Q. Do you favor extending MARTA rail lines into Cobb?
Manning: I believe Cobb needs connectivity to MARTA, I do not believe extending MARTA rail into Cobb is the answer.
Q. Are you in favor of light-rail lines for Cobb? If so, where?
Manning: Light-rail has proven to be very effective in other major cities. The current plan being studied using Cobb Parkway as the major route seems to provide the most effective and least invasive plan for calming congestion and redeveloping the corridor. Our greatest needs in Cobb are education, relieving the tax burden for our citizens and creating job opportunities . I have not heard from my constituents that we should divert funds away from these priorities in order to fund a light-rail system.
Q. Do you think Cobb's light-rail lines should link up with MARTA trains? Where?
Manning: Certainly, you would want to see Cobb's light-rail lines link with MARTA. There should be a discussion among experts to bring forth a proposal.
Q. Do you favor adding or converting Interstate lanes to toll lanes?
Manning: Toll lanes are used with a great deal of success in other areas; however, adding or converting interstate lanes to toll lanes in the I-75 corridor would be a new concept of financing for our area. On the other hand, our economy has forced us to think of new alternative ways to finance and advance transportation programs.
Q. Do you support adding reversible lanes to I-75 through Cobb?
Manning: GDOT is currently doing a study to determine if reversible lanes or some type of toll variation would be available alternative for the I-75 corridor. This is a comprehensive study that will offer an insight into whether the use of alternative concepts would be effective. I will most likely support the results but I have not seen it yet.
Q. Should reversible lanes be built before or after light rail lines?
Manning: Light rail is a type of transit, reversible lanes is more the management of traffic congestion. I would need more information before I could make a decision.
Simpson: Neither is needed.
Q. Do you plan to vote to approve and fund the Transportation bill in 2012?
Manning: The voters will decide on the referendum in 2012, but it is important to consider that Georgia spends the second lowest per capita in the country on transportation.
Q. Do you favor more restrictions on lobbyist gift to legislators? Exactly what type of gifts and what amounts would you ban?
Manning: I believe the current rules and laws if strictly enforced would be sufficient.
Simpson: I think all gifts from lobbyist should be banned.
Q. Do you favor legislation that would deny admission to state universities to all illegal immigrants, even those who graduated from a Georgia high school?
Manning: Why would we require legislation to "deny admission to state universities to all illegal immigrants" if they are in this country illegally?
Simpson: Yes, illegal immigrants should not be able to attend Georgia public universities.
Q. Would you vote for an immigration law similar to the one recently passed in Arizona?
Manning: As I understand it, Arizona's law is about illegal entry, not immigration. Illegal entry into the U.S. is a crime and a security risk to our citizens. I would favor any law that protects our citizens from person or persons who are not authorized to enter.
Q. Do you favor a state law that would outlaw furlough days for teachers in the future?
Manning: As Chair of the Children and Youth Committee, I do not advocate that any of our children miss school because of budget shortfalls. It is essential that we put education first if we want a bright future for our state and country. Furloughing teachers is a symptom of a greater problem. We need to tackle the problem, not treat the symptoms.
Simpson: No, furloughs save the state money.
Q. At what point would you consider increasing taxes in Georgia?
Manning: I would rather tighten our belts than put more financial burden on our citizens.
Simpson: Never, I am for abolishing property taxes and lowering taxes in Georgia.
Q. If Georgians elect a governor from a party that is not your own, do you think you can work constructively with that governor?
Manning: I represent the citizens of District 32 and I take that responsibility very seriously. I work on their behalf, voting on and supporting issues that affect them. As the governor of the state, I'm certain that he or she will understand the responsibility each vote carries as well and work on behalf of all Georgians, not just those in his or her party.
Q. What do you think will be the biggest issue facing the General Assembly in 2011?
Manning: The budget.
Simpson: The states financial situation.