TSPLOST Failed, What's Plan B?

Voters have rejected TSPLOST, but traffic congestion is still a major problem in Cobb and Metro Atlanta.


TSPLOST has failed. So, what's next?

In Cobb, the transportation referendum received a "no" vote from roughly 70 percent of voters. However, many had various reasons for voting no. Voters in all the other 10 counties included in the Metro Atlanta TSPLOST rejected the referendum as well.

Throughout all the debates, forums and rallies, the one thing TSPLOST supporters and opponents agreed on was that something needs to be done about the transportation problems in Metro Atlanta.

It's just that no one has decided exactly what that would be.

There are several reasons for voters' opposition to TSPLOST:

Most people just didn't want any more taxes, especially during this economic downturn.

Some like Ron Sifen, a transportation activist and Vinings resident, supported the concept of TSPLOST, but not the project list.

Others, such as former Cobb Chairman candidate Mike Boyce, wanted to wait until Cobb completed its alternative analysis study before voting for the transportation tax.

Additionally, others felt like the TSPLOST simply would not benefit their community. District 4 Commission Candidate Lisa Cupid said, "Just because jobs are coming (as a result of TSPLOST) doesn't mean jobs are coming to us."

The Georgia NAACP said the transportation tax would not benefit minority- or women-owned businesses.

Now that TSPLOST has failed, what's Plan B? What are your suggestions and ideas for improving traffic problems in Metro Atlanta? Tell us in the comments below.

For any and all of these reasons, it failed, so what's Plan B? Is there a Plan B?

Various elected officials, organization leaders and stakeholders claimed there was no Plan B to TSPLOST. Politifact Georgia deemed that claim to be "mostly false" in a recent assessment.

During a July 23 TSPLOST forum in East Cobb, State Rep. Ed Setzler, who chairs the Cobb delegation, said, "We can come back in two years with a project list that's worthy of our support."

Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) said flat-out, "There is a Plan B."

The Atlanta TEA Party and Sierra Club have already drafted a plan B, which includes allowing local governments to form fiscal partnerships with GDOT.

Sifen wrote in a recent Marietta Daily Journal column that Plan B must begin by "establishing sensible criteria." One of his criterion was, "Regional road projects must be designed to reduce commute times in corridors that serve at least 60,000 car trips per day, and where traffic flow is impacted for at least 5 miles."


What criteria would be needed for you to vote for a TSPLOST Plan B?

