In the immortal words of Ronald Reagan, “There you go again,” Steve, with your exaggerations and mischaracterizations of the regional transportation referendum.
The July 31 regional transportation referendum gives Fayette County voters the opportunity to decide for themselves whether they want to improve their transportation infrastructure with their own funding resources.
As Steve noted in his “Ga. is mimicking California” letter to the editor, California is talking about building a “massive commuter rail plan” (actually high-speed rail) that will need significant federal support, with strings attached, you can be assured.
That’s a huge difference from the July 31 regional transportation referendum here in Georgia.
I don’t want to get into another debate on the regional project list except to say again that Fayette taxpayers are NOT investing in the Atlanta BeltLine, the Clifton Corridor or any other transit system.
The equivalent of every tax dollar raised in Fayette will be invested only for road projects in and immediately around Fayette County.
But Fayette citizens will clearly benefit from the investments made in other metro Atlanta counties when they travel throughout the region.
Commissioner Brown knows that but continues to imply that Fayette citizens are somehow paying for transit services.
However, Commissioner Brown does bring up one valid point. He said Governor Brown and the California High-Speed Rail Authority may build the high-speed rail without any further input from the voters. Sacramento and Washington, not the voters, will be deciding how much California taxpayers will be spending on high-speed rail.
Back here in Georgia, Governor Deal said, when referring to the regional transportation referendum, “You may not get the General Assembly to be able to delegate that authority back down to local levels of government to participate in the project selection process again if this proves to be unsuccessful.”
The chairman of the Georgia House Transportation Committee is from Ocilla, and the Senate chairman is from Chickamauga. Considering this, it’s just common sense to anyone in Fayette County that you don’t want the Georgia General Assembly involved in project selection for Fayette County.
In fact, Fayette County doesn’t even have one legislator on either the House or Senate Transportation Committees. Commissioner Brown knows that too.
The July 31 regional transportation referendum has listed 157 regional projects that are the only regional projects that can be built with the TSPLOST funds. It’s in the law!
An additional $25 million will go to unincorporated Fayette, $10 million to Peachtree City, $4 million to Fayetteville and $3 million to Tyrone which must be invested in local transportation projects. It’s in the law!
And there will be a Citizens Review Panel that will audit every project to make certain the projects stay within their financial and time limitations. It’s also in the law! And Commissioner Brown knows all that too.
You’ve got to admire Commissioner Brown’s pit bull attitude. But I’m afraid he buried his common sense somewhere in the backyard and can’t remember where he left it.
Regional Business Coalition of Metropolitan Atlanta