Transportation Tax - S-PLOST

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by 07Ltd#767, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. 07Ltd#767

    07Ltd#767 The Neighborhood Drunk

    By now, I hope everybody has heard of this and I hope you guys are all planning on voting one way or another tomorrow. This will impact everybody in the long term and people need to make sure they know as much about this before voting - yes it's that important.

    So...let's discuss.

    Do not give your opinion if you do not back it up with some information as to why you feel the way you do. I'm hoping this will stay on the informative path, as I've been reading more and more about this over the last few hours, I'm getting a ton of insight into things I never knew before.

    Keep this emotionless - we can have a debate, disagree and still not take it personally...god I hope this doesn't implode. Mods...good luck.

    I'll lead with an email I sent out this morning to our circlejerk group of people and let it spiral from there. If stuff seems out of context, just ignore it, as I'm not editing everything and just doing the copy / paste method. Not all of these are mine, I've picked the informative ones out and added them here, too. Too much perspective is never a bad thing


    I’ve read through a couple articles, and the more I read the more I don’t like this. However, I’m still in the same position where I don’t like it, but I can’t think of a better to way to execute what needs to happen.

    The effective tax rate will rise 16.67% – which is ridiculous. The marginal tax rate, if I’m reading this right, is less 1%. I guess it depends on if you’re for or against the bill as to which number you choose to use.

    The estimate of $4.5k / year in taxes (I believe that was the number I heard) is absurd. In 2010, the TIA (which passed unanimously) released studies that the average cost per person would $112.00 / year in added taxes. Another group came in and said that this number was low, as it included children and elderly people, and that the number is closer to $132.37 / year. Over the span of its lifetime (10 years – if you believe it), it’s estimated to pull in $8.5 billion. If all districts in GA pass this, it’s estimated to pull in over $14 billion.

    A lot of people are complaining about the allocation and lack of regional equality. Agreed – it’s heavily biased towards downtown Atlanta. That said, Atlanta produces 75% of the state’s economic activity and has well over 50% of the state’s population. We’re also 49th in the country in terms of our transportation infrastructure (includes funding) and have longest average rush hour commute (127 minutes – as you guys can probably attest)

    The negatives…there are many, and the more I learn the more I don’t like. It all boils down to whether or not we trust the government, which for the most part, people don’t. Below is a good site detailing a lot of the controversy. It’s very biased, but it uses a lot of good factual points to back up their opinions.

    I guess for me, it comes down to two things. One, we need change. I don’t think is will succeed (I don’t think it will pass, either), but I think we need to take a step, and this is more in the right direction than anything else currently offered (which would be a gasoline sales tax and hike on property taxes, from what I’ve read). Secondly, it requires putting faith in our elected officials.

    However, until we all stop looking at what the bill will do for us as individuals and what it could potentially do for us as a state, I don’t think we’ll ever make strides towards being better.

  2. 07Ltd#767

    07Ltd#767 The Neighborhood Drunk

    This is the official site for everyone's perusal; you can view the complete project breakdowns in terms of cost/scope as proposed and passed by the regional commission:

    This alone should make you go vote tomorrow if you haven't already, as any day you get direct input with respect to your own taxation is a good day


    Originally posted by Matt Ball:
    A couple of things bother me about this bill.

    1. I don't really want to give away anymore of my money until they fix the spending problems they already have.

    2. To many bus lines not enough rail lines.

    3. Unless I missed it this still doesn't address congestion issues on I 285 properly

    The Atlanta Mass Transit system is a joke and it needs to be improved. More buses is not the answer. They are slow and inefficient. We need more rail lines and we need them to no only go to the ghetto but also the shopping and entertainment districts.

    I'm sure most of you have parents like mine that were always worried about the bad element on Marta and that it wasn't safe to take the train of the bus. They simply have to do something about that image or it doesn't matter how many more trains or buses they add you still aren't going to have anyone riding them.


    Originally posted by wrxin8or's brother:
    I pretty much agree with these, and have a few more.

    4. Sales taxes are generally considered regressive taxes without exceptions being put in place (tax rate decreases as taxable income increases).

