Having seen numerous letters supporting the T-SPLOST effort and praising its potential benefit to this community, I hope that my friends and neighbors would consider several fundamental problems with the proposed tax.
Some celebrate that the T-SPLOST tax would return more money to Hall County than its consumers would pay. In my view, the Georgia Department of Transportation has proven itself in recent years to be consistently inefficient and prone to frequent turnover among its upper-level management.
No matter how much money we believe will come from the new tax to benefit this community, a poorly managed GDOT cannot be expected to make the best use of those extra dollars. This department needs a top down cleanup, which we should demand from our governor and state legislature before assigning more money to the department’s oversight.
Some claim that new jobs will be created, that proposed projects will bring added safety to our roads, and that traffic problems will be cured. I believe jobs can still be created with a different approach to funding our transportation needs, and I have seen no reliable evidence to support claims of greater safety or improved traffic flow. Supportive local officials are apparently hoping for attractive new sidewalks and remodeled intersections to showcase to their constituents.
My greatest concern is that the proposed new tax would be collected on essential purchases, such as clothing and groceries, in addition to the motor fuel tax we already pay on gasoline and diesel. I believe a properly funded GDOT would have a single managed revenue stream rather than two separate slush funds.
Our state legislators should develop a single-source revenue plan to address transportation needs in our state rather than presenting us with an apparent ultimatum through a dishonest ballot question.
I will vote “no” on the proposed new tax, and I will urge our leaders to develop a more functional plan for Georgia’s current and future transportation needs.