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Lady Celeste

Could Transportation Tax Districts be on their way to Georgia?

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If I have my way, the answer will be yes!

I guess if you complain enough...and I am by no means taking all the credit because it was a concertive effort...then things will get done. Months ago there was a topic here discussing the secession of North Georgia from the state of Georgia. Although I did not favor that, I did feel that the transportation needs of metro Atlanta...Georgia's engine and cash cow...were not being addressed. It was my thinking that if south Georgia politicans and their constituents did not want a statewide transportation plan then metro Atlanta should form their own tax district to meet the needs of it's constituents. Welllllllllllllll, it looks like finally those in the state house are agreeing.

Because of growing transportation and traffic concerns, some businesses have decided to locate elsewhere instead of metro Atlanta. It is time that the region address the concerns of business leaders who had at one time place Atlanta at the top of their relocation list. If transportation options are more localized then perhaps things can get done. There will be no need for someone outside a region complaining about transportation initiatives that do not directly affect them.

SB39 and SR44 will address and make legal many of my wishes. To be fair, it will allow regions throughout Georgia to form their own transporation regions that will directly address their needs. The metro Atlanta counties can band together to come up with a comprehensive plan to address the needs of the fast growing region of more than 4,100,000 people (the population of the ARC's 10 county region). Perhaps even the area transportation entities can come together as one for the better of all the people. I am soooooooooooo estatic. I can hardly contain myself. The exact proposal I said months ago on Urbanplanet.org are now being pushed by not only metro Atlanta legislatures but out state legislators as well.

The only hurdle now is the need for a constitutional amendment.

Read more about the potential transportation regions here:

The Senate Transportation Committee took up legislation Monday that would allow multi-county regions to levy themselves a one-cent sales tax for transportation projects in their regions.

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Wow this is phenomenal news! I hope this is able to pass. It seems to me that even a conservative state like Georgia would be willing to allow metro areas like Atlanta or whoever to establish these districts.

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Spartan, I think it's phenomenal news as well. I'm actually surprised that it has not gotten any comments from Georgians...although I welcome all comments. These bills would keep local tax dollars local. Perhaps regions could even work together. The Fault Line Highway (Columbus-Macon-Augusta) has been the dream of south and east Georgia politicians for as long as I can remember...what better way to petition federal dollars than by raising your own money through a local tax levy. This could potentially be quite beneficial to out state areas as well as Atlanta.

It is local control of local tax dollars. Now people in south Georgia would not have to worry about their tax dollars being spent on commuter rail, light rail, public transportation in greater metro Atlanta. On a regionwide basis, more can be done. I think the cooperation of like minded people will cause for things to actually get done. Now someone from Bainbridge, Waycross or Statesboro will not have to concern themselves with discussing if GRTA should take over MARTA/CCT/C-Tran/GCT. The can discuss increased connectivity to other parts of Georgia that will be economically beneficial.

These bills could have far greater impact on individual regions than if another Target is about to open. I encourage everyone to call their state reps and ask them to vote YES for these bills.

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I am not sure how I feel about it don't know enough.Macon has benifited from Atlantas traffic problems with several

bussiness locating here instead of Atlanta.my concern is would it help anyone besides Atlanta and

would it stump growth in the rest of the state.As far as the fault line freeway it got stoped in macon because

it would cross over sacred ground.my uncle was head of the county comissioners at that time and

said they had an agreement with the chief of the tribe but he passed away before it was finalized,and

they couldn't reach an agreement with the new chief.

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Traffic would not go away, it would just allow the Atlanta metro area to fund its own projects. Seems like a winning idea all around.

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I am not sure how I feel about it don't know enough.Macon has benifited from Atlantas traffic problems with several

bussiness locating here instead of Atlanta.my concern is would it help anyone besides Atlanta and

would it stump growth in the rest of the state.As far as the fault line freeway it got stoped in macon because

it would cross over sacred ground.my uncle was head of the county comissioners at that time and

said they had an agreement with the chief of the tribe but he passed away before it was finalized,and

they couldn't reach an agreement with the new chief.

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So is this a funding mechanism in addition to the GDOT budgets already set in place but specifically allowing regional authorities to add to their own projects? I can see how this will benefit some areas, including Atlanta. Im wondering though, how this might affect the designation of GDOT funds. Like if GDOT had a huge needed project for Atlanta that was slated to be completed in 2017, but the Atlanta one-cent tax authorities wanted to expedite the project - wouldnt this complicate the GDOT's project schedule? Or could a GDOT say, 'well Atlanta raised 2.3-billion dollars with their sales tax this time period, they dont need the money, lets put it over here.' That wouldnt be fair, if they did that. Im just wondering if anyone thinks that the creation of these tax districts will influence the way the GDOT allocates funds, or worse, if we got a governor who wants to "cut taxes" and eliminate the GDOT if all of Ga's counties were affiliated with tax districts. Just thoughts.

I dont think it would be a good idea for Statesboro-Bulloch to join a network though since all it is the retail hub of the areas between Savannah Macon and Augusta. With annual retail spending over $1-billion and topping larger Valdosta (pretty good for a city our size), it wouldnt make sense to set up a tax district including other counties. Sharing a district with Savannah would probably create even more tension than there already is between the two as well. If only we can get the Northern Arc funded.

Good job LC, I just hope these tax districts dont make room for corrupt law-makers dipping into GDOT funds in the future.

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Great questions you have AM...I hope I can answer sufficently.

