North Fulton 'Wireside Chat' Call Finds Anti-Rail Sentiment

The Atlanta Regional Commission hosted a telephone town hall Wednesday, to answer questions posed by North Fulton residents about the upcoming TSPLOST vote.


Transit was on the minds of Sandy Springs residents and many others during Wednesday night’s "Wireside Chat" for North Fulton county. Many residents expressed concern over MARTA's portion of the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) . 

According to the Atlanta Regional Commission, between both the North Fulton and Cobb calls Wednesday evening, nearly 4,500 people took part in the telephone town hall meetings.

Johns Creek Mayor Mike Bodker and Fulton County Chairman John Eaves took questions from local residents on everything from how long the tax will last to specifics about why light rail expansion into North Fulton is cost-effective or even beneficial.

Eaves told callers that he believes MARTA needs to expand to become more accessible and therefore more useful to a wider group of metro area residents. In response to a question about the self-sustainability of the region's transit system, he said more resources were needed now so that it can be a more effective system in the long run, bringing us up to the standards of other big metropolitan cities.

When sentiments of distrust over where the money would actually go and if the tax would ever really end were brought up, Bodker jumped in to say that, while a small group of people decided to extend the Georgia 400 tolls without the consent of the people, that wouldn't happen with the tax. He reviewed the process for the implementation, which, first identifies projects to be funded; and second, puts the option to a vote by the people.

"These projects went through a great scrutiny," he said. "This tax is not intended to create more tax."

Additionally, Bodker said a citizen's advisory committee would keep an eye on the revenue brought in by the tax to ensure it was going to the areas it was supposed to go. A public website would be created and updated with their findings so other citizens could review the intake, as well.

In response to a question about why the gas tax wasn't raised to fund transportation projects, instead of the TSPLOST, the panel replied that there had been no political will to do so.

Information about the July 31 regional transportation referendum, including fact sheets about the 157 projects on the list, is available on the ARC website.

Bob June 08, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Just another waste of taxpayer money. Like the Obama sidewalks and crosswalks we are getting, this is using taxpayer dollars to benefit a few. Fulton county should find ways to cut spending and reduce taxes rather than creating something that is not needed.
Susan Grimes June 08, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Get the facts on the transportation referendum before you decide how to vote. Join a Wireside Chat to ask questions and hear what local officials and transportation planners have to say about the referendum projects. To sign up for a Wireside Chat or listen to audio from previous chats, go to: http://bit.ly/JjUjXO
Marleen June 08, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Let me think: we need to vote to give more of our money to people who have been poor stewards of our money in the past. Isn't past behavior an indicator of future behavior?
Susan Grimes June 08, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Marleen, See FAQs for the transportation referndum at: http://bit.ly/LDFX1k. There are many protections built into this legislation. For Example: "The Transportation Investment Act was specifically designed with the concerns about the 400 toll extension in mind. The law will not allow the tax to be extended beyond the 10 years without a vote of the people. The referendum projects, similar to Special Local Option Sales Taxes (SPLOST), are a contract with the region’s citizens." Get informed before you vote: http://bit.ly/JjUjXO
KellyW June 10, 2012 at 03:52 PM
The improvement of current rail programs as well as the addition of new light rail transit options such as The Beltline Project are crucial for the sustained growth of the city of Atlanta and Metro Atlanta. The transportation infrastructure that we currently has was not built for the increased need for transportation that we have now with more people moving to Georgia and to the city. This referendum needs to be passed to ensure that our transportation stays up to par with the needs of the city.


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