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TSPLOST Fails in Cobb, Metro Atlanta

The transportation sales tax has failed in all 10 metro Atlanta counties including Cobb.

The fierce battle between advocates and opponents of the TSPLOST has come to an end. The transportation sales tax has unofficially failed in all 10 metro Atlanta counties including Cobb, by 167,207 votes—a 26% margin, with 248,319 (37%) voted yes, and 415,526, (63%) voted no.

Cobb voters soundly rejected the referendum with 85,412 (69%) voted against it, and 38,703 (31%) voted in favor, out of the 124,115 votes cast on Tuesday. The 153 precincts didn't complete final reporting until around 4 a.m. Wednesday.

Voters in 12 regions across Georgia were asked to decide on the measure that has potential to generate more than $18 billion for transportation projects across the state over the next decade.

Supporters of the TSPLOST continued to campaign across the region until the final minutes of the Tuesday primary. and are both among the advocates, and said that passing the referendum would create jobs and improve congestion in the area. They also argue that the failure of the tax's passage would cause long-term economic damage to the region.

Opponents of the tax, including and Patch Blogger , suggest that the current TSPLOST package fails to address the real transportation problems in the metro Atlanta region and would only help bring in revenue and short-term jobs.

Here's how Cobb and other metro Atlanta counties voted:

COUNTY YESNOTOTAL Cherokee 9,105 (21%)
35,280 (79%)
44,385 Clayton 16,750 (46%)
19,303 (54%)
36,053 Cobb 38,703 (31%)
85,412 (69%)
124,115 DeKalb 57,915 (48%)
61,792 (52%)
119,707 Douglas 6,383 (32%)
13,534 (68%)
19,917 Fayette 6,677 (24%)
21,712 (76%)
28,389 Fulton 69,064 (49%)
72,365 (51%)
141,429
Gwinnett 28,884 (29%)
70,273 (71%)
99,157 Henry 9,405 (29%)
23,371 (71%)
32,776 Rockdale 5,433 (30%)
12,484 (70%)
17,917

Total:

248,319 (37%)

415,526 (63%)

663,845

*Unofficial results from the Cobb County Board of Elections & Registration as of 4 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1.

How did you vote on the TSPLOST? Are you happy with the results? Tell us in the comments!

The regional transportation sales tax was the one issue that brought many people to the polls across metro Atlanta on Tuesday.

Marjorie Towerie, who voted Tuesday morning at Addison Elementary, said she voted against the TSPLOST because she was told "it was a con and that it wouldn't really help."

A Smyrna voter who preferred to remain anonymous said: "It's not the right time, especially for Cobb. I just don't think we'll get enough for the money."

“I pay enough taxes and I’m not going to pay any more,” said Stephanie, a Mableton resident.

if the 1-cent regional Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax had been approved Tuesday by the majority of voters in the 10-county metro Atlanta region. Residents would be paying the tax for either 10 years or until the expected $8.5 billion in revenues has been collected, whichever comes first.

were listed on either the 85 percent list, which were developed and approved by the Regional Roundtable; or the 15 percent list that included local projects. Each of Cobb County's four commissioners were allotted $34.69 million to give to projects in their districts.

