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Public mixed over transportaion sales tax

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Transit was the hottest topic at a Gwinnett town hall meeting on a proposed regional transportation sales tax.

But the crowd of more than 200 was split on whether or not public transportation should make the cut on the $6 billion list of projects.

"We need rail. We need transit," said Sherry Blackwood, who said she rarely goes to Atlanta anymore except using the MARTA system. "The people stuck in (Interstate) 85 traffic can't be here."

But Ron Williams disagreed. "We don't need rail lines in Gwinnett. We need additional police officers and firefighters," he said.

Some people talked about wanting their kids to be able to walk to school or have an alternative to driving to the college campus, but others said their distrust for government officials means they won't be supporting the proposed sales tax, which will be on ballots next year.

"It is a tax increase, and in this environment, it will be a very bad sell," Jef Fincher said, adding that he believes the sales tax has its advantages as well.

The key, he said, are the projects.

"If (soon-to-be HOT lanes) are the types of solutions that come out of this, I can't support this," he said.

After Monday's hearing, Chairwoman Charlotte Nash, a member of the regional roundtable that will finalize the list next month, said Gwinnett still has a way to go to win back public trust after last year's loss of the chairman and a commissioner in a land purchase scandal.

But Chuck Warbington, the director of the Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District, who has lobbied for a rail line along I-85 in Gwinnett, said the safeguards are in place in the sales tax legislation.

"You've got a specific list. You've got a specific timeline. What more could you ask for in regards to spending money," he said.

Nash said the public comments, which are also being gathered in a survey at www.atlantaregionalroundtable.com, which be beneficially in making a list that the public can vote for next July.

"Obviously, there is a wide range of opinions," she said.

Comments

JV 2 years, 6 months ago

For many in Gwinnett, SPLOST has become a dirty word thanks to the follies of our county commissioners over the years including waste, fraud and abuse. Recently we were told that some parks will need to be closed due to lack of maintenance funds. SPLOTS have been used for years to build stuff that Gwinnett County can’t afford to keep up and maintain. Included are all the Libraries some of which have been forced to close or cut operations.

This November Gwinnett will have on the ballot another “E” SPLOST for education. A SPLOST here and a SPLOST there…a SPLOST everywhere. Besides that, TSPLOST is about having a regional entity determine the transportation projects the sales tax collected in a county goes to instead of the counties. T-SPLOST takes away local control by allowing the wishes of the voters in each county to be overridden by the collective vote of the region. Not a very appealing thing with the current county commissioner situation already angering the citizens daily.

Put all of this together with the fact that the current transit buses Gwinnett operates have few riders or are just empty driving around and think you may have a better picture of how the citizens will vote. Trust in SPLOST is just not there.

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BuzzG 2 years, 6 months ago

It's never enough. If the county had not spent all that money on a new baseball stadium and overpriced "park" land, it would have money to throw toward transportation. They wouldn't have to come at us once again for more money. IT IS NEVER ENOUGH.

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Gataxpayer 2 years, 6 months ago

Note that GDOT spokesperson said that they will not know if the hot lanes will work until it is opened. Then they will have to "adjust it" to make it work. That's nice to know considering the million spent on it.

Transportation Investment Act (TIA aka TSPLOST) is not a SPLOST. It is a district tax. SPLOST has no enforcement in the law. TIA has even less enforcement. The public will have to file suit to raise an issue. Once they have the money they can what they want with it. House Bill 277.

They said a citizens review panel will over see the projects as if they are law enforcers. They will be hand picked cronies that will do as they say.

They have no idea if bonds will be used to finance the project upfront.

ARC and GDOT are withdrawing previously funded local road projects to be placed by TSPLOST in an effort to blackmail coerce support for TIA.

The roundtable, that includes the county chairman and a mayor can vote NO on the project list in November and stop this.

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junebug0219 2 years, 6 months ago

I have the perfect solution for all our traffic problems. Send everybody who is not native to Gwinnett County back where they came from. Voila!! Problem solved.

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CD 2 years, 6 months ago

In response to Chuck Warbington's quote regarding the TSPLOST: "What more could you ask for in regards to spending money?". I could simply ask that we have a group of government officials in Gwinnett that understands the importance of wise spending and the need to REDUCE taxation at this critical juncture. Can you read that simple sentence, Chuck?

Folks, 1% of a new car purchase is serious money. 1% here, 1% there, and soon you're talking the difference between a purchase and holding back on the same purchase.

It's time that the voters end the spending spree when the opportunity avails. Vote NO. No to ANY new TAX period. NO to keeping the delvelopers in the lifestyle to which they became "entitled".

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R 2 years, 6 months ago

The issue is killing us one percent at a time. Have we all forgotten the pending state sales tax INCREASE that sits around the corner? You know the tax on SERVICES like car repair, Satellite services or the private used car sales tax collected when you get your first plate etc.? It was withdrawn at the last minute during last session once numbers hit the media showing the claimed citizen's reduction in the income tax rate was replaced with an effective overall INCREASE. And let's not forget the coming attempt at the Federal level to get some type of national sales tax installed - you can use any name you want, but we will pay a just "little" more in the end. We are fast approaching a sales tax rate of 11-14 percent range, if you consider what's out on the horizon. So with the marked increase in SALES taxes, the question remains will overall product sales go down resulting in the requirement to shift some or all of the "burden" to another method?
Warning Will Robinson, Warning, DANGER Will Robinson. (Arms flapping wildly)

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