Once a regional hero, Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson loses ARC board seat

By Maria Saporta

On Dec. 4, Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson came one vote shy from being elected chairman of the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Then 15 days later, his fellow mayors in Gwinnett County ousted him as their representative on the ARC board in one of the most abrupt whiplashes of regional power in recent Atlanta history.

The move is all the more symbolic given that Johnson led the metro area to its greatest moment of regional cooperation in October 2011 when he chaired the Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable — 21 elected leaders from across the region who unanimously voted on a $6.2 billion list of transportation projects to present to voters on July 31, 2012.

Although the transportation referendum was solidly defeated by voters, the fact that Johnson — Georgia Tech’s retired band director — had been able to orchestrate consensus among his diverse peers was viewed as almost miraculous.

Somehow the magic of the moment never was properly translated to voters who may not have understood how difficult it is to get the many mayors and county leaders in urban, suburban and exurban areas to work together for the good of the Atlanta region.

It is still a mystery as to why Johnson’s tenure on ARC’s board took such a surprising dive in December. Even Johnson doesn’t fully understand what happened.

In a telephone conversation in late December, Johnson recounted how the situation unfolded from his point of view.

“Before I ran for chair, we had an election for the (mayor’s) representative from Gwinnett,” Johnson said. “It was a regularly scheduled meeting of the mayors of Gwinnett. I came to the group, and I told them I would like for you to vote on whether you would like for me to be your representative as the mayor from Gwinnett. It was a unanimous vote (in Johnson’s favor). Then to be sure we had done everything right, I sent a letter to Doug.”

The letter was sent to Doug Hooker, ARC’s executive director, who responded that he was “happy to have you back.”

Then on Dec. 4, ARC had what could be called an historic vote for chairman with four candidates — Johnson, Rockdale Commission Chairman Richard Oden, Douglas County Commission Chairman Tom Worthan and Kerry Armstrong, a citizen member who is a developer with Pope & Land and chair of the North Fulton Community Improvement District.

It took 12 ballots to elect Armstrong as the new ARC chair, succeeding Tad Leithead, who also is a citizen member who has worked for developers and chairs the Cumberland Community Improvement District.

(To see a breakdown of the results of each ballot, please go to the bottom of this column. As far as we know, never in ARC’s history has it taken so many ballots to elect a new chair — possibly reflecting the growing factions on the board).

Back to Gwinnett and Johnson’s fate, after the ARC chairman vote, Phillip Beard, who chairs the Buford city commission (the equivalent of mayor), called Gwinnett County Chair Charlotte Nash to set up another vote for the mayoral representative on ARC’s board.

A telephone conference call among 12 of Gwinnett’s 13 eligible mayors was held on Dec. 19, and a majority of them voted to oust Johnson and elect Nancy Harris, the mayor of Duluth, in his place.

Johnson still is confused as to why there was a change and why the group didn’t wait until early January when the mayors were already scheduled to meet in person well before the next ARC board meeting on Jan. 22.

“I have already been elected the mayor’s representative before I ran for the ARC chair,” Johnson told the group. “I don’t think we should do this on a phone vote.”

But he was over-ruled by his colleagues.

Repeated emails and a call to Beard to ask him why he wanted a change on the ARC board were not returned.

In a series of emails, Nash acknowledged that she did call the election saying she was following state law that states “the Commission Chair has the responsibility to call the election for the mayoral representative at the end of the incumbent mayor’s term.”

Actually Johnson’s term doesn’t end until Jan. 6, which is another sticking point about why there was such urgency to have a conference call on Dec. 19.

Asked why the mayors wanted to make the change, Nash’s emailed response was: “That is better discussed by those involved.”

But this situation actually points to greater challenges in our region.

One regional observer said: “I do think that when somebody takes a higher regional profile, there is a potential backlash.”

In other words, because we have so many fractured and disjointed governments throughout our region, we may end up punishing those who try to work on a regional playing field.

Yet that doesn’t fully explain the dynamics in this situation. Since October 2011, Johnson’s regional halo dimmed. He became chair of the Metro Atlanta Mayors Association (MAMA) and was part of the growing political power base of mayors in the region, a force that has alienated the county commissioners who traditionally have held the upper hand on ARC’s board.

Johnson also ended up getting into a power struggle with county leaders in DeKalb over the appointment of a citizen member, which cost him some friends on the board (and could explain why he didn’t become chair of ARC).

Because of the stand-off between mayors and commission chairs, ARC’s citizen members, who represent 15 of the 39 board members, now may be the most powerful voting block on ARC’s board.