H. C. Robinson August 01, 2012 at 10:38 AM
I am pleased with the outcome. Throwing alot of money at a problem the same way we have for years at GDOT does not cause our growing traffic to go away. We need comprehensive planning on a macro scale, not alot of small projects. All of our STATE fuel tax money needs to go to solving our traffic problems. We need to look at the big problem first before developing solutions. Improving an interchange here or adding lanes there may only cause a ripple effect and move the problem down the road. Maybe GDOT has done this planning already, but they failed to convense the people. GDOT and the STATE need to account for their expenses. I think it is time we get some new blood at GDOT and ARC and lets bring some fresh ideas to an old problem.
Ceci August 01, 2012 at 10:48 AM
VERY happy with the results! The voters have spoken, and we're not letting this slip our hands! Instead of blaming the TSPLOST opponents for "complaining", really, why don't these "officials" and "business leaders" who support it come up with a plan with the actual taxpayers and the people in mind and not just their wallets? Talking about making sense, don't blame us if you don't do your job good enough. And for those who blamed all the flaws on Obama? This has NOTHING to do with the president btw. Start holding your own local officials accountable people!
jeremy_d August 01, 2012 at 11:16 AM
Hallelujah! No to TSPLOST!
Richard Swartz August 01, 2012 at 01:00 PM
It's sad to see that the people who's solution to everything is to do nothing have gained such a large majority of the voting population. But these will be the first people that complain when the government doesn't have enough money to pay people to handle the license bureau and you have to stand in line for 4 hours. As long as the attitude is that all government is bad prevails, nothing will change, infrastructure will not improve, companies will not move here and we will continue to be the 49th state in per capita spending on transportation. We are in an awesome position to take advantage of the region with Hartsfield Jackson and the Savannah port. But narrow minded people that can't see the direct benefit to themselves and can't see how benefiting the region benefits their own lives makes trying to get something accomplished as a society pretty difficult.
Ra Barr August 01, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Mr. Robinson (above) is correct. A comprehensive, coordinated plan for traffic/transportation management is needed, not another "wish list" to funnel taxpayer money for everybody's favorite project. SPLOST votes are likely to be harder to win in the future; local governments need to live within their means and provide services that are truly NECESSARY. If more money is needed, raise the taxes in a PUBLIC manner and be accountable TRANSPARENTLY. What's so "special" about SPLOST when there is a continuing stream of taxes? As has been said before, it's not "a penny" when the school board gets one and the county gets one and then the region wants another. Listen to the voters!
Paisley August 01, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Am I happy with the results? No, I'm ECSTATIC! "No" to more government control. "No" to more taxes. Anybody who believes that government is the answer to their problems is naive and gullible.This so-called 10 year tax would have been like the GA-400 tax. Remember that one? It was only going to be around until 400 was paid for ... and how many decades ago was that? Yet the tax is still around. Way to go my fellow citizens!!! I'm proud to be a Georgian today.
Chris Long August 01, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Yes, the TSPLOST was a resounding failure b/c people didn't want to take action & don't know what's best for them. As long as you think that is why TSPLOST failed, you will always be disappointed.
Greg M August 01, 2012 at 02:23 PM
The American public is already taxed to death and right now with the economy the way it has been for the last 3 years, taking more money out of our pockets was not going to happen. It comes down to, we simply don't trust the officials to do what they say they will do with the money. Then many of the so called agenda items have no benefit to the rest of us. One was they would eliminate the toll roads? You mean 400? That's the only toll road I know we have in metro Atlanta and as a Cobb resident I may only go down that part of 400 twice a year so I'm happy to continue paying that .50 cent toll as often as I have too. Eliminating that toll booth means little for most Cobb residents certainly not worth a 1% tax increase. So right now we need to be lowering taxes not raising them. Georgia won last night, thanks to everyone who stuck together and got rid of that tax! It was a great victory for every tax paying citizen!
