T-SPLOST debate focus of Tuesday ballots

File Photo - Afternoon traffic flows on Interstate 85 near the Beaver Ruin Road exit.

File Photo - Afternoon traffic flows on Interstate 85 near the Beaver Ruin Road exit.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Ed and Gail Gilcrease have seen the commercials. They have read the mailers and searched the Internet for more information.

Like many, the top concern on their mind this election season isn't a candidate or an office waiting to be filled. It's the transportation tax proposal that has most of metro Atlanta talking.

On Tuesday, voters will decide if Gwinnett and nine other counties will impose a 1-percent sales tax over the next 10 years to tackle some long-awaited transportation projects -- from widening roads like Ga. Highway 20 in Sugar Hill to building new rail lines in Atlanta.

Many business leaders have taken a strong stand for the idea, even contributing to an $8 million campaign because they believe it will not only improve traffic but will help make metro Atlanta more competitive in the corporate world.

But a growing mass of leaders from the Sierra Club and the NAACP to tea party groups have blasted the proposal, finding flaws in the regional approach, the list of projects the tax would fund and other aspects.

Days before the Tuesday's referendum, the Gilcreases listened to a debate and still came out undecided.

"I was thinking of voting against it until (the debate). Now I have to think about it," Gail Gilcrease said, describing the pair as tea party supporters who agree with the cries that the government doesn't deserve more taxes.

But with a growing traffic problem and few other solutions seeming likely in the near future, they wonder if this is the only opportunity to address the need.

"When I hear people talk about a 'plan B' that isn't defined, I can see us here in two years, four years, six years, and we'll have the same arguments," Ed Gilcrease said. "I just see this as kicking the can down the road."

In the past several months, leaders have shifted from wondering whether the public would pay attention to the proposal to making sure the lines at the polls aren't too long.

Gwinnett Elections Supervisor Lynn Ledford said she has no way to predict Tuesday's turnout, since early voting has dwarfed the usual primary season statistics.

Before last week's peak of the early voting, Ledford said nearly 4,000 people had filled out ballots, whereas the same time period in 2008 (the last presidential year) brought 300 to 400 people before the primary.

In the first four days last week, another 5,000 people cast ballots, although numbers were not available by press time for Friday.

Stephanie Callaway said she wanted to be sure to vote "no" on the referendum, so she journeyed from Loganville to the elections office last week, her last week of maternity leave before going back to work.

"I think it doesn't have anything to do with bringing jobs here," she said. "I know my employer doesn't care if it takes five hours for me to get to work, as long as I get there."

Lois Wyatt of Lilburn didn't want to reveal how she punched her ticket, but she said the issue was at the top of her mind.

"I think it's necessary, but I'm not real sure that some of the things they are talking about are going to work," she said, adding that projects like bike paths may not help traffic.

While plenty of people made up their minds early on the issue, the Gilcreases said they still had a few issues to mull out in their minds.

"When the government gets money, it goes out a lot faster," Gail Gilcrease said. "But I think there are a lot of good stuff to pay for with it."

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday.


JohnGalt 1 year, 8 months ago

There really is nothing to debate here.

  • We are already paying an enormous transportation tax burden and have been through ridiculous gas taxes.
  • The DOT has repeatedly demonstrated a total lack of regard to being good stewards of taxpayer's money where transportation projects are concerned.
  • GA400 Toll Lanes conveniently which now will be removed now that TSPLOST is in jeopardy and the HOT Lanes along I-85 should be convincing enough that your representatives aren't listening to you.
  • If you live on one side of the planet and commute to the other side of the planet, that isn't OUR transportation problem. That is YOUR transportation problem.
  • Many of the proposed projects are just enough to get us started requiring TSPLOST II, III, IV, V, and so forth and so on to complete.
  • And the wording of the referendum on the ballot for the dumb masses: "Provides for local transportation projects to create jobs and reduce traffic congestion with citizen oversight. Shall Gwinnett County's transportation system and the transportation network in this region and the state be improved by providing for a 1 percent special district transportation sales and use tax for the purpose of transportation projects and programs for a period of ten years?" Oh yeah...who doesn't want to improve transportation, right?
  • If these people promoting this crap were so sure of it's merits and success potential, then why was it strategically placed on the ballot this summer instead of the election in November where it would have been much more certain to have received better voter input?
  • Spare me the unsubstantiated BS about losing jobs and business to other areas if this doesn't pass. All one needs to do is travel in a hand full of other major metropolitan areas to see how traffic is many times worse The people behind this are the same people who stand to benefit substantially from its passing.

