be a major disaster, but voting it down will still also be a disaster for the state of Georgia. Our legislature should be focused on fixing
the mess that it created before it is a disaster for the state. Proving political points or staying politically “safe” should be secondary.
One of the candidates for Cobb County Commission Chairman wrote the following about the T-SPLOST project selection process:
“(Atlanta Regional Commission) personnel have provided support and advice to Roundtable members. ARC is not covered by ethics laws,” he writes. “ARC has an ethics policy but it evidently is not enforced. The Chairman of ARC (Tad Leithead of east Cobb) is a career real estate investor. Also Chairman of the Cumberland CID, he has labored long and aggressively to get taxpayer funding for a light rail system to connect Cumberland CID to Town Center CID and such a plan has long been part of the ARC agenda. Thus, one of the most expensive projects in the Atlanta Region’s list is based on the self-interest of commercial property owners.”
The T-SPLOST is not in the best interest of the citizens of North Fulton, nor of any other metro Atlanta suburban area. We must vote it down.