But many of these citizen board members are not who we would normally think of as community leaders. They tend to be developers or in the real estate or professional service sector with a vested interest in robust development. In other words, there are few, if any, neighborhood activists, preservationists, cyclists or environmentalists on ARC’s board.

So with a potpourri of mayors, county commission chairs and citizen members from the city, the close-in suburbs and the exurbs, we now have a dysfunctional region with everyone going in different directions — often at cross purposes.

That’s why Johnson’s ability to get a unanimous 21-0 vote at the Roundtable in October 2011 was a special moment in time — one that will be hard to recapture any time soon. Remember,  several of the leaders who were willing to support a regional plan are no longer in office — take Fayette’s Jack Smith or Henry’s B.J. Mathis.

And now Johnson, who is still the Mayor of Norcross, is taking off his regional hat — which he and others view as a missed opportunity.

“I really felt like I added, and could continue to add, to the regional dialogue with state legislators,” Johnson said. “I had the time to do it. And I was willing to do it.  It’s about building relationships. That’s what we need to do in the region.”

Breakdown of the votes for ARC chair on Dec. 4
39 board members with 36 present
(20 votes needed to be elected chair)

Four candidates: (in alphabetical order)
Kerry Armstrong, Bucky Johnson, Richard Oden and Tom Worthan

Ballot 1:
Armstrong  10
Johnson       10
Oden              9
Worthan       7

Ballot 2:
Armstrong  11
Johnson       12
Oden              6
Worthan       7

Ballot 3:
Armstrong  12
Johnson       14
Oden              4
Worthan       6

Ballot 4:
(Worthan withdraws)
Armstrong   13
Johnson        13
Oden              10

Ballot 5:
Armstrong   14
Johnson        14
Oden               8

Ballot 6:
Armstrong  15
Johnson       15
Oden              6

Ballot 7:
Armstrong  14
Johnson       17
Oden              5

Ballot  8:
Armstrong  17
Johnson       18
Oden              1

Ballot 9:
Armstrong  15
Johnson       19
Oden              2

Ballot  10:
(Oden withdraws)
Armstrong   18
Johnson         17

Ballot 11:
Amstrong    18
Johnson        17

Ballot 12:
(Johnson withdraws)
Armstrong wins by acclamation.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

12 replies
  1. InAtl says:

    Yes, a strange pair of votes. 
    As to the Citizen Members aren’t most still appointed by the County Chairs and then approved by the Mayors and County Chairs in whose county the Citizens district falls?Report

    Reply
  2. Atlman says:

    Regionalism will never work so long as there are partisan and ideological reasons for one area not to work with another. Some parts of the metro area view other parts as competitors, even enemies. That is a real problem. Another issue is that the benefits of regionalism need to be articulated to all. How do the wealthier, more heavily populated suburbs benefit from coordinating with an ITP region that produces less tax revenue and is less populated? Simply telling them that “it’s their duty” isn’t going to work. 
    Right now, the only justification for regionalism is that the suburban areas have utterly failed at managing their traffic/sprawl problems by themselves. That’s a start. Then you can make the case that it is impossible for the suburbs to arrive at a real solution without the ITP because of geography for one thing, and for another thing at least some of the traffic problem involves people commuting to and from ITP and the suburbs. Still legitimate.
    But you can’t just go from there and talk about expanding MARTA. Even supporters of MARTA have to acknowledge that extending it to Cobb and Gwinnett alone (and since Cobb and Gwinnett are only 2 of the 28 counties, how “regional” of a solution is extending MARTA anyway … is the goal regional transportation solutions or getting MARTA more financial and political support?) would be extremely expensive and take very long. Getting MARTA into north Gwinnett, for example, would likely take dozens of billions and 20 years. 
    But that being said, folks ITP don’t really benefit from highways. Asking ITPers to pay for highways that the suburbanites will use isn’t going to sell either. 
    Maybe a compromise can be brokered. A lot of the MARTA advocates claim that we should expand MARTA so that low-income people can get to jobs. As suburbanites seem to want the cheap labor so long as that labor doesn’t actually live in their county and attend their schools (see the recent attempts to get rid of low cost apartment complexes in Cobb and north DeKalb as examples) perhaps a “live ITP/work OTP” transportation deal can be worked out. If that really is a priority of theirs – helping low income workers – then maybe they should settle for some sort of express bus service or BRT that is robust in the suburbs, to the point where the suburbanites really get a value from it, and the ITP governments would pay a good portion of the cost in order to pay for the cost of their residents having access to OTP jobs. 
    If that can be agreed upon, then an arrangement could be worked out to where Cobb, Gwinnett, Douglas, Rockdale, Cherokee, Henry etc. could come up with some scheme to pay for their own highways, and better solutions for highway projects than Nathan Deal’s toll lanes at that. 
    But if anything is going to get done, it is going to have to involve getting the suburbanites to the table and asking them what it would take. They have the numbers, the money and the power, including control of the gold dome. Any concept of regionalism is going to have to acknowledge that reality.Report

