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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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lowbar August 02, 2012 at 07:17 PM
It sounds like Mike Holzknecht lost and he's a sore loser.
BStein August 02, 2012 at 07:19 PM
No he's just pointing out the truth!
Chris Long August 02, 2012 at 09:49 PM
YAWN. More regressive, er, I mean "progressive" drivel.
Santa August 02, 2012 at 10:35 PM
They will not be fixing anything now that they didn't get their way. Just be aware of that but what the heck they have to use the same roads just as a passenger on our taxes. You can't tell me they aren't bringing in some money with the taxes already in place they just wanted more. Well WELCOME to today guys. Like the rest of us use what you get wisely and wait until things improve.
Santa August 02, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Also guess we'll see the progress on projects already in process SLOW down and have delays as well. And don't forget those unexpected overruns. You've seen this game before and will see it again. It's my Ball and if you don't play the way I like I'm taking it home!
SOGTP August 03, 2012 at 10:21 AM
It was really confusing article. Is he applauding the Koch brothers applauding the purchase of MARTA? That would the idea solution. Is he pointing out that with private/public partnerships the private makes the profit, but when it goes sour the public (taxpayers) foot the loss? Very confusing article.
Truthseeker August 03, 2012 at 12:21 PM
One of the most immature articles I've read yet about the failure of TSPLOST. Including the not so thinly veiled name of CEO Mitt Bane. Of course, Mike the closed minded liberal had to throw out the ubiquitous Koch brothers into the mix. Why don't you see if you can go back and include at least one sentence that it's all G.W. Bush's fault. Is this the best you can do?
Glenda Krebs August 03, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Seems to me he is pointing out that it is all "politics" as usual and us taxpayers have no real control except to have our pockets picked by both parties. At least that is my personal perception of the State of our Union.
Amy August 03, 2012 at 01:09 PM
So... apparently the 1950s were when the planning for MARTA and the interstates began (according to ye olde internet) - are you saying we are going back to a period of planning?
Greg T August 03, 2012 at 02:37 PM
And that perception (lopsidedly portrayed) is what killed the TSPLOST to begin with (since both liberals and conservatives voted similarly)... Instead of taking the consensus of the accurate poling data that predicted the results and resoundingly laid the defeat of TSPLOST at the feet of government perception by the populous, Mike chooses to complain. Come on Mike, join the populous and help us fix our rigged, corrupted and overly expensive government. Now you could take this consensus and run with it, or continue this blame everything on conservatives and enjoy gridlock on the roadways. There is work to be done that has overwhelming support of the voters. Clean the governmental infrastructure starting with actually following through with promises to remove the tolls on 400 and follow through with listening and implementing the audits of GDOT and MARTA. Help us get control of government if you want Georgians support. We're just not that interested in throwing money away on empty promises, like how our education dollars did not increase after the lottery earnings came in. We see the tricks used by government to pay Peter(general budget) by stealing from Paul (education). That was done by Dems and Rebs.
MariettaGator August 03, 2012 at 06:02 PM
The Sierra Club? Why was Sierra Club money being spent on this issue? What a joke that organization is these days. John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt would be revolted at what it's become- a club for those who already have their "wilderness" lodges and want to keep everyone else out - like Ted Turner. My neighbor doesn't get the irony of the Sierra Club decal on the back of his Escalade...
Clicker August 03, 2012 at 06:41 PM
The Chicken Little crybaby 'author' of this post probably works for CW Mathews. That explains his disdainful tears.
Bob Pepalis (Editor) August 03, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Rather than continue taking personal potshots at someone, why doesn't everybody weigh in on the scenario raised about converting highways to toll roads to pay for them, and the possibility that's been suggested before to have public-private partnerships running toll roads.
Greg T August 03, 2012 at 08:29 PM
I'm sorry Bob, I didn't know that was what the article was about. It was so slanted and offensive that it didn't come off as an opening to a forum for respectable debate. I think people responded to Mike in the same manner in which he wrote. Maybe you could write an article to open a dialog on the subject.
Jack Gleason August 04, 2012 at 06:52 PM
The day those "Public-Private Partnerships" fairly acquire their own Right-of-Way -- by equitably paying "The People" whom originally funded the existing Right-of-Way THEY wish to capitalize upon for the use of them -- I'll consider approving the use of their proposed "Toll Roads", etc...'till then the can go F.O.A.D.
Pam J August 04, 2012 at 07:42 PM
The only reason we should have voted for the TSPLOST here in Cobb County would have been to help us get to other counties. We voted for the SPLOST here in Cobb County last year to help with the things here in the county. One cent is enough. We didn't need another cent added on top of that to help pay for things in other counties. Let each county take care of themselves. If we want to connect the rail system into Atlanta, each county can take care of their own part of it. I know - that sounds too simple.
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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