It's now back to work to meet metro area's transportation challengesThe voters spoke in Tuesday’s Georgia primary elections, and there were no surprises in the Coweta County balloting.
Only one of the contested local races was close — Emory Palmer’s narrow win for Superior Court judge over Kevin McMurry.
Certainly, the T-SPLOST vote was no surprise. Probably the safest bet going into the primary election was that voters in Coweta County and the Three Rivers region were going to reject the one penny on a dollar increase in sales tax, with the 10-year proceeds going for transportation.
T-SPLOST was defeated soundly in Three Rivers region and also in the 10-county Atlanta Regional Commission counties north of us in Atlanta.
Many people are simply anti-tax in this day and time when people are jobless and struggling with the economy. This is a terrible time to ask voters for a tax increase.
The bad thing about this vote is the additional money for transportation is sorely needed. Georgia’s contribution to transportation is lower than many surrounding states.
And the current revenue streams for transportation and roads projects is not going to keep up with the need in the next 30 years in Metro Atlanta.
Already, North Carolina, Florida and other states are far ahead of Georgia in transportation planning and the implementing of mass transit projects.
The T-SPLOST defeat — particularly in the ARC region — is a setback for traffic congestion and will ultimately cost our state economic development projects.
But, again, voters spoke loud and clear. No new sales tax.
Now more than ever it’s time for Georgia leaders to step forward and develop optional plans for transportation improvements in our state. In Atlanta, Gov. Nathan Deal and Mayor Kasim Reed have pledged to go to work immediately to tackle that challenge.
Our state and our community need aggressive and progressive leadership to meet the transportation challenges in the decades ahead.