Fayette GOP opposes T-SPLOST mass transit projects
Half the proposed $6 billion to be raised from the 2012 10-county regional transportation sales tax referendum will be wasted on mass transit projects “not in the general interest,” charges the Fayette County Republican Party.
Only rail and bus projects that pay their own way from construction to operation costs will get local Republican support, the Executive Board of the Fayette GOP said in a news release last week.
The Fayette GOP had some pointed advice for Fayetteville Mayor Ken Steele — a reelection candidate this fall — and Fayette County Commission Chairman Herb Frady: Remember this opposition when you go back this month as Fayette’s representatives to the Regional Transportation Roundtable, the group tasked with deciding which projects get funded with the transportation special local option sales tax (T-SPLOST).
Here’s what the Fayette GOP said:
“The Executive Board of the Fayette County Republican Party (FCRP) recently adopted a resolution staking out the party’s official stance regarding the upcoming T-SPLOST referendum set for 2012.
“The text of the resolution is as follows: Whereas:
“• Government is created to defend our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness;
“• Government operated transportation, funded by taxes on the general population for the benefit of limited users, is inconsistent with U.S. Constitutional principles;
“• Georgia’s Transportation Investment Act of 2010 authorizes general taxation to defray transit riders’ full operating costs;
“• TIA 2010 transit projects are not in the general interest, having little effect on mitigating highway congestion, improving air quality, or reducing gasoline use;
“• The costs per passenger mile to build, operate and maintain transit projects is significantly more expensive than for highway projects;
“• Transit projects serve a much smaller number of users than highway projects;
“We do hereby resolve, with regard to TIA 2010 transit projects, to support only those projects shown to have sufficient revenues and direct-user collections to cover their construction, operations, capital placement and maintenance costs.”
“Party Chairman Lane Watts said, ‘After an in-depth study of the issues surrounding the transportation needs of the Atlanta region and the upcoming vote on the T-SPLOST next year, the Fayette GOP decided it was time to wade into the debate. The sentiment expressed in this resolution, we believe, is the most fiscally prudent course and will greatly benefit the citizens and taxpayers of the metro Atlanta region. We strongly encourage the Regional Transportation Roundtable and Fayette’s representatives to the RTR to take these views into consideration.’”
All the voters in the 10-county Atlanta Regional Commission area will get to vote on the 1-cent added sales tax for transportation next summer.
A majority vote of all the counties lumped together will allow the new levy. That regional tax vote — first in Georgia’s history — will mean that even if an entire county votes against the tax, the T-SPLOST could still be imposed within that county if a regional majority votes for it.