    5. Gas tax is the perfect vehicle for this, as it "punishes" those who use a higher percentage of the "service."

    6. Mass transit in Atlanta will always be a major issue, as there is no central work core. A huge network would be required for people to commute using Marta, which would require major funding. Marta NEEDS commuters to survive, not the occasional user or tourists.

    7. Not enough cycling improvements (ok, this is a selfish one).


    originally posted by my brother:
    Marta is the most under used transportation tool in georgia, but do you blame people. Its gross, smells, and i have seen everything from a dude touching himself to a guy peeing in the back of them. When Marta can get the trash off the train and yes i mean human trash, i believe more people will be inclined to used this system. Second, Marta need to learn there demographics. i really hope i don't affend anyone, but when Marta was built, the city of atlanta was still in the slums and marta was designed to take these people from slum to slum in atlanta, look at all the stops and were it goes. its nowhere near were it should go. with that being said, marta should go to verizon and lakewood, it should go to all major colleges in the perimeter and outside including kennesaw, if they would design it around the market that woudl use it and keep it alive, i feel that marta could succeed.

    But something does need to change and the first idea never works, but it must start from somewhere. I don't agree with all the stuff in this bill, but i do agree with the majority and i am ok with must of the proposed projects.

    Thier are two waste in this that makes me want to vote no.
    1-The beltline loop, please explain how a bike path around the perimeter will help alleviate traffic in the city, and if they do waste there money and build a train around it, they have already said it will not meet with Marta and the outer perimeter and travel around the loop, just sounds like a waste of money.
    2- The trolley from centennial park to the MLK center. i don't think i really need to say more on this, its stupidity explains itself. total waste of money.


    Originally posted by me:
    well right now, the current gasoline tax doesn't address mass transit, those funds are already allocated towards bridge and road repair (which doesn't include intersection upgrades, like the one at 285/400). Because cars are becoming more fuel efficient and Atlanta went on this MASSIVE campaign about carpooling (so it could then just charge people going up 85...), the gasoline tax will not cover the costs. we would have to pay $7 / gallon to make this work.

    the only way i see them fixing marta is to completely remove those stops in the ghettos. Close them down, don't even give them the opportunity to infest the lines. That's short term, as they'll find a work around, but if they did this in conjunction with putting more authority figures on the trains, I would vastly redo their image. If we have more robberies in cabbage town, they'll triple the patrols (good job Reed, i do like a mayor that actively acts out on topics like this). If we have shit on marta, just hire a single person / train to walk it front to back, all day. Do this for 3-4 months, then scale back. I have to think, if we can get marta to a functional operational level, this small increase in cost would be GREATLY offset by the influx of passengers. However, if this doesn't pass, all of this is for nothing as Marta will continue to only be funded by two counties (as it has since inception) - and that would be the ghetto-ass thug county followed closely by the most corrupt county in the world....yay fulton and dekalb.

    Something needs to be done. I don't mind paying $130 / year, but I want some oversight as to where it's going. This is also the reason I don't want to privatize it - I think every penny that goes into it should be accounted for and if it's not allocated properly, people need to be held accountable. then again, I would expect this across the board, and look where we are now...

    I'm still torn, I don't know how I'm voting on this tomorrow. Both outcomes have major negatives taht reach far beyond the transportation infrastructure. For instance, I've read that passing this will add 200k jobs to help with the construction work, but I've also read that an additional 1% tax hike will send potential companies to other states, like the one just south of us that pays 0% state sales tax.

    Oh, and you don't have to worry about offending people, Doug...we have no Heaths in our circle here, and it's nice to get educated opinions. *yeah...i edited those out for this site...*

    And wrxin80r's brother, I'm all for more bike lines. You little bastards are worth 10 points each...challenge accepted.
  3. 07Ltd#767

    07Ltd#767 The Neighborhood Drunk

    As an aside, from everything i've read this will EVENTUALLY pass. We passed the TIA (Transportation Investment Act) back in 2010 (unanimously) and per that act, if this round of voting fails they will redo the project list and we'll be voting on it again in the future. It may not be a 1% tax hike, it may be in the form of increased gas tax, increased property tax (think about that one fore a minute and let me know if you truly grasp how TERRIBLE of an idea this is), something - point is, we're going to have to pay to fix our transportation problem.
  4. b reel

    b reel Active Member

    Have a friend who is running for a State House seat and did his own little informal polling, nobody knew what the hell he was talking about... que the crikets
  5. Matt

    Matt Think before you post Staff Member Supporting Member

    I've been wondering what this is about as well. I've seen the commercials, and have heard them on the radio, but until now, I didn't really know what it was about.

