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TSPLOST 2.0 – maybe one day we’ll get transportation options

January 30, 2014

I’m glad to see that the UrbanCommuter wrote such a lovely post on snowpocalypse 2014 (but I disagree on not blaming Nathan Deal. Blame him. Blame him like he’s a red-headed step child and then elect Jason Carter as your next governor,  Georgia.) While the city was falling apart and sleeping on the roads, I think many of you might have missed the announcement of the TSPLOST 2.0 Wednesday morning, on the cusp of the natural disaster that had the Twitterverse demanding another go at the transportation funding mechanism the region decided it didn’t need just 1.5 very short years ago.

BFFs the Sierra Club and Tea Party joined forces with the business community to form yet another unholy alliance called PolicyBest, this time led by the brilliant Charlie Harper of the Peach Pundit to demand a go at a smaller scale TSPLOST 2.0 and the unrealistic goal of diverting the 4th penny of the gas tax or of the already underfunded general fund and back to transportation, where it belongs. (Holy run on sentance!) I told Charlie that I hope he proves me wrong on my jaded disbelief that the legislature will never give up the 4th penny, but the Sierra Club has been demanding that as long as I’ve been advocating for transit and they haven’t made any progress yet.  Keep in mind that if that does happen, transit is excluded from access to the current gas tax funds, by state law, so that would have to be a part of the deal for it to be a good deal.

TSPLOST 2.0 has some passing potential in that it would allow votes in much smaller regions,  two or more counties or municipalities, and could mean fractional sales taxes, a much easier pill for voters to swallow. This legislative session has already given us HB 195, proving this ability for areas to begin planning their own mind – TSPLOST, should it pass this year. But with elections looming this fall, don’t hold your breath for a productive session.

The pessimistic in me needs to point out that even when this all comes to be (because I think it will, in the 2015 session unless Deal starts putting his weight behind this to make up for Snowpocalypse) that the liklihood of these mini – TSPLOSTs furthering the cause of transit is pretty slim unless we demand it and pray every night and wish upon every birthday candle and penny on the ground for it.  And it still keeps us years behind where we would have been if TSPLOST 1.0 would have passed. But hey, I’ll be tickled pink if I’m proven wrong.

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