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Sun Jul 15, 2012, 11:35 PM

Hey, Georgia DUers -- what do you think of this July 31st "Untie Atlanta" vote?

This is one of the rare cases where the Sierra Club and the Teabaggers agree -- although of course for vastly different reasons. The Sierra Club is unhappy with it because such a large percentage of the 1 percent sales tax would support "sprawl-inducing road expansion." And the right-wingers apparently don't like it either because a) hit's a tay-ax, y'all, and them ain't good; b) it's not 100 percent devoted to road construction; or c) the percentage that's not devoted to road construction could help MARTA, which of course is nothing more than a socialist plot to bring poor people of color to white neighborhoods where they can steal Republicans' TVs and leer at their womenfolk.

Here are the Sierra Club's points, from the position paper linked above:
  • The Project List Does Not Present a Cohesive Transportation Vision, offering a hodgepodge of conflicting priorities when what is needed is a bold and consistent vision for a sustainable transportation future.

  • The Necessary Institutional Context is Not in Place, with the 2012 legislative session having failed to address serious questions about equitable regional transit governance and the ongoing second-class treatment of MARTA.

  • It Likely Kills Commuter Rail For Another Decade, taking off the table one of the most promising strategies for providing commute alternatives and promoting sustainable development.

  • It Does Too Little to Address the Current Road-Heavy Funding Imbalance, instead reinforcing a funding framework that already heavily favors highway expansion over commute alternatives.

  • The Road Funding Neglects Maintenance Needs to Focus on New Capacity, with five times as much funding going to expanded capacity than to maintenance and operations, further compounding an already serious backlog of asset management needs.

  • It Locks the Region into a Dysfunctional, Undemocratic Decision-Making Process, both through the highly politicized “roundtable” process and the blatantly anti-urban method for distributing local set-aside funds. (Fulton County alone would forfeit $88 million due to this inequity.)

  • The Transit Component Has Too Many Flaws, including vaguely defined project descriptions, underfunded capital expansions, and uncertainty about long-term operational support.

  • The Untie Atlanta people claim this will be a great thing for the metro area, including many options for public transit, bike paths, etc., and that the Sierra Club is wrong. They also claim this will create many much-needed jobs in the region.

    I dunno, I'm skeptical. I've seen too many "bike paths" around here that were nothing more than a few bicycle rider symbols spray-painted onto the street -- for example, on Clifton Rd. near Emory U. And today, when an orange haze hung over the metro area, on a Sunday, I was not looking forward to more road lanes, since more lanes don't equal less traffic (http://bit.ly/mQu5YT). And any jobs created by these projects will be temporary.

    Then there's the issue that this is supposed to be funded by a 1 percent sales tax, which always affects poor people the most. Why can't road projects be funded by gasoline taxes?

    So, taking all this into consideration, I'm leaning against the "Untie Atlanta" T-SPLOST on July 31st. But I'm keeping a semi-open mind and am interested to hear what others think about this.

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Reply Hey, Georgia DUers -- what do you think of this July 31st "Untie Atlanta" vote? (Original post)
klook Jul 2012 OP
Ilsa Jul 2012 #1
klook Jul 2012 #2
lastlib Jul 2012 #3
RebelOne Jul 2012 #4
ecstatic Jul 2012 #5
BrendaBrick Jul 2012 #6
klook Jul 2012 #7
groundloop Jul 2012 #8
klook Jul 2012 #9
Shagbark Hickory Jul 2012 #10
BrendaBrick Aug 2012 #11
Phentex Aug 2012 #12
RebelOne Aug 2012 #13
klook Aug 2012 #14
BrendaBrick Aug 2012 #15
klook Aug 2012 #16
themaguffin Aug 2012 #17

Response to klook (Original post)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 11:41 PM

1. I'm also concerned by the fact that

from what I can tell, business in and around Atlanta isn't being asked to help build infrastructure for their employees. Why shouldn't they be asked to help pay for getting their employees to work?

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Response to Ilsa (Reply #1)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 11:43 PM

2. Good point

That's always been a problem for the metro counties who have to pay for the infrastructure used by exurban commuters.

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Response to klook (Original post)

Sun Jul 15, 2012, 11:59 PM

3. "Untie Atlanta"--sounds like Unity Day for dyslexics....


(aploogies to dyslexics and any others who may be offended...I couldn't resist!)

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Response to klook (Original post)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 05:37 PM

4. I will not be voting for it.

But I will not be voting in my local election here in Cherokee County because all the candidates are Republicans, and there is not one Democratic candidate running.