    I have a feeling regardless of my vote, it will pass. But I'll spend some time later today reading the sites posted above and will make a choice...also reading other people's thoughts on the matter.
  6. b reel

    b reel Active Member

    The reason the rail sucks is because of all the freaking lawsuits and court injunctions when it was being implemented. F'ing community organizers

    And if you're so concerned about mass transit bringing in crime, maybe you should lock your doors and not leave keys and/or guns in the car.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2012
  7. CelticPride

    CelticPride Banned

    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

    That really had me laughing. OUCH!
  8. Electioneer

    Electioneer Member

    I think this is why the bill will pass. People see the billboards, commercials and etc. that say essentially, "This bill will make no traffic", and go vote for it.
  9. BKiller

    BKiller Active Member

    I have a simple logic to this whole thing. I don't vote for higher taxes regardless of the promised outcome.
  10. slowwrx

    slowwrx Supporting Member

    For the most part this.

    Use my money the right way and stop wasting it and you shouldn't need anymore money.
  11. techlord

    techlord Active Member

    exactly what Bkiller said, No one votes to tax themselves more. I sure won't.
    Ga DOT which will get 85% to spend (allocate) as they see fit have proven they cannot manage. Dishing out contracts to those who keep them in power to a 20mil fish museum or the 100+mil stadium for our...errr your FAILCONS.
  12. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    Funny, a post appears on this the day before votes close.

    the biggest financial backers of the public awareness campaign is composed of big-name local contractors who stand to win development bids and lots of government money. Yancy Bros is one of them.
  13. slowwrx

    slowwrx Supporting Member

    Yeah I had made my decision a while back but I'm interested to hear what others think.
  14. Jake

    Jake Active Member

    this is just a response to the fact that the governor is keeping his promise and removing the toll from 400 by the end of 2013. so everyone will pay the toll now....
  15. bixs

    bixs Supporting Member

    Gas tax to punish those that use the system more than others is absurd. I do about 35k-40k miles a year and go downtown about twice a year. Hell I go on 285 about 1-2 times per month only. None of these improvements are really going to help me out at all.

    My non fact based opinion (cause I'm just lazy to post references) is that this will generally improve the quality of life for a lot of people, if at least for stress reduction. However, I completely understand those that are pissed off about this thing. I could list 10+ people quickly at work that travel less than 3 miles a day, spend most of their time outside the perimeter, and would barely ever see and improvement in their own commutes/adventures throughout Atlanta.
  16. bixs

    bixs Supporting Member

  17. Jake

    Jake Active Member

    unfortunately thats way more apparent out here in texas. toll roads are amazing and everything else is complete horseshit. potholes everywhere
  18. DaveH

    DaveH Member



    Contradiction, no?

    My opinion is that the gas tax needs to be a higher. It would be a better way to pay for the road projects on the T-SPLOST than a sales tax. There should also be a fixed portion of the gas tax that goes for alternate commute options - not boondoggles like tourist trolleys. I'm all for infrastructural improvements like the Beltline, bikes lanes, quality bus corridors, hell even sidewalks. Asses need to be given realistic options for getting out of cars, especially in the areas where there is viable population density for such options.

    As much as I don't like so much of what's on the list, I will be voting yes later today. Until this week, I was undecided. What has pushed me into the 'Yes' column is the discretionary funded items that Reed has put together for Atlanta. MANY useful alternate commute options on that list. Particularly around where I live.
  19. bixs

    bixs Supporting Member

    No it's beyond stupid, and depending on the increase would require me to move to the immediate surroundings of my work, or move to another state. I put on about about 6-7k miles a year just driving in the mountains. I get about 10mpg. I also fill up before and after driving (as part of the trip) to ohio. that's about 4-5k miles a year. Neither of those are even close to being remotely effected by any of the improvements. 60-70% of my driving a year is commuting through areas that will barely be effected by the improvements.