Just send them a loud and clear message. VOTE "NO"!


jjbod1 1 year, 8 months ago

Completely agree with JohnGalt, but wanted to add. Have we not already been building and expanding on MANY of the roads here in the past 20 some years??????? Gee, where did all that $$$$$ come from to do all that work. THE SAME PLACE IT WILL CONTINUE TO COME FROM WHEN WE VOTE DOWN THE TSPLOST! Wake up sheeple!!Just is just a way for the gov to line there pockets with more $$$$. The roads will still get build just as they have been being built. You already pay road building taxes!


JimmyOrr 1 year, 8 months ago

Many of you may have voted via absentee ballot or taken advantage of early voting at the Gwinnett County Elections Office on Grayson Highway in Lawrenceville. Some of you may have voted this past week at one of the four satellite voting locations. I trust you voted NO to TSPLOST. If you have not voted, please go to your poll on Tuesday, July 31, 2012, and vote NO to TSPLOST.


CD 1 year, 8 months ago

I voted no and have encouraged dozens to do the same. Most of my colleagues at the office will also vote no.

However the fact remains that the Gluttonous Heathens will exact their revenge and apply the maximum amount of punishment to the citizenry possible for removing their latest vehicle for gluttonous consumption. In Gwinnett, homeowners should prepare for a minimum of a 30% increase to their property tax bills, while the foolish subsidy to the Chamber persists. In addition, those that utilize the toll road in Gwinnett should expect price increases. The Heathens will continue to examine every source for revenue as a means to punish the citizens for voting this fiasco down, while there will be no further talk of budget cuts even as our national economy continues to slow.

Stand firm, vote no, and force the Heathens to tip their hand and vote for tax increases. Then vote the Heathens out.


Gwinnettsince1991 1 year, 8 months ago

From the same people who brought you the Peach Pass. Just another government trick to take your money. I do not trust our government nor do i believe they have my best interests at heart with this plan.

Do we want to become like cities like Chicago and New York where people no longer want to live there due to prohibitive taxes? For example- last week I was in Chicago, Gas prices were 30 cents a gallon more expensive than 90 miles from the city while I paid $3 tolls on 11 different times on a weekend visit. Is this the type of government we want? Both locally and nationally?


apsLilburn 1 year, 8 months ago

Please don't forget that the "jobs" created for the American people will only be for politically correct union members. Normal hard working Americans will be shut out yet again. Vote NO!!


HonestIngine 1 year, 8 months ago

I agree with everyone. Putting a pencil to the #'s. Suppose you have $30,000 disposable income, after Federal, State, County, City, Social Security, Medicare, TAXES.. just to name a few. That is $300 out of your families mouths into the government's corupt politicians pockets.You can't tell me Mayor Reid, who is following in the footsteps of Mayor Campbells' shady dealings is on the up and up. look what happened when his brother got caught, that's another cover up. anyway, Gov. Deal is no saint either...his bankrupcy just...poof and went awa, come on look at the real reason they are pushing this down the citizens throats.Money, for their pockets. How much more are the citizens going to be able to take, before we say enough is enough. Vote NO and Vote no to all incumbents July 31st and especially in November!


JohnPDunn 1 year, 8 months ago

I'm against the TSPLOST for all of the reasons mentioned, but here's another consideration: Gwinnett County has two SPLOSTS -- the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for schools, and the second that funds capital improvements for county operations. Atlanta and the MARTA counties have long been envious of the use of SPLOSTs by suburban counties, because in their view, that is money that is not helping with their funding for MARTA. Wouldn't it be great if the suburbs gave up their SPLOST for an alternative that would have a huge portion go to MARTA? And give it up, we will, when given the choice the next time a SPLOST referendum comes up. That is the wild card that the business community -- and the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce -- do not take into account when they throw their support behind TSPLOST. Sure, many of their members stand to profit from this tax, but one, or both of our county SPLOSTs, will likely go away due to a sense of creeping overtaxation. Then their apple cart will really be upset. Think about it Gwinnett. Vote no on TSPLOST. John Dunn Gwinnett County Commissioner, 2001-2004


kevin 1 year, 8 months ago

the dbate on this tax is over already. It is a loud NO. Nothing will convince us to vote for it. We will be getting higher property taxes this year and higher everything at the market place. Gas is 10-20 cents cheaper in Ala. Georgia taxes on gas is one of the highest in the nation. why hasn't that money been put into action for road work? Because of the maintenance costs. Very same problem with these tax projects. What is planned is NOT going to solve any morning and evening rush hour problems. Neither has the hot lanes.