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Response to klook (Original post)

Sun Jul 29, 2012, 01:01 PM

6. Thanks for posting this!

Last edited Sun Jul 29, 2012, 01:46 PM - Edit history (1)

I wasn't sure about the ins and outs of this aside from that stupid commercial about seat belts being wrapped around people and the signs posted in various locations to vote for it. I'll be voting no, but I wouldn't be surprised it it passes because other than that commercial and the signs, I have to mine alternative sources to get the real scoop because the pros/cons are certainly not something front and center on the local news - yet effects people's lives directly.

(Personally, I'd like to see some forward-thinking local news station develop an ongoing segment about political issues - but maybe that's a tall order because it seems to me that most folks largely consider themselves to be consumers rather than citizens.)

Edited to add this link from Creative Loafing: (FYI)


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Response to BrendaBrick (Reply #6)

Tue Jul 31, 2012, 09:38 AM

7. Thanks - the CL coverage was the most thorough overview I've seen. Also, here's a video

posted by the Sierra Club (apparently an Xtranormal animation):

I realize that nothing good in the way of transportation plans is going to come from the Republican legislature, so I've been very tempted to vote for this proposal -- letting the road advocates have their many miles of new roads and lanes as a trade-off for the meek support for public transit & bicycle lanes. After all, letting the perfect be the enemy of the good won't get anything done, and I'm sure it's true that it will be years before any other solutions that involve anything besides asphalt will see the light of day.

On the other hand, I think this is less a case of perfect vs. good than one of crappy vs. less crappy. So I'm a reluctant "No" on this one.

Latest from the Georgia Sierra Club.

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Response to klook (Original post)

Tue Jul 31, 2012, 11:10 AM

8. I just might vote yes because the teabaggers I know are against it

If these teabaggers whom I know are so dead set against it then it must be worth voting for (I think).

I'm actually kind of conflicted about how to vote on this. I've read about some of the objections to various projects which will be funded, and I've also seen some pretty intelligent rebuttals to those objections. I think one of the problems is that the people in government pushing this are doing a lousy job of informing people about it (what should I expect from Nathan Deal).

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Response to groundloop (Reply #8)

Tue Jul 31, 2012, 12:30 PM

9. I think the Teabaggers hate it for 2 reasons:

1. It's a tax, and All Tax Are Bad.
2. It has some money for MARTA, and MARTA is a socialist plot.

But from my perspective, this package offers too much asphalt and not enough public transportation. I'd like to see roads paid for with gasoline taxes, not a sales tax.

I know I'm dreaming, with the current Ga. legislature - and it will only get worse after the latest wave of gerrymandering. But this region is choking on car pollution now, and more roads don't help that.

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Response to klook (Original post)

Tue Jul 31, 2012, 09:40 PM

10. Nothing but corporate welfare for roadbuilders and corporations like Catapillar.

Also not bad for BP, Shell, Exxon & friends.

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Response to Shagbark Hickory (Reply #10)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 12:20 PM

11. Here's a breakdown of the donors for the PR campaign:

$401,000 – $500,000

Georgia Highway Contractors Association $500,000
National Association of Realtors $431,000

$301,000 - $400,000

Georgia Power Co. $395,000
Yancey Brothers Co. (construction equipment) $350,000


C.W. Matthews Contracting Co. Inc. $300,000
Clear Channel Outdoor (in-kind donation of billboards) $295,000
Cox Enterprises $250,000
Delta Air Lines $225,000

$101,000 – $200,000

Caterpillar $150,000
Coca-Cola $187,500
Home Depot $150,000
Post Apartment Homes $105,000
United Parcel Service $140,000
Vulcan Materials Co. $161,275


AGL Resources
Carlyle Fraser Employee Benefit Fund
Cousin Properties
ICE (IntercontinentalExchange Inc.)
Jamestown (real estate)
Newell Rubbermaid
SunTrust Banks
Turner Broadcasting

$51,000 – $99,000

AECOM (engineering) $60,000
American Council of Engineering Companies of Georgia $57,500
Bank of America $52,500E.R. Snell Contractor 75,000
Georgia Association of Realtors $67,947
Georgia Concrete PAC $67,800
PB Americas Inc./Parsons Brinkerhoff (engineering) $64,500
Pittman Construction $60,000
Rayonier $73,337
Wells Fargo $51,000


Bombardier Transportation (rail equipment)
GE Power Systems
Georgia Chamber of Commerce
Georgia Construction Aggregate Association
Holder Construction Group
Invesco (investment management)
Jackson Healthcare LLC
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital
Regions Bank
Wolverton & Associates Inc. (engineering