    So I hope you understand, toll roads that are for the areas that need improvements will 100% tax the people that are using that area. Why? Not answering that, because it answers itself.

    Also, if this tax is not present in counties outside where improvements are, if the tax is high enough it will be worth it to travel outside the county to get gas..
  20. integroid

    integroid Supporting Member

    The money has to come from somewhere to improve our infrastructure. It isnt going to magically appear. How these idiot politicians use it is a whole different topic. I for one will probably vote no since fixing the infrastructure going ITP has no concern to me anymore. BUT, I think it should either come from a gas tax or toll roads.

    Kind of like state income tax.....only the working people pay the taxes while people on wellfare bend us over twice.
  21. rsutton1223

    rsutton1223 Obsessed Supporting Member

    Bixs brought up a point that everyone seems to forget in this argument...

    It is the structure of the living situation in Atlanta that makes our traffic, roads and inability to adopt public transportation messed up. Most people, do not live directly next to their work where they would be able to take advantage of such things. Can you imagine how long it would take to commute by bus from OTP north to OTP south? That is a real commute for a lot of workers.

    Public transportation works very well in cities that are setup for that kind of transit system based on how their population is based in terms of residential and working. People like to point their finger at cities like NYC and others that have extensive public transportation that works, but their population densities, metro area sizes and how that population is spread is much different than Atlanta.
  22. bixs

    bixs Supporting Member

    Allow me to retract my previous statements about it effecting me. I looked closer, and it reaches far outside the perimeter. The gas tax comment still stands though.
  23. DaveH

    DaveH Member

    Something also to keep in mind:

    I hear a lot of people saying the T-SPLOST does not benefit them. Perhaps reconsider this? Atlanta and the surrounding metro area is the economic engine for North Georgia. Lack of maintenance of the 'engine' could lead to loss of power. That would affect everyone.

    It's a bit like grumbling about property taxes going to schools when you have no kids. While it might not seem so, investment in schools is investment in the community. Or so I've heard.....
  24. integroid

    integroid Supporting Member

    DaveH, I completely agree that our infrastructure is pretty bad and it NEEDS to be fixed. If you would have asked me 9 months ago, I would be voting yes for it. Now that I no longer work at an A&E firm and work north of my home, I dont see it much anymore and it no longer bothers me.
  25. DaveH

    DaveH Member

    What if chronic under-investment in the region's infrastructure caused your employer (or clients) to up-stakes and move away? To Charlotte, perhaps?

    It would bother you, I think.

    The bill still needed far more input from traffic engineers and far less from politicians.
  26. nik_05STi

    nik_05STi Member

    I also am not too familiar with this proposed idea. I've seen commercials, billboards, signs, etc... but Im not exactly sure what or how or when this will start. However, the Beltline project idea for Atlanta, which was brainstormed back in 2007 i think, is rarely discussed on the news and paper, and was a mass transit system supposedly as wide as I-285. If that project isnt going to go down, I sure as hell hope this WILL become official. If not, all the DOT officials, or whoever oversees these plans, need to be sniped, b/c they will never get fired.

    My .02
  27. integroid

    integroid Supporting Member

    Trust me, we arent moving:) We own the land and building we are at.
  28. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    Utter defeat, even in Fulton.

    that was a shock.
  29. Smokin_Joe

    Smokin_Joe Member

    In GA, the GDOT doesn't have to listen to the GOV. GDOT has supreme authority over their decisions.

    The GOV can talk a big game about changing this or that but he has no authority over GDOT.

    IMHO, they need to review GDOT and overhaul it.

  30. Matt

    Matt Think before you post Staff Member Supporting Member

    I'm pretty sure GSP is upset about yesterdays vote. I've not seen that many cops on the road in a couple years. It was insane.
  31. b reel

    b reel Active Member

    I like the comment in the AJC about how the Tea Party are fools because it takes a lot of money to make things happen. I think that was the whole reason behind the Tea Party, right?
  32. 07Ltd#767

    07Ltd#767 The Neighborhood Drunk

  33. J_P

    J_P I like pudding pops Supporting Member

    Although Atlanta is not NYC or Chicago I think more people would use MARTA if they saw a benefit. By the time I get to the nearest MARTA station I'm more than half way to work and would lose time stopping to get on the train even during rush hour.

