TSPLOST Letter to the Neighborhood

I figured I'd share a letter I sent out to my neighborhood earlier this week with the NUR readers since it might pertain to some of you...  

Hi everyone!  When I got home today, I noticed a vote NO sign sitting at my neighborhood entrance.  It surprised me to have a bold NO shouting at me before I even walked in the door.  That is generally my 3 year old's job.  I attached another Vote NO sign to this email that makes me feel better.  

Up front, this email isn't for anyone who can't get past a no-tax ideology or an anti-transit bias.  If that's you, by all means, vote NO on Wednesday.
Seriously though, this is an important vote and the Mill Village is significantly impacted by the projects on the list.  It's easy to say no, but everyone should know what they are saying no to.  There are 157 total projects on the list that cover 10 counties.  The tax will raise about $8.5B over its 10 year life. The regional list will receive 85% of the total funds (~7.2B).  The other 15% will be divvied up by the region's municipalities for individual local projects.  See the Roswell list here.  Of the 85%, 52% will go to transit (that's bus & rail) and 48% will go to roads.  But, that's a little misleading since the road projects in many cases will qualify for matching state or federal funds.   So, it's more like 67% roads, 33% transit in addition to the 15% that will go to the localities which can be used as they please, primarily, from what I've seen, on roads and sidewalks. Here are some points everyone should know.
  • Public Input - Over 200,000 metro residents had the opportunity to give input.  Actually everyone had the opportunity but 200,000 participated in some way.
  • Local Control - 21 elected representatives from all around the region were tasked with putting the project list together.
  • Unanimous Agreement - Once the project list was whittled down, all 21 officials AGREED that it was a list that met the needs of the region. 21 Politicians AGREED on something?
  • Tax Sunset - This tax sunsets in 10 years or when the projected funds are raised.  An extension must be voted on by the region.  This is not another GA400 toll.
  • NO PLAN B - The real Plan B is the status quo. So, if you like the status quo, vote no. Anyone who says there is one is pushing their own agenda or they just have their own idea of a better plan.  
How does this directly impact Mill Village?

A YES vote will accelerate the timeline for removal of the reversible lanes on Atlanta Street by ~4-5 years.  This project is fully funded by TSPLOST.  So, instead of getting a safe road in ~2020-2021, we would likely have one by about 2016-2017.  That in itself is enough secure my YES vote.  If you are considering voting no, just remember that you will undoubtedly be locking yourself into 8-10 more years of the suicide lane.  This road project also complements the DPZ Master Plan that was presented to the public last night at City Hall.
Other major projects that will impact us here in North Fulton are the $48M ($23M TSPLOST + $25M Federal) to improve traffic flow at the Holcomb Bridge/GA400 interchange and a total of $450M ($112M TSPLOST + $337M Federal) to improve flow at the I-285/GA400 interchange.  There's also a ton of money in there for roads all around North Fulton such as Arnold Mill and Old Milton.  These projects will be accelerated with TSPLOST and may never happen without it.
There will NEVER be a list of projects that suits everyone and there may never be an opportunity like this again in our lifetimes.  Remember that a no vote gives complete control back to GDOT and the state and takes it away from the region and municipalities.  Let me know if you have any questions as
I've done a lot of research on this topic.  You can also check out my article in the Roswell Current here.
Mike Hadden
image courtesy FakeMARTA