The Lilburn Woman’s Club is sponsoring a debate on Monday, July 16 at 7pm, Lilburn City Hall.
The pro TSPLOST debater is Dave Williams, VP of Transportation, Atlanta Regional Commission, and the con debater is Colleen Kiernan, Director, Georgia Chapter, Sierra Club. There will also be time for questions and comments from the audience. Whether you are leaning YES or NO or have not decided, the debate will be a good opportunity to get some clarity on the issues involved.
If you have watched the steady stream of ads supporting a YES vote on TSPLOST , you have seen the claims that it will unsnarl traffic.
The project list is at http://transformmetroatlanta.com/regional-projects/ where you can view the 157 projects for the metro Atlanta Region which includes Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties or view only the 22 projects that have been established for Gwinnett County.
According to the Gwinnett Chamber information sheet (http://www.gwinnettchamber.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Transform-Metro-Atlanta-Information.pdf), “the project list cannot change so voters know exactly what they are voting for or against”. Our challenge is to take the time to carefully review the list. The project map shows the scheduled date of each project and a project description. All project descriptions in this article are taken directly from transformmetroatlanta.com.
If rail transit were available do you think it would be utilized in sufficient numbers to reduce traffic in Gwinnett?
A $95,000,000.00 item in the project plan will be to fund the corridor planning, engineering, environmental review and assessment, and possible limited right-of-way acquisition for the future implementation of rail transit along the I-85 North corridor. The project will connect into the existing MARTA rail system at the southern end and extend northward through Gwinnett County to the vicinity of the Gwinnett Arena, connecting several activity centers and providing a vital mobility alternative along the heavily congested corridor. An additional $40,000,000.00 will help support the day-to-day operations and potentially implement ongoing planning recommendations for Gwinnett County Transit (GCT), which includes maintaining buses, facilities and equipment in a state of good repair.
The other 20 projects planned for Gwinnett total $702,400,000.00 of which $296,000,000.00 will be used to extend Sugarloaf Parkway from SR 316 to Buford Drive.
The description of the project reads: “This project extends Sugarloaf Parkway as a four-lane roadway about 8.5 miles from SR 316 to SR 20 south of the City of Buford. The project would provide a limited-access route to reduce local traffic congestion in surrounding communities and commuter traffic congestion during rush hours by providing much needed cross-county connectivity. This project will enhance related movement of goods and truck operations resulting in improved economic competitiveness of the state/county.” The Phase 2 Sugarloaf Extension project is not scheduled until 2020 – 2022. Is this project worth almost half the money allocated to Gwinnett County projects?
After understanding the specifics of the projects, the next issue is to determine if the benefits justify the costs. Only informed, individual citizens can answer because the impact will vary depending on individual personal and business purchase patterns. According to http://www.georgia.org/competitive-advantages/tax-exemptions/Pages/sales-tax-use-tax.aspx some purchases are exempt from Sales Tax. The site had a link that lists all the sales tax exempt expenses. Take a look to determine how much your family and business will feel the pinch of the higher sales tax.
If the Regional projects are the right ones and come in under budget and on time, we will have taken steps to correct our traffic problems. If the Regional projects do not produce what they have committed to deliver, we will still have the new tax burden for ten years, still have the traffic congestion and will have more demands for money to pursue solving our traffic problems. On the July 31 ballot we do not have the opportunity to vote on projects so the vote is a YES or NO to TSPLOST.
Join us at Lilburn City Hall at 7pm on July 16 to consider the proposed TSPLOST solution to our traffic problems. Then make your decision, show up and vote!
Also, special note.
Come to Lilburn City Hall on July 16 at 6:15 pm for a Meet and Greet with the judicial candidates running in contested races for State Court, Superior Court and Probate Court and on the July 31 ballot.