This is the reality facing Cobb voters. It is well documented by supporters of the tax in their comments and in their materials, online and printed. It was confirmed Tuesday night at the Cobb Young Republicans meeting by Seth Millican, lobbyist representing the Metro Atlanta Voter Education Network. He was asked by county GOP chairman Joe Dendy if the original purpose of the TIA was for traffic relief, economic development, beautification or a combination of all.
“All of the above,” was Millican’s answer. He said it would create jobs, reduce traffic congestion 24 percent, and “make our communities a better place to live because we’re not sitting in traffic.”
That’s the line touted by another pro-tax group, Citizens for Transportation Mobility. Its website is titled “Untie Atlanta” (never mind untying Cobb) and warns: “Traffic is suffocating Atlanta.” The group makes the claims echoed by the MAVEN promoter, including:
“A yes vote means nearly 200,000 jobs will be supported or created, with two-thirds of them being in high or mid-paying sectors.” How do we know? Just take CTM’s word for it. Also notice that these jobs “will be supported or created” (a la the Obama stimulus), meaning that most are probably existing jobs. No explanation of how CTM knows two-thirds of the jobs will be in the high- to mid-range pay scale.
“Collectively, our region will benefit from a $9.2 billion savings in fuel and personal time,” CTM asserts. That’s an estimate based on another estimate of $924 “current expense per average metro commuter due to traffic congestion.”
Finally, the claim is made that the TSPLOST plan will result in a 24 percent “average decrease in traffic delays with buildout of 157 transportation projects.” No explanation is given as to how this figure is reached. Your guess is probably as good as any. But let’s take the 24 percent and apply it to a commute of one hour. Shaving 24 percent will reduce the drive time by about 14 minutes, leaving a 46-minute commute. How is that going to untie traffic congestion?
Talk about over promising. The Utopia envisioned by “Untie Atlanta” is captured in such hype as this: Voting yes will “make our region more competitive again.” And in addition to helping create or support those 200,000 mid- to high-paying jobs, the TSPLOST “will free up our clogged roadways so we can be more productive at work and spend more time at home.” While new construction is going on, our clogged roadways will be freed up?
Another claim presented as fact: “Investing in transportation improvements will take thousands of cars off the road.” Proof? None. But that’s the kind of stuff being shoveled out to metro area voters through a campaign of nearly $10 million by CTM and MAVEN.