This proposed tax districts would work in addition to the GDOT. The GDOT will not fall under the umbrella of the tax districts. It should work the opposite. There are three very efficient Tax Districts in metro Atlanta. The Buckhead CID, the Perimeter Center CID and the Cumberland/Platinum Triangle CID. These districts do not take money from Cobb, Fulton or Dekalb (the three counties overlayed by these CIDs) but rather they add to the tranpostation budgets for these said areas. The concerns of the Buckhead CID may be different from the Perimeter Center CID so local business owners, politicains and board of directors can come to a concensus of what works better for their CID.

The same would happen for the state of Georgia. The Metro Atlanta CID may have a necessity for rail transportation, better suburb to suburb connectivity and HOT lanes. This may not be something that Bulloch may face. With the $.01 sales taxes, money collected could be put with money already designated through the GDOT to get projects moving quicker. These projects will have to be what's best for the regions. Let's say light rail from the Platinum Triangle to the Perimeter Center to the Doraville MARTA Station to the Northlake area and ending at the Stone Mountain Frwy is needed. This could cost the GDOT of transportation...let's say $3.25 billion. The GDOT of tranportation may put this need on the "to do" list (10+ years), if they even consider it viable at all looking at their track record. With the tax district, let's say the 10+ county region all decide that light rail in this area is for the betterment of the region as a whole. Through the tax, $3.25 billion could be raised within 2 years (this is only for illustration...I have no way of knowing until the workings are finalized). The Metro Atlanta Tax District would then build light rail themselves.

Of course that's over simplification of the issue because the light rail would cost more, there are federal matches (which is why CIDs are so vital) and also money put in by the GDOT. Afterall...metro Atlanta will still put money into the GDOT's pot.

Maybe lightrail from Statesboro to Svannah is not needed. So how Metro Atlanta's CID may work may not be suited for Bulloch. Perhaps Bulloch and a neighboring county may want to team up. The beauty of it is is that this additional $.01 tax collected in Bulloch and whatever counties join them will stay right there in Bulloch.

Again, here in metro Atlanta we have three CIDs that have been established for quite some time now and I have yet to hear of or even question if corruption has seeped into the pysche of those over these boards. I also don't think that there will be much dipping into GDOT's funds...other than what was already earmarked in the first place. If you think about it, 70% of Georgia's tax dollars are generated in metro Atlanta...yet all the money go into a bucket and it is divided equitably. The CID would only add additional funds to what we would have gotten anyway. It's just a way of getting local projects done when we need them.

Georgia has to remain competitive...especially in these trying economic times. Transportation Tax Districts will allow for regions to better plan for transportation needs. Without this, business may not find Georgia a good place to locate. It won't matter is Georgia is home to the world's busiest airport or home to 26 F1000 companies...of which 22 are located in Metro Atlanta. If business look elsewhere to forego having to deal with our traffic then the state looses as a whole. This will not take from any other part of Georgia. If a region chooses not to self tax because there is no need then so be it. It's up for the citizens to vote yeah or nay. If the Metro Atlanta region decides to self tax then this could alleviate the need to use more of the GDOT's already dwindling cash on public rail transporation. This could take pressure off of GDOT to build more roads like the Faultline Highway...which seems improbable...but I'm sure there are other projects in other parts of the state that could readily be addressed by the proposed Transportation Tax Districts.

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I was reading that the state senate overwhelmingly passed the TSPLOST, but the House isnt paying much attention to it. They seem to have an agenda for a 10-year one-cent statewide sales tax to fund a list of projects. Nearly all of the projects are located in Atlanta, and then there is a clause about counties with a city of over 15,000 population will recieve $1000 per person of that city.

http://www.accg.org/library/Summary_Transp...20Proposals.pdf

Running the numbers for Bulloch would equal $120,000,000 in sales taxes over the ten year period (estimated from Bulloch's current 6-year $71,000,000 SPLOST IV), but would only recieve $30,000,000 if Statesboro's tiny 12 sq mile city limits even reaches 30,000 which may not be likely at 2,500 density for that to occur. That means Bulloch would receive only 25% of the taxes it generates. Im sure other counties will have a similar situation. Even if the $1000 per person was for the county population, we would only get $75,000,000 at most 63% of local revenues generated.

I definitely prefer the Senate's 39-44 TSPLOST to the House's 277-206 Statewide 10-year Sales Tax. I was also reading on another website (cant find it now) a dialogue between GDOT reps concerning the TSPLOST and they were very worried about 'restructuring' of GDOT funding or the gradual elimination of the GDOT if the TSPLOST is successful. These articles seemed kinda confusing. Does the House have to approve the Senate bill for it to become law, or vice-versa like federal government - or are they completely seperate? One of the news articles said that the House must approve TSPLOST, but has no intention of doing so because they prefer the one-cent state tax.

I think a Statesboro-Savannah light-rail line would be very beneficial, particularly for the University students - they can ride to Savannah to party on the weekends and not drive drunk, or pay too much for gas. For that matter, a rail system connecting Atlanta with all the Tier 2 cities would be amazing. Why cant we be so forward minded.

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These articles seemed kinda confusing. Does the House have to approve the Senate bill for it to become law, or vice-versa like federal government - or are they completely seperate? One of the news articles said that the House must approve TSPLOST, but has no intention of doing so because they prefer the one-cent state tax.

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Georgia's Know-Nothing, Do-Nothing legislature strikes again having adjourned this year's session Friday night without approving any new mechanisms for adding transportation funds. Another opportunity missed, another year behind, thanks to Sonny Perdue, Glenn Richardson and Casey Cagle.

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