While Fulton County Republican Party members Mike Lowry and Bob Carver both live in north Fulton county, each opposes and supports, respectively, the T-SPLOST as a whole for the 10-county region in metro Atlanta it would fund.
Roswell resident Lowry said one of his chief issues with the T-SPLOST is, of the project list that the tax will fund, 52 percent is earmarked for transit, i.e. MARTA.
“Transit will never work in Atlanta,” he said of relieving traffic congestion. “Atlanta has the lowest density of any metro area above 2 million in the world.”
For public transportation to be effective, Lowry said Atlanta would have to have roughly 2,200 transit stations.
“We don’t have nearly enough density or money in order to do that,” he said. “We are not a hub and spokes city with everyone going to downtown Atlanta to work. We are a network of clusters.”
Additionally, Lowry said there isn’t nearly enough oversight for the amount of money that will generated during the 10-year period, with the Transportation Investment Act providing that a citizens’ review panel comprised of only five people from each of the 10 counties would oversee the funds and the project.
GDOT, the administering force for the project list and the money, Lowry added, is historically irresponsible with funds.
“The DOT has been dysfunctional for the 49 years I’ve lived in Georgia,” he said. “They have dramatically failed their last four or five audits. There’s $1 billion rattling around they can’t find.”
To see a slideshow detailing Lowry’s other concerns with the T-SPLOST, visit www.traffictruth.net.
Carver, a Buckhead resident, said despite being a Republican, he supports the tax as a means for economic development in Georgia.
“I’m really afraid if we don’t pass it, we’re going to lose out on some potential prospects — international companies and otherwise — that may not choose to locate in Georgia and metro Atlanta in particular, and choose to locate it other places because of our lack of transportation infrastructure,” he said.
Carver supports the tax as it’s a sales tax, where everyone from “drug dealers, illegal aliens and event tourists in the Atlanta area would help for transportation infrastructure.” He said because everyone uses roads and transit, everyone should have to pay for its improvement, and through a sales tax, they will.
Also, Carver said Georgia ranks 49th in the country for transportation funding, and the state is fiscally conservative, so it’s not as though the state has wild spending habits to begin with and compounding its overspending by adding taxes.
“If we vote this down, there will be a lot of ramifications on the economic development perspective,” he said.