Perhaps you've heard something about this proposed one cent tax known as T-SPLOST, which could yield upwards of $8 billion dollars in the metro-Atlanta regional area? Well, it's a hot button issue, and a crowd gathered at Creative Loafing’s Atlantic Station office last night to hash it out. Four stakeholders- representing the Sierra Club, Citizens for Transportation Mobility, The Atlanta Beltline, and the Cobb County Civic Coalition- debated the issue. And guess what? They didn't all agree! But the issue does make for some strange bedfellows- the Sierra Club and people from Cobb County are the team against the tax(?) Creative Loafing staff writer Thomas Wheatley played moderator, but didn’t egg the panelists on as much as the crowd did, which was populated with equal parts suits and skinny jeans.
Sticking points are the highly-politicized projects list and the percentage split between transit and roads (roughly 52%-48%). Critics argue that if T-SPLOST passes, the unlikelihood of further transportation innovations getting funded in the future will be diminished. And they fear funds being tied up in potentially dated projects, which won't reduce traffic congestion. Those advocating for T-SPLOST's passage cite benefits like the further funding for the Beltline project, creation of jobs, and improved infrastructure—“ something to show for your penny,” as Jeff Dickerson put it. In a surprise to no one, several in the contentious audience tried to use their question time as a soapbox for their own opinions. We won’t torture you with that here. But you may want to inform yourself before you vote on July 31. Creative Loafing live tweeted the event and will be covering it in full on their Fresh Loaf blog. Everyone left last night with plenty of unanswered questions, so the virtual floor will be open for Q&A...harness your most alarmist rhetoric and beware the trolls.
- Laura Lindeman