Brian August 01, 2012 at 10:43 PM
There can't be a plan B because three regions voted in favor of T-Splost. So we'll just have to wait two years. The only good thing I see coming in the meantime is that for every region that rejected T-SPLOST, local governments need to match all state projects 30% or they won't get done. That poison pill was written into the legislation. So that may mean the state won't spend as much on transportation (since local governments will only match what they deem worthy) and for the first time the DOT may build up some reserves that could come in handy when there's a need for a big project. Unfortunately, federal earmarks are probably going to vanish. Other than that, watch traffic get worse without any transit options for days we don't want to sit in traffic. I think the advocates will get the last laugh since although no one wins, we get to tell you "I told you so". Sadly, Cumberland's in trouble because it desperately needed transit to stay competitive with the Perimeter. Now it's probably going to be competing with Windward Parkway.
Brian August 01, 2012 at 10:54 PM
> "Regional road projects must be designed to reduce commute times in corridors that serve at least 60,000 car trips per day, and where traffic flow is impacted for at least 5 miles." That's ridiculous. At 5mph, that means you'd be sitting in a car for 1hr just to go 5 miles. I can agree with a certain number of cars per day, but think the 5 miles thing is a bit too constraining. I also think regional projects can have value of consolidating high density development or relieving future congestion as well. I don't think people were thinking straight when they said it only needs to be to relieve existing congestion. Relieving future congestion from growth is valuable as well since that's pain we'll be feeling soon. For transit, I believe rail to any of the major employment, entertainment, or population centers is valuable. However, for population centers, I believe we need stations with large parking garages and on major arteries leading to West and East Cobb along with the central cities like Smyrna, Marietta, and Kennessaw. Town Center definitely needs transit because of all the growth in Cherokee county. Stopping in Cumberland isn't adequate long-term. I think the alternatives analysis is good. Hopefully, a commuter rail option on the CSX line will be considered. However, by most accounts that's more expensive.
Brian August 01, 2012 at 10:55 PM
As I mentioned, the biggest loser in all of this is Cumberland CID. It doesn't collect enough from its own 1% taxes to fund transit on its own. Hopefully, a backup plan for Cumberland can be determined. Likewise, Town Center is an even bigger loser since although it's conceivable that the state will find a way to get transit to Cumberland, it's highly unlikely it'll make it all the way to Town Center.
John Himot August 02, 2012 at 03:58 AM
Plan B there is NO plan B . I wonder if our Mayor has a plan B since this was the plan he signed off on to put to a vote. Little Bad News if you dont spend money wisely dont come knocking at our door asking for more. Just not going to happen.
John Himot August 02, 2012 at 04:01 AM
Pardon I forgot to say the name of our Mayor.......Mark Matthews. Call the city hall and let him know how you feel about his defeated plan or you could just e-mail him at his city e-mail address (he has used that for personal bussness so I am sure he would not mind). You can find it on the Kennesaw City Web site.
John Himot August 02, 2012 at 04:04 AM
Cumberland has already soaked up enough from us. Let them eat cake.
John Himot August 02, 2012 at 04:06 AM
The biggest winner here is the tax payer. Learn to spend money more wisely first before asking us to pay more.
ACC-SEC Booster August 02, 2012 at 07:21 AM
Plan B? You wanna know what Plan B is? Plan B is federally-imposed congestion pricing on all lanes of the Interstate system in the Atlanta Region as instead of just one HOT lane in each direction of the expressway we'll likely see every stretch of Interstate and Georgia 400 converted into High Occupancy Toll expressways with exorbitantly-high adjustable tolls to push excess local traffic to clear them for the increasingly-high volume of out-of-state and through traffic that the State of Georgia has refused to accommodate over the last two decades and likely will continue to refuse to accommodate in the foreseeable future.
Glenda Krebs August 02, 2012 at 12:11 PM
We once had a governor who really cared and tried to implement a more expanded commuter rail system. Do we really want more land chewed up by more roads, more cars, more pollution?
Just A Grunt August 02, 2012 at 02:13 PM
For residents of South Cobb there was nothing in TSPLOST for this side of the county, instead it was all for the I-75 corridor. I have used CCT/MARTA/GRTA services in the past when I had to go into an office. My company has adopted a work at home program in recent years to reduce costs of leasing office space and the associated expenses, which was promoted under current program incentives in Georgia. My complaints with current mass transit. CCT buses, there is only one route serving our area, is erratic and too sparse to be of a benefit. The longest part of my commute when using mass transit was waiting on CCT buses either at the Holmes Transit station or the bus stops. It appears the posted schedules are merely suggestions. The buses run too infrequently to be of any benefit. Future state I am against rail projects for the reason that once a rail line is in place it is there to stay and the demographics of the areas served are always changing. It wouldn't be long before those stops could very well be vacant. You will have a train to nowhere then. One of the reason rail works in Europe so well is they are not as mobile as Americans are. (cont)