David Welden August 01, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Good article, Patch. As indicated by the Comments, there are a lot of differing views on why folks opposed the referendum. The "trust" factor being one of the most important. As indicted by the table in your piece, one size does not fit all. Clearly, Clayton, Dekalb and Fulton counties may benefit from some form of regional plan. But the other counties in the "Atlanta Region" are best if left to their own actions. If a few counties want to collaborate to share some major projects, let them do it. One can easily envision Cobb teaming-up with Douglas, Paulding and Cherokee to improve some interchanges to improve traffic flow. But it makes no sense for Cobb to be involved in funding projects in downtown Atlanta. Within Cobb, the needs are different in different areas. Certainly, SW Cobb has different needs than NE Cobb. The TSPLOST project list did very little for either. Good job on getting the vote out!
Pam J August 01, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Does everybody remember that we did vote for the SPLOST last year? We are already paying a penny more for that.
Lissa K. August 01, 2012 at 04:17 PM
My thoughts exactly. Accountability and citizen input is needed.
Chuck Snow August 01, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Sadly our problem with wasteful politicians who think that the cure to all of our problems is to simply throw money at them isn't over. The next issue to arise will waste more money. The final cure is going to be when all of the money is gone or the voters replace these wasteful and often criminal politicians at every level of government. Replacing them with one term citizens to run the show.
Lissa K. August 01, 2012 at 04:25 PM
But you've got to factor in the corruption in GA. According to the Center for Public Inquiry GA is on the list as one of eight states for the highest risk of corruption. Not good. It's not narrow minded people that're working against this state it's corrupt politicians.
Lissa K. August 01, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Smyrna still hasn't done the projects from the 2005 SPLOST.
Lissa K. August 01, 2012 at 04:41 PM
And what I mean by that is that the money is gone and the projects haven't been done. They've added those projects to the 2011 SPLOST.
Lissa K. August 01, 2012 at 04:56 PM
The money isn't being wasted. It's being used to line the pockets of engineering firms like Croy. They can't or won't account for millions of dollars that're mssing. And projects aren't done. Where's the money Croy?
Chuck Snow August 01, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Lissa, if the money is gone and no one can or will account for millions of taxpayer dollars. That sounds like a waste of money or stolen money to me. The reason Govt waste is so hard to pin down is the money is it's lining many high powered pockets. We can call it waste or we can call it theft but as you say and I quote, "They can't or won't account for millions of dollars that're mssing. And projects aren't done. Where's the money" The millions of dollars in question are gone, it didn't evaporate and it didn't hide itself,,,,, it was either misplaced, wasted or stolen. Now you'd like to hold someone accountable,,,,,, No?
Greg T August 01, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Well said.
Chuck Snow August 01, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Exactly.
S Bailey August 01, 2012 at 06:19 PM
As one who works a poll in South Cobb, I noted that yesterday we had a significant number of voters who chose No Party in order to cast their vote. Which meant they were only there to vote on the issues before them instead of any candidate. I would suggest that the 2 specific issues in question were (1) TSPLOST & (2) Alcohol Sales in unincorporated Cobb. Since both issues were overwhelmingly decided, I think nearly all the voters were concerned about those issues rather than all the candidates involved. Normally we would only have 1 or 2 NP voters in ANY Precinct I've worked, yesterday was abnormal. SB
Pam J August 01, 2012 at 06:50 PM
I guess they are still working on it. Seven years later.
Pam J August 01, 2012 at 06:54 PM
I assume it's because nobody likes anybody that is running for office. We've lost all faith in our politicians, as sad as that is. So apparently we care more about how much tax we pay and whether or not we can get drunk on Sundays because we are already paying too much tax.
David Lehman August 01, 2012 at 07:34 PM
The DOT have been such miserable stewards of the money they already wrested from the citizenry that it's unconscionable they'd be looking to grab more. At a new 3 way intersection 1 mi. east of the chicken at Sewell Mill road, there are 14, yes, 14 traffic lights there! WTF? One needn't have a degree in civil engineering to assess this idiocy and waste. 6 (at best) would suffice but noooooo, it's only taxpayer money. The DOT feels they needn't be accountable and likely this non-passage came as a bit of a shock. Try CUTTING WASTE for a change or privatize the whole faction. Can anyone imagine the uproar if a market-based enterprise tried to pull these shenanigans? D. Lehman
Jane Smith August 01, 2012 at 08:01 PM
I voted yes. I'd rather pay a small tax for transportation than see my husband laid off for the third time in four years. Easing traffic will inevitably bring more business and more jobs. Something needs to be done. What now? Just stay with the status quo? Unacceptable.
