Don McKee: TIA mainly about economic development, not congestion
by Don McKee
May 04, 2012 12:00 AM | 2316 views | 11 11 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Don McKee
Don McKee
The proposed one percent sales tax being sold as a transportation solution under the Transportation Investment Act is mainly about economic development, not any substantial reduction of traffic congestion despite the TIA sales pitch.

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.

Voters, educate

Comments-icon Post a Comment
May 04, 2012
We are not ready to make a ten year tax commitment and the projects chosen are not chosen to make transportation easier to get around what has already been developed. The projects re chosen to develop more places where we can get stuck.

Tolls on highways will not decrease the number of cars on the highway. They will just reserve lanes for those who can afford to pay for them and force the rest of us into the "slow" lanes, where we will burn more gas, to fund more construction and maintenance of more toll lanes.

It is crazy. We need the corridor study completed so we can choose buses or trains. That is not something to leave up to a few politicians who will award those who contribute to their campaigns.

Vote No.
Voice of Reason
May 04, 2012
Rail lines may work elsewhere, but we are too spread out and it won't get me (or 3 million of my closest friends) to my workplace.

Big Companies will still move here if they see it being cost or revenue favorable - BS on the mass transit justification. Those companies can go to New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, pay higher taxes and for their mass transportation if they want, the smart companies will go for lower taxes and cheaper, non unionized labor.

Let's work on timing of work schedules, traffic light patterns, and improving flow of traffic like allowing more right turn lanes and no more red turn signals at intersections with 2 turn lanes - if no oncoming traffic, then Y can't U turn?

Our local Government designs poor traffic flow for 2 reasons (1) we burn more gas and therefore pay more fuel taxes and (2) try to tick us off to vote for silly transportation dreams and spend more of our money on a failed venture designed to run deficits forever.

Vote NO on SPLOST and ask your local Commissioner to justify each and every improvement to you.

Off Balance
May 04, 2012
@Voice of Reason

What you say is , indeed, reasonable.
McKee admirer
May 04, 2012
"The proposed one percent sales tax being sold as a transportation solution under the Transportation Investment Act is mainly about economic development,"

We - the voters - should already know that,

as the cost will be charged to us. If the business, money making groups want this - let them pay for it.

May 04, 2012
The entire conversation 5 years ago to legislatively or otherwise provide for more transportation funding started as a conversation surrounding economic development. It is not a mystery that Atlanta was being bypassed by companies seeking a new home, because of traffic problems and commute times. Thus began a long process that led us to where we are now, about to vote on our first steps toward a solution. Atlanta's entire existance is based on transportation. Our first name was Terminus as it was the point where all the rail lines intersected. That is still true to this day. Then came Hartsfield, decades of growth and and expanding region. Now we are faced with a huge decision and it is one I intend to vote in favor of. To try and and make Economic Development a bogeyman in this thing is ridiculous on its face. As far as Atlanta and our region is concerned Economic Development is Transportation and Transportation is Economic Development. The two terms are inextricably linked. Transportation is a key component to our Economic Development success thus far and will be moving forward.
May 04, 2012

You are making the erroneous assumption that the proposed TIA project list is a realistic transportation solution that will inevitably lead to quality economic development.


It is nothing more than a taxpayer scam.

Once potential businesses and large employers see what has been cooked up by the developers, politicians and special interests in Atlanta and foisted on the ignorant, uneducated taxpayers in the region they will avoid us like the plague.

They don't want to tie their future to a community controlled and manipulated by a group of corrupt group individuals who are willing to sell their citizens down the proverbial river for their own selfish gain.

If this TSPLOST was a true transportation solution I would be all for it, but it is not.

May 04, 2012
You keep leveling these vague charges about things being cooked up by developers, politicians and special intersests, you sound like a modern day version of Homer Stokes from Oh Brother Where Art Thou fame. Gonna Sweep the Region clean are you? Why not be specific, what project, what politican, what special interest are you speaking of?
Devlin Adams
May 04, 2012
@ THE TRUTH: Exactly what is your problem in seeing that the anwsers to your questions are right in front of you?

Tim Lee, Cumberland CID, Town Center CID, MARTA, Cobb Chamber of Commerce, Mark Mathews. How many conspirators do your want the names of? Open your eyes and read the papers. The scam is so blatant, a blind man can see it with his cane.

You are either totally naive, part of the "in group", or you live in a foreign country.
May 07, 2012
@Devlin Adams you named a few people and a couple of groups by name. AND? What are you getting at, what have these individuals and groups done? Be specific.
May 11, 2012
Of all the comments, facts, fiction and so on under and including this article, THE TRUTH seems to make the most sense as the truth. I suppose some folks would suggest that the current local option sales taxes we pay, me in Cobb that I have and will continue to support have not benefited Cobb? Or the other counties in GA? Really? If we had a $100 Billion in Cobb of free money to only build roads and transit there would still be folks who would object. Fortunately I am not one of those few. I am with the majority that will be voting FOR the TIA doing my small part to help fund the region and the states transportation, transit and economic development needs so I don't have to depend on some other welfare program from the Feds.
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