Mack711 1 year, 8 months ago

@ Kevin Last Thursday we bought gas for 2.999 per Gallon in South Carolina from a QT there. While gas at our QT here was $3.389 per gallon. What is the difference? GADOT can not manage their funds properly so they want us to pay for their mistakes....then keeping making the same costly mistakes again.


teelee 1 year, 8 months ago

Gas was $3.15 a gallon in Tennessee near I-75. When I got home to good ole Lawrenceville it was $3.37 a gallon. Georgia jacked up our fuel tax when gas was going crazy two years ago behind our backs and now e are paying millions in extra fuel tax every day! Vote NO, they have plenty of money at our expense!! Georgia used to have some of the cheapest gas in the nation and the best roads, what happened?


Kent 1 year, 8 months ago

It is a shame my commissioner Mike does not have the gonads to speak out against this tax abomination. He claims since he is on the BOC he is prohibited from taking a position. That is total BS. There is an implication the Tea Party is also for it since their leader Debbie Dooley is fully supporting Mike.


R 1 year, 8 months ago

For the record Debbie's choice in district 3 doesn't indicate any support of TSPLOST for the region or statewide by the various TEA parties. It's VERY much the opposite...

The statement about not being able to comment on TSPLOST by Mr Mike is VERY strange indeed, since other commissioners in the state HAVE no problem either indicating a pro or opponent position...

Maybe it's because a lawsuit has been threatened concerning the issue or he just got confused since Gwinnett has been involved in so many lawsuits during the last 4 years, he just couldn't remember the actual status of this particular case...

However our BOC has a plan in place to spend the funds if the tax passes, they don't have to support it publicly - they just have to spend the money, a sweet deal if ever there was one to be sure...


FordGalaxy 1 year, 8 months ago

I keep hearing that this tax will improve traffic flow. How about adding correct timing to the red lights throughout metro Atlanta so the flow of traffic doesn't grind to a halt every 200 feet. Just the other afternoon I turned south off Hwy 20 onto Peachtree Industrial. I had to stop at the intersection to wait for the turn signal. Then I had to stop at the next light, not even a quarter-mile away, and then I had to stop again at the next light, maybe a half-mile away. It really didn't help the traffic flow at all. Just retiming those lights would keep the area moving.


jack 1 year, 8 months ago

Most of the big ticket items won't start construction until 2021, like I-285/GA400 interchange & Clifton corridor. This means the improved traffic flow won't occur before 2027 or 2028, at the earliest. By then, the HOT lanes will have spread across all the interstate highways negating any (hypothetical) traffic improvements.
As I will most likely be deceased and far from caring when/if these projects get completed, I'll vote to leave my pennies to my meager estate.


JohnGalt 1 year, 8 months ago

Assuming you have an estate Jack. They are working diligently to get a piece of that action too!


Mack711 1 year, 8 months ago

As long as the HOT lanes and the State toll road authority (SRTA) and Ms. Evans is employed by the State we should not vote for any transportation tax of any kind. After SRTA took a lane away from us on I-85 causing even more congestion. They plan to do this on all major highways in and aroud the Atlanta region.


Don 1 year, 8 months ago

So Atlanta Mayor Reed is stating that Dallas is leaving us behind and we must compete with Dallas.

Here is the isues I have with that. 1) Texas has no state income tax! 2) Gas is cheaper in Texas than GA 3) The sales tax rate is currently about what we pay here in Atlanta (6%) 4) GA has a state income tax 5) We have a the same sales tax rate currently 6) If the T-Splost goes though we will have a higher sales tax rate than Texas

So Mayor Reed and you please explain where Dalls is getting its revenue to leave Atlanta in the dust?

I am voting no for the simple fact we just do not manage our funds correctly now so how will throwing more money at it will solve the issues.

We all need to learn within our means and function more effectively and efficient.


Mack711 1 year, 8 months ago

Don Please do not forget about the other SPLOST that already exist in ohter areas of the state that Texas may not have. Dallas has abou the same amount of traffic that we have here.


JohnGalt 1 year, 8 months ago

I want the Toll Lanes taken down as promised on GA400. I want the HOT Lanes taken down and restored back to HOV lanes on I-85. And I want this absolute runneth amuck of a Gov'ment agency, the SRTA, abolished. None of these provide any value to the people and only stand to line somebody else's pocket at our expense.


gwinnettisgreat1 1 year, 8 months ago

I voted against job creation, releaving congestion, magical unicorns and warm fuzzy puppies. If untie ATL had promised popcorn and cotton candy, I might have voted yes.


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