Richard Swartz August 01, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Now we are the laughing stock around the country. http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2012/08/01/other-states-interested-in-t-splost.html?ana=e_du_pap&s=article_du&ed=2012-08-01
Hal K. August 01, 2012 at 08:36 PM
When the tolls come off GA 400, then we can talk. I know the second promise is the end of 2013. You didn't keep the first promise. We can discuss a new tax when you retire the old tax....2014, right?
Brian August 01, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Three regions in GA voted in favor of T-Splost. They will enjoy some of the improvements we should have had. The good news is that the local governments that voted against it will now have to match state spending 30% versus 10%. That means that, perhaps, the state will need to worry about funding the projects with a local match of 30%. That may leave more for projects that local governments really need.
Brian August 01, 2012 at 09:51 PM
I think a long-term solution is to better digitize the government like private companies do and get all processes managed through computer systems which are user-friendly and kiosked so external users can interface with them. We could then start cutting down on government workers (through a transition process to help them find private sector jobs) and have more money set aside for projects. I was at DDS to renew my license, in line for 2.5 hours, and just wonder why it has to be handled that way. Sometimes time was wasted just waiting for someone who had left the building to not show up to one of the counters when their number was called. There's gotta be a more efficient way where more people are handled with less employees. I was wondering what would happen if people went to kiosks first, which were in line, to key in their information. Then the system could more efficiently route people through whatever processes they have and be ready for the people before they even come up to the desk. In fact, imagine doing everything online and even getting your time ticket online and being told by email or with automated call 30 minutes in advance of your number being called. I think if all of you are complaining about a new tax, you should instead complain about the fact that government processes run like the stone-age, or 100 years ago, whichever came last. Obama signed an executive order to better computerize government. Get behind it to save us money.
Brian August 01, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Sometimes there's good arguments about waste, like operational costs because the state isn't more digitized/computerized. However, an argument about 14 traffic lights being waste? The number of traffic lights directly correlates to the number of through lanes, and number of turn lanes. There are laws regulating this, based on engineering studies. It isn't rocket science to count the number of lanes and figure out why they were needed. I count four through lanes on Roswell Rd, two turn lanes going onto Sewell Mill Rd, three turn lanes coming off. That's nine already. Then, there's another road coming off into a small condo/townhome subdivision, so more lights are needed for that. I don't figure how six would cover it. Privatizing is the answer for people that don't know what they are talking about. We de-regulated banks further, and look where it got us. When you privatize what's meant for the good of the people, it becomes for the good of the biggest shareholders, and becomes "scr** the people".
S Bailey August 02, 2012 at 06:10 AM
Nearly everything under the sun is taxed in this country....how can it be the Land of the Free if it all comes with a Tax attached to it. Remember one of the reasons the Pilgrims & Refugees came from all over the world was to free themselves of Taxes & Tyrants...now we have our own in local, state & the federal government. I read a story recently where the state of Oregon has jailed a man for collecting > rainwater < on his own property. What kind of country allows that? What kind of sheeple allow that to happen ?? I opposed the TSPLOST because it was just another tax on We the People. We pay some of the highest gasoline taxes in the South. The Georgia General Assembly has deemed that anytime there are increased gasoline prices, the gas tax increases. The Ga.G.A just can't get enough of the taxpayers money yet have enough to fly private planes with No Passengers to airfields all over the state. The GaDOT has enough taxpayers $$$ to be able to send nearly all their Employees home everyday with a GaDOT vehicle. I cannot count the times I've seen a GaDOT pickup or car at a DayCare or Grocery Store with someone picking up a child or two or loading groceries. Yet one of the most incredible decisions I've seen in many years was to create User Fees for our State Parks. Really....I mean REALLY......the State Parks belong to the People. They were either purchased by taxpayers money or donated, yet we have to pay to visit our collective property. REALLY ???

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