Atlanta voters would rather continue to take on the burden of congestion rather than the burden of another tax increase.
A 10-year, $7.2 billion transportation spending plan (T-SPLOST), which would have been dependent on a 1% sales tax increase, was rejected on July 31. The referendum was set up by the Transportation Investment Act of 2010 that was being touted to raise as much as $19 billion if approved district by district.
Voters, however, would have no power over which projects would receive the money. Instead, local politicians were going to pick and choose, which may have been perceived as a negative to those who have had enough with the funding abuse committed at the state and local level.
“Let this send a message,” Debbie Dooley, who organized opposition to the tax measure, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We the people, you have to earn our trust before asking for more money.”
A group consisting of 21 mayors and county commissioners from all 10 counties forming the Atlanta metro area comprised a list featuring 157 regional projects that would receive a bulk of the funding--$6.14 billion. An additional $1 billion was marked for other local projects, and half of the $7.2 billion total was designed to go to transit projects, with the other half filling the needs for additional road and bridge capacity.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal informed the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he was now taking on a central role in transportation planning for the state’s urban centers.