Deloitte $27,5oo
Equifax $30,000
Georgia Concrete and Products Association $31,834
Global Payments Inc. $40,000
Jacobs Engineering Group $30,000
King and Spalding LLP $30,000
Norfolk Southern Corp. (railroad) $27,500
Stantec Consulting Services $30,000
Troutman Sanders LLP $30,000
Stephens Rock and Dirt Inc. $26,000


Alston & Bird LLP
AMC Inc. (AmericasMart)
Bank of North Georgia
CH2M Hill Inc. (engineering)
Cisco Systems Inc. (computer networking equipment)
Duke Realty Services
Enterprise Holdings Inc. (rental cars)
First Data Corp. (electronic payment processing)
Gables Limited Partnership (real estate)
Georgia Apartment Association
Georgia Crown Distributing Co.
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia
KPMG LLP (accounting)
Lehigh Hanson Materials (cement)
Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce
National Distributing Co.
Oxford Industries
Piedmont Operating Partnership (real estate)
Portman Financial Inc. (investments)
Sunbelt Structures (road builders)
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP
United Distributors Inc.
Waffle House

Source: http://www.atlantaunfiltered.com/2012/07/24/real-estate-contractors-top-tsplosts-6m-donor-list/

Compiled from: http://media.ethics.ga.gov/Search/Campaign/Campaign_ByContributions_RFR.aspx?NameID=7075&FilerID=NC2010000025&CDRID=67779&Name=Citizens%20for%20Transportation%20Mobility,%20Inc&Year=2012&Report=December%2031st%20-%20Special%20Election

And this You Tube video from the Green Party: &feature=youtu.be

I'm so glad that this massive slush fund (masquerading as an important referendum) was defeated and defeated badly! Just goes to show that a slick, multimillion dollar PR campaign doesn't always work! I hope that a much more SENSIBLE Plan B is forthcoming...

...and I wonder if the GA-400 toll will actually be removed by the end of 2013 as per the Governor's rather timely and convenient announcement of this as reported by WSB-TV on 7-19-12:



“Ga. 400 commuters have paid more than their fair share already, and this is the earliest we can bring it down without paying a penalty for early repayment of the bonds,” Deal said. "We think it should convey to the public that government can be trusted, and we recognize the impact of transportation and the importance of public confidence with projects of this magnitude."

Government can be trusted. yeah. right. (there really needs to be a "carrot-on-a-stick" smilie)

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Response to BrendaBrick (Reply #11)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 06:57 PM

12. was thinking the same thing about the 400 toll...

how long until Deal comes back and says they can't do it now because they need the money?

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Response to klook (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:45 PM

13. Glad it didn't pass.

I am on a fixed income and that extra 1% will add up. Plus, I do not drive that much any more.

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Response to RebelOne (Reply #13)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 03:58 PM

14. Yeah, same here

It's probably the only time I'll be on the same side of an issue as the TeAnderthals, albeit for totally different reasons.

Atlanta will never be Portland (unfortunately!), but we need Smart growth -- or at least Less Stupid growth.

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Response to klook (Reply #14)

Sun Aug 5, 2012, 09:12 PM

15. This from the AJC dated today:

Metro Atlanta / State News 12:24 p.m. Sunday, August 5, 2012

Gridlock Guy: Toll roads best Plan B after TSPLOST TKO

By Mark Arum

For the AJC

If was heavyweight boxing match it would have been a first round knockout. If it was a little league baseball game, it would have been stopped in the third inning due to the mercy rule. It was Michael Phelps swimming against Mike Douglas. It was the University of Georgia Men's Football team taking on Central Connecticut State on Homecoming Weekend. It was a mismatch, a blowout, a white washing. It was the referendum known as TSPLOST, and it got pummeled.

Mismatch is right - though I'm not sure if paying any additional tolls are necessarily the best way to go at this point?

Here's the link:


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Response to BrendaBrick (Reply #15)

Mon Aug 6, 2012, 11:39 PM

16. Ugh, more toll roads!!

That's always the solution to traffic problems in Atlanta: more roads. After the unpopularity of GA-400, I don't think many drivers will be in favor of toll roads, though.

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Response to klook (Original post)

Wed Aug 8, 2012, 02:31 PM

17. I voted no because I don't think that a regressive tax should be the first method, but in fact the

last option AFTER GA brings its income and corporate taxes up to date so that those who benefit the most from the state and have benefitted from lower taxes finally BEGIN to pay to invest in the state that given them so much.

Then perhaps, maybe a sales tax, but not first.

And notice how GOPers and business are happy to ask us pay? They never, ever, ever want to pay and now wanted us to pay.

And notice that toll roads are not being discussed instead of any talk of raising taxes.

What crap. This state is hopeless.

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