    Extend MARTA up major arteries. It would be nice if we had trains running from Athens down 316, down 75 to Macon, north up 75 to Chattanooga, and include express trains. This would make the biggest impact to our traffic issues. When you see numbers in regards to the average work commute in Atlanta that is not from people inside the perimeter going to a job ITP. The trouble is going from OTP to ITP and vice versa.

    I agree we have to do something if Atlanta wants to continue to compete for business.
  34. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    I predict that they will not try to look at transportation again until there are several incumbants in the assembly.

    I also predict that any wide-sweeping attempt will fail again if it does nothing to address how poorly MARTA is run.
  35. nicad

    nicad Yes I am a troll

    it is, but it is still what makes them a bunch of morons
  36. Jake

    Jake Active Member

    and how do you plan to pay for those MARTA expansions you speak of? i know, how about a ta.....oh wait
  37. Jake

    Jake Active Member

    oh you want better educated employees running MARTA? that takes better pay, and that money would have to come from a ta...oh wait.

    just saying guys
  38. rsutton1223

    rsutton1223 Obsessed Supporting Member

    Just one question though. What do you do after you get off of Marta and you have no car?

    Atlanta just isn't setup for mass transit through rail.
  39. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    I couldn't care less about the education level of the MARTA employees (except the ones given badges and guns, they better be no different from any other cop education).

    When i say "Run" i wasn't speaking about the employees specifically. I mean the structure of the authority to begin with.

    there are many logical problems with the way its run, and with the way the authority says they need federal and state funds.
  40. Jake

    Jake Active Member

    don't disagree. just pointing out that any changes not already slated for the future of MARTA is gonna cost YOU more money in the end
  41. slowwrx

    slowwrx Supporting Member

    10% (conservative figure) of our entire workforce is jobless right now. It would be very easy to make some sweeping changes in a company.

    I would bring in someone from a company that is known for their customer service and let them makes some changes in training etc.

    Look at the customer service you get at Disney, Chick-fila, etc...

    Entitled employees with bad attitudes certainly doesn't make me want to ride Marta.
  42. Mad Mallard

    Mad Mallard the mad mallard

    in reply to Jake:

    Yeah, I recognise that.

    But that was one of the problems (of many) i had with the referrendum: none of the organisational structure in Marta was going to change, so why throw good money after bad money?

    When I see something along the lines I agree with, like maybe something Slow just suggested, i'll be willing to hear a cost arguement.

    However, the things Slow suggested simply won't fly here because the democrat leaders in and around atlanta will have absolutely zero interest in letting a private industry figure have any opportunity to show they might be able to run any part of Marta better. Especially one that doesn't make political contributions to their party.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2012
  43. Matt

    Matt Think before you post Staff Member Supporting Member

    At one time, MARTA had the largest police force in the state.
  44. Electioneer

    Electioneer Member

    I was reading over some things in the AJC.

    Little fun fact: The trolley car project for centennial park to MLK cost $96 million.

  45. slowwrx

    slowwrx Supporting Member

    Instead of a Trolly line we could buy almost 500 commercial buses.

    Which do you think would generate more revenue.
  46. 07Ltd#767

    07Ltd#767 The Neighborhood Drunk

    which do you think would generate more overhead?

    I think the ROI on both would be negative, unless, like we've all said, they make major infrastructure changes
  47. b reel

    b reel Active Member

    MARTA is a big tit with a lot of lips sucking on it. The only way to fix it is if an EMP/nuke hit Atlanta.
  48. J_P

    J_P I like pudding pops Supporting Member

    There are MARTA buses that run everywhere downtown and through Midtown. However, I've never needed them. Once on MARTA I've been able to get to the few places I need to go within a few blocks. Then I just walk.

    For the record I've also used the Gwinnett County transit buses to get down to Lindbergh for work instead of driving when I lived in Lawrenceville.

    Again ITP is not an issue... the traffic is caused by those living in the suburbs driving to jobs ITP. I would use MARTA daily if it actually saved time, but from the 3 places I've lived since moving to Atlanta MARTA doesn't help.

    Atlanta will never be "setup" for mass transit unless you build it.

    Jake I would be willing to pay for something that actually makes a difference.

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