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Why I voted Yes on the #tia2012

July 30, 2012

Disclaimer I am writing this post as CCTGirl, as the girl who started this blog years ago because she loves transit, not as a reflection of any organization that I represent. The opinions are my own. It’s just me talking.

I voted for the TIA, the TSPLOST, the referendum, the whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-it, not because I’ve been working on the campaign but because I honestly believe we need it.

In April 2011 when I first started working on the campaign to push for transit on the list I never dreamed that we would get 52% of the project list designated for for transit. In fact, I had been planning on spending these past nine months campaigning against it and trying to kill it. I had great ideas planned. And then the list had some great things on it and a lot of transit and I found myself in the position of campaigning for it.

Is the list perfect? Nope. If I would have had my say it would have had trains from here to kingdom come and buses and ponies and we would have outlawed BMW SUVs and Hummers. Fiats for everyone! But that list wouldn’t have gone anywhere. And neither would have a 100% roads list. But this list was a good compromise and has the projects I really cared about, like bus service to Clayton County. And when you have to consider 10 counties, compromise is key.

Since we got a list I can support (because I am obviously the key here) we have to pass this. I mean, the projects are great, but the consequences of not passing this are greater.

For starters, if this thing fails, local jurisdictions will loose 30% of their state funding through the local match grant program with GDOT. Then we’ll also be sending our money back to GDOT because we won’t have the local match required since we pay so little gas tax and Georgia will become more of a donor state. I hope you like sending your federal dollars to Alaska! We might as well send our express buses to Alaska as well, because the state is prepared to let GRTA close it’s doors. MARTA service will suffer without TIA funding, because TIA funding along with the continued loosening of the 50/50 (yeah I know thats not passed yet, but lets be hopeful) would allow MARTA the flexibility to use it’s tax revenue to maintain current levels of service. Without some new source of funding, MARTA is looking at another round of Draconian service cuts. And without TIA, Clayton county ain’t gettin no bus service no time soon.

Now let’s talk Plan B. There isn’t one. I don’t care what the Sierra Club or the Tea Party or what anyone else says, Plan B is good f*ing luck. While there are lots of great ideas for sources of funding for transit, the political climate for implementing those just isn’t there. I would love to see state funding for transit, parking fees for transit, the gas tax be raised and the money from it going to transit, but these things aren’t happening any time soon, not in Georgia. There won’t be any additional money for transit until we prove to the state that we want transit as a region and that it is important to us. Passing the TIA is the first step in proving that we are committed to this. And don’t fool yourself into thinking we will be doing this again in two years; as long as Gov. Deal is in office he has assured us we will not get another go at this if it fails. And frankly, MARTA, GRTA, and Clayton can’t afford to keep waiting.

If this time next year this thing failed and we start the process all over again I will be tickled pink while admitting I was wrong, but I just don’t see that happening. But if it fails all you people voting no better have a darn good plan for making all these Plan B schemes come to fruition because a no vote doesn’t mean that you’re voting for the status quo, a no vote means that things are gonna be pretty frickin dire and you’re either ready to Atlanta become the next Detroit (I am not opposed to suburban wastelands) or you’ve got some good tricks up your sleeve.

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