Top Ten Lies About T-SPLOST July 31 Transportation Referendum
10 T-SPLOST WILL CREATE 200,000 JOBS
We hear this fib every time powerful private interests want to get their hands on our tax dollars. ARC and the Chamber of Commerce said Atlantic Station would bring 30,000 permanent jobs and the BeltLine 70,000. The AFL-CIO, who ought to know, don't believe this nonsense, and refused the mayor's plea to endorse the T-SPLOST. Even the AJC's Politifact called it a lie.
9 T-SPLOST IS A FAIR AND EQUITABLE WAY TO RAISE MONEY FOR MASS TRANSIT
Sales taxes are highly regressive, falling most heavily on low income consumers, much more lightly on higher income persons, and almost not at all on big corporations and other wealthy institutions like Emory University, which is literally getting its own transit line at virtually no cost to itself. Taxes should be for everybody including the wealthy and big corporations, not just for the little people.
8 THE T-SPLOST PROJECT LIST CAME OUT OF AN OPEN AND PUBLIC PROCESS
The PR hacks saying this count everybody they made a robo-call to who didn't hang up in the first 15 seconds as a “participant.” The project list was concocted behind closed doors by a 21 member “round table” of elite politicians, campaign contributors and other one-percenters like the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Chamber of Commerce, who will raise and spend nearly $10 million on a deceptive PR campaign to pass this referendum. Minority communities like South DeKalb promised rail 30 years ago are pushed to the back of the line in favor of streetcars to the aquarium and the Emory-WalMart-CDC “Clifton Corridor line. Transit planning should be done in the light of day with input from all communities concerned.
7 LOCAL COMMUNITES CAN AMEND THE T-SPLOST PROJECT LIST
Local politicians like to tell this lie to constituents who notice there's nothing in the T-SPLOST project list for their communities. But they know it ain't so. The law says the projects cannot be amended or substituted.
6 T-SPLOST REVENUE WILL HELP FUND MARTA
Quite the opposite. The law not only forbids T-SPLOST funds from being used for MARTA operations, it will necessitate creation of a new body mostly appointed by the governor to replace MARTA as the designated recipient of federal transit funds for metro Atlanta. A body of hostile suburban officials whose constituents invested nothing in MARTA will then control its federal funds. Atlanta, Fulton & DeKalb residents whose taxes built and maintained MARTA's multibillion dollar infrastructure will be cut out of any control over their public investment and their transit futures. T-SPLOST sets MARTA up to be isolated and starved. Ultimately a fiscal crisis will be provoked to be followed by a state takeover, ending in the likely privatization of MARTA.
5 1 T-SPLOST WILL HELP FUND THE BELTLINE AND THAT'S A GOOD THING
The BeltLine is a colossal real-estate swindle that diverts hundreds of millions of tax dollars yearly from Atlanta's cash-strapped and mostly black public schools to enrich well-connected developers, build yuppie housing & shopping. It “economically develops” Atlanta neighborhoods by gentrifying them, displacing poorer and mostly black residents to nobody cares where. Though sold to the public as a transit project the BeltLine it never intended to use any of its billions on transit except bike trails and 5K runs. The biggest chunk of T-SPLOST money in the Atlanta region goes to bail out the BeltLine with streetcars to West End and the aquarium, and to give Emory, Wal-Mart and CDC their own light rail link to the airport.
4 THERE ARE SAFEGUARDS AGAINST T-SPLOST FUNDS BEING MISSPENT
Nothing could be further from the truth. Exactly who and how expenditures get supervised is deliberately vague. There's about a billion dollar gap between the published project costs and the revenue projections. Apparently this is a slush fund to be doled out to local officials for pet projects in return for their support of the July 31 referendum.
3 T-SPLOST IS BACKED BY GRASSROOTS CITIZEN GROUPS WHO WANT BETTER TRANSIT
Grassroots citizens groups don't attract $5 or $10 million in contributions, possibly including secret contributions. They can't afford to hire slick ad campaings, PR firms and platoons of paid speakers and “organizers”. The community groups backing T-SPLOST are mostly well-funded astroturf, the privileged beneficiaries of a few key projects, or the wholly owned captives of their funders. Real citizens groups believe in open, fair, democratic processes and public oversight, and don't push plans cooked up in back rooms and presented to the public as last-chance-take-it-or-leave-it propositions.
2 IF T-SPLOST DOESN'T PASS, “THERE IS NO PLAN B”
The corrupt pols and their contributors who came up with their take-it-or-leave-it plan say it's Atlanta's last and only chance to invest in transit, as if rail and streetcar lines and road improvements will otherwise pack up and move to Jacksonville. It ain't so. The law says we can come up with a new and better list and vote again in two years. AJC's Politifact also confirms this is a blatant lie.
1 T-SPLOST WILL “UNTIE ATLANTA'S TRAFFIC KNOT” AND REDUCE COMMUTE TIMES
This may be the biggest lie of all. If you work at Emory or CDC or the new DeKalb Wal-Mart which gets its own station that might be true. It's not true if you live in South Fulton, South DeKalb, Clayton or much of Cobb County where bus service to job & educational opportunities, or medical is scarce to nonexistent. The Georgia Green Party believes transit investments should benefit the people who live in metro Atlanta neighborhoods now, not just the powerful and privileged, or the newer upscale residents developers and their captive Democrat and Republican politicians want to attract.