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August 3, 2012

Does vote in Atlanta set a trend?

by Alex Roman - Also by this author

Earlier this week, Metro Atlanta voters in 10 counties shot down the “Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax,” or T-SPLOST, by an overwhelming majority, 63% to 37%.

If passed, T-SPLOST would have created a 1% sales tax to help pay for an already determined $7.2 billion package of regional transportation projects, including $3.2 billion for transit plus another $1.1 billion in local projects.

The vote in Atlanta goes against the typical pattern over the last few years, which has seen referendums that would pay for transportation projects pass by a large majority. In 2011 alone, 22 out of 28, or 79%, of the initiatives on state and local ballots passed, many of which involved levying new taxes, according to the Center for Transportation Excellence. Meanwhile in 2010, 44 out of 57, or 77%, of the initiatives passed.

There were initial reports that the referendum was defeated by an opposition that raised a meager $15,000 compared to the $8 million sunk in by T-SPLOST advocates. However, an interesting article by the Christian Science Monitor dispelled that rumor and also spoke of an unusual alliance between local Tea Party and Sierra Club officials as well as the NAACP.

The article speaks about how this odd alliance defeated T-SPLOST and advocated for a “Plan B,” which would benefit the causes that all three groups advocate for.

With transportation referendums usually finding success, it’s interesting to wonder if the vote in Atlanta will start a new trend that sees the Tea Party, or any other local group of advocates for that matter, impacting votes in other states? What do you think?

In case you missed it...

Read our METRO blog, "OCTA CEO: New federal bill a win for America," here.

Alex Roman

Managing Editor

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  • Lorna Moritz[ August 3rd, 2012 @ 2:21pm ]

    How does one vote set a trend? The exact opposite happened in Los Angeles.

  • Richard Layman[ August 4th, 2012 @ 4:57am ]

    The basic lesson should be (1) don't rely on legislation that requires an artificially short time line -- from bill to vote equaled 2 years; (2) mixing transit and roads doesn't help transit, and still doesn't get people who are primarily road users to be willing to vote in favor; (3) a 10 county regional district is too damn big to get 51% of the voters; exurban residents don't have the same interests as residents in the core of a metropolitan area.

  • Cynthia Jeness[ August 4th, 2012 @ 11:37am ]

    The T-Splost failed because people realized that it was a poorly constructed list of projects which did not address the Atlanta transportation needs in a reasonable way. I applaud the Atlanta region for evaluating this project on its merits and not blindly following the lead of those who felt that any transportation project is better than none. Further sales taxes are regressive and are not appropriate in the current economic times.

  • Mike Martin[ August 6th, 2012 @ 8:02am ]

    Why does this vote surprise anyone. The economy is in the tank, the taxpayers are extremely concerned over how their tax dollars are being used, Government is continuing to grow and the White House is bent on continuing their quest to bankrupt the Country. Makes perfect sense to me.

  • DKS[ August 14th, 2012 @ 11:42am ]

    I am glad the 1% tax was denied. Transit managers are completely incapable to control the transit costs.For example just in the last 10 years or so, the transit car costs have gone up from 1.2 to over 3 Million dollars. Same is true for the othet infrastructure and operation management costs.In these hard economic times we should not tax hard working people to create cozy public sector jobs for the ill qualified buddies and friends of those who are arleady in the public jobs.


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Alex Roman

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