Recently I have been reading opinions about the TSPLOST vote coming up on Tuesday. One common statement I see over and over again is usually “I will vote no because these projects will not affect me.“ To these people I would like to say that these projects will in fact affect you because they will stimulate our local economy.
The GDOT employs tens of thousands of men and woman here in Georgia by letting, then awarding projects all over the state to contractors. This is more far-reaching than most people realize. Sub-contractors, fabricators, manufacturers, suppliers, lumber mills, steel mills, truck drivers, quarries, just to name a few, will be directly impacted if TSPLOST is not passed. Many smaller contractors have already gone out of business and countless others have lost their jobs because GDOT simply does not have the funds to let projects.
Keeping an updated and safe infrastructure is one of the main jobs of government. This is not something the private sector can do. Unfortunately a contractor cannot just decide on his own to build a road or repair a bridge. For that we need government and we need to use our taxes to pay for it.
I looked at the list of proposed projects and there are some good and well-needed ones listed. There are also a few that may not be so critical, to me at least.
Here’s a fact that I can’t back up but no one reading this will be able to deny. $8 billion dollars to do road projects in the state of Georgia is only a small fraction of the money needed to do all of the work that needs to be done. Every major interchange around 285 (and most small ones) needs to be reworked and updated.
An outer perimeter needs to be looked at again. A vast majority of bridges need to be widened (and some just torn down and replaced). I-75, I-85, 675, 575 I-20, 285 and Ga. 400 all need to be widened to accept additional lanes. A new highway that runs north and south that doesn’t bottleneck in downtown Atlanta would be nice. How about a highway that will take you from Cherokee/north Cobb to Gwinnett without having to get on 285?
These are just some ideas for the metro area. What about the rest of the state? How many thousands of miles of roads here locally need to be repaved or widened? How many thousands of secondary intersections need to be updated and turn lanes added? Again, I’m just talking about the metro area. Again, what about the rest of the state? Would $100 billion be enough? $200 billion maybe? Do those numbers sound ridiculous? I don’t think they do. I’m sorry, but $8 billion is just not enough to implement improvements that will affect every one.
This tax will put a lot of people back to work. If you are voting no because “It doesn’t affect you,” how about voting yes because it will affect many others?