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.
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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