Just when Atlantans thought that pesky acronym that rhymes with "We Lost" had been purged from our collective lexicon, TSPLOST is making news again. Earlier this month, a bill was introduced in the state House of Representatives that revisits a permanent funding mechanism that lawmakers had considered a few years ago but left behind — in favor of regional TSPLOST votes that, in Atlanta, resulted in a resounding thud last year, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports. In metro Atlanta, you'll recall, only 38 percent voted in favor of the 1 percent sales tax.
Anyhow, House Bill 195 "would let two or more contiguous counties ask their voters to approve a sales tax of up to a penny to pay for transportation improvements," the newspaper writes. "Participating counties would determine a project list, anticipated construction schedule and cost estimates." The idea was last volleyed about in 2008 as a proposed constitutional amendment, but it fell just three votes short in the Senate after passing the House. Next thing we knew, legislation was passed that divided the state into 12 regions that voted on a 1-cent tax bump for transportation. It failed in all but three regions.
The newspaper quotes one legislator who says the 12-region set-up was too rigid to stand a chance. In metro Atlanta, the 10-county region was so sprawling it lumped urban transit advocates with suburbanites pining for more highways — a recipe for disaster. Would a two-county approach have been more reasonable all along?