Just A Grunt August 02, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Any highway project has got to take into consideration the driving habits of residents. The biggest problem I experience in our traffic pattern is everybody always seems to want to be the first to the next stoplight. Congratulations, you beat me. Americans love the independence an auto provides. Look at changing the rules of the road. Also the highways and roads around here need much better signage. I cannot count the number of times I have found myself in turn only lane or signs for the correct lane on the interstate come too late to be of any good. How many times have you seen some clown cut across 3 lanes just because they realized that this was their exit or where they wanted to turn. Granted a little common sense would go a long way but it seems that is in as short a supply as water in the Sahara. I blame a lot of Atlanta's traffic woes on the drivers themselves. Work on connecting the burbs to the actual metro area itself, and it appears the biggest obstacle to this has been the various county transit systems themselves arguing over granting rights for buses to operate on their turf. If they can't work out their petty differences then other types of cooperation are sort of moot.
Glenda Krebs August 02, 2012 at 02:23 PM
You mean like all those vacant paved monstrosities that are left behind whenever a Wal-Mart moves? At least an abandoned rail line can be turned into a successful attraction like the Silver Comet trail with a whole lot less damage to the environment. I do not see the paving of America as a positive endgame.
Bob Nash August 02, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Consider how another high traffic city has delt with congestion(not the immense size of all traffic tho, I know). Over six decades -- a convincing time to me -- Orlando has accomodated consistent traffic situations. How Disney World accomodates half a million passengers per month could provide some hope. They transport every minute a sizeable population ABOVE GROUND.... not in any lanes. Using the OVERHEAD MONORAILS monorails carefully solve monumental CONGESTION NEEDS. Say, a system of monorails covering metro Atlanta. Interstates might have four: Two down the middle of packed lanes, two above the shoulders already paved. In place of existing concrete block barriers down the middle, construct concrete elevated rails above traffic. Along 400, install passengers rails between lanes. Marta did it. Consider two over the medians, two each side over the shoulders. Seems possible to use a concept that's been tried/proven to overcome massive congestions daily for billions of visitors, just in one sizeable locaton -- Disney World with it's nine(always packed, they assure you) resorts. Select a dozen hub locations throughtout metro Atlanta to test it's effectiveness. Maybe even extend this system to lead elsewhere(i.e., Cumming-Buckhead, where those riding monorails over 400 transfer to Marta; Cartersville-State Capital for incoming passengers over I75). The purpose: merge monorails with the city's trans routes already there. Possibly.
Glenda Krebs August 02, 2012 at 03:03 PM
That is a very sensible idea Bob...I bet you will get a flurry of bizarre reasons as why NOT to do that.
Just A Grunt August 02, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Actually Bob that is an intriguing idea. I would like to see some numbers on cost, time to construct, etc. I would hope that could be done without waiting 5yrs for a study. I understand the actual construction would have to run the usual gauntlet of federal agencies before it could start, probably making this something that wouldn't even show any tangible results for another 20 years. Hey this looks like something an aspiring Georgia Tech grad student could sink his teeth into.
Ed August 02, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Maybe they should have thought about congestion a long time ago when they have approved every new subdivision that wanted to build. Oh yea go ahead we will worry about the impact later and tax everyone to death!
Tyler Pike August 03, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Plan B is to vote out all the politicians that tried to shove this garbage down our throats. How dare they ask us to vote a new tax on ourselves due to their mismanaging of funds and projects since the inception of government.
Robbie Huck August 04, 2012 at 03:46 AM
there is a plan already in the works to have variable speed limits on 285. reducing the speed during high volume traffic will smooth out the ride.
Brent Ferguson August 08, 2012 at 08:07 AM
Ga DOT has misspent millions, why institute a tax to give them more? Government will never spend your money as wisely as you can. Please vote down any tax that 1> won't be spent on something important to you or 2> doesn't have an ironclad termination. Remember the tax that used to be on your cell phone bill? The one that was intended to fund the Spanish American war? Politicians like to take your money, getting them to stop doing it can take more time than you think. http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/telecom/2006-05-25-phone-tax_x.htm
Brian August 09, 2012 at 05:30 AM
John: Get rid of Cumberland businesses and then see how much your property taxes increase. You seem interested in biting the hands that feed you.
Brian August 09, 2012 at 05:32 AM
Baltimore-DC is worse for through traffic and I don't see their highways getting converted to HOT-only.
Brian August 09, 2012 at 05:36 AM
EL need not be monorail. Monorail's problem is that it isn't compatible to run on other tracks. It is also not upgradeable to heavy rail without doing it all from scratch.
Chris P. August 09, 2012 at 11:22 AM
Plan B? Remember that the proponents ran their campaign on the premise that "there is no plan B." If we didn't pass the tax, businesses would move out, hordes of angry citizens would converge on U-Haul rental shops to head for Charlotte, and tumbleweeds would be blowing through downtown. So there is no plan B ... unless the proponents were just lying.


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