    Reply
  3. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    @Atlman Excellent comments, Atlman.
    Though, the only problem is that a compromise between the powerful OTP suburbs and the ITP urban core cannot necessarily be brokered within a regional framework.
    A compromise cannot necessarily be brokered between the OTP suburbs and the ITP urban core because the OTP suburbs already pay for their own county highways through various local transportation and infrastructure-oriented SPLOSTs.
    The powerful OTP suburbs do not need nor do they want the help of the ITP urban core to pay for their local roads…
    …And outside of those local roads that the powerful OTP suburbs already pay for with their own local county SPLOSTs, the powerful OTP suburbs do not really want anymore roads…
    …Which is a major reason why a so-called regional compromise between the powerful OTP suburbs and the ITP urban core that offers more roads to an OTP suburban establishment that does not want more roads did not work for the 2012 regional T-SPLOST disaster and will not ever work going forward.
    One of the major mistakes with the 2012 T-SPLOST (a major mistake and miscalculation that Bucky Johnson played a starring role in along with others like Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee, and Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews) is that the ARC assumed a one-size-fits-all solution to an ultra-diverse region in which each of the 10 counties involved all have differing transportation agendas.
    The Gwinnett County government wanted to use the regional T-SPLOST to fund a major road project (the GA 316-P’tree Ind Blvd-Mall of Georgia portion of the Sugarloaf Parkway Extension) in the highly-controversial right-of-way of the cancelled Northern Arc/Outer Perimeter proposed highway of the late 1990’s-early 2000’s while most other counties wanted very few, if any road projects in addition to what they are already paying for with their local SPLOSTs.
    Heck, some OTP suburban counties like Fayette in South Metro Atlanta, and Cherokee in North Metro Atlanta, wanted no new road projects beyond a couple of targeted improvements to state-maintained routes that the State of Georgia should have already been paying for without a regional T-SPLOST.
    The use of the regional T-SPLOST to pay for road projects in their own counties only made voters in those powerful suburban counties feel as if they would be paying for developmental projects in the City of Atlanta (the streetcar, the Beltline, etc) while also paying for unwanted roads that land speculators and real estate developers would only use to make traffic and overcrowding worse in OTP suburban counties.
    OTP suburban voters also felt as if they would only be flushing money down the toilet to enable a failing MARTA financial and operational status quo.
    The ARC already got powerful OTP suburbanites to the table in the build-up to the 2012 regional T-SPLOST disaster and those powerful OTP suburbanites responded by overwhelmingly rejecting the concept of regionalism through extremely-poorly thought-out regional taxation.
    If anything, there’s a growing consensus in the suburbs that instead of playing childish political games that attempt to push state transportation funding responsibilities off of counties and regions (like the convoluted 2012 T-SPLOST referendums), the State of Georgia needs to take responsibility and perform the duties prescribed to it in the Georgia Constitution of funding the state’s multimodal transportation network, a multimodal transportation network that includes both roads and transit.
    State government basically just needs to grow up and stop trying to push the blame for the failure to do its own job off on everybody else.Report

    Reply
  4. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    @Atlman Excellent comments, Atlman.
    Though, the only problem is that a compromise between the powerful OTP suburbs and the ITP urban core cannot necessarily be brokered within a regional framework.
    A compromise cannot necessarily be brokered between the OTP suburbs and the ITP urban core because the OTP suburbs already pay for their own county highways through various local transportation and infrastructure-oriented SPLOSTs.
    The powerful OTP suburbs do not need nor do they want the help of the ITP urban core to pay for their local roads…
    …And outside of those local roads that the powerful OTP suburbs already pay for with their own local county SPLOSTs, the powerful OTP suburbs do not really want anymore roads…
    …Which is a major reason why a so-called regional compromise between the powerful OTP suburbs and the ITP urban core that offers more roads to an OTP suburban establishment that does not want more roads did not work for the 2012 regional T-SPLOST disaster and will not ever work going forward.
    One of the major mistakes with the 2012 T-SPLOST (a major mistake and miscalculation that Bucky Johnson played a starring role in along with others like Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee, and Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews) is that the ARC assumed a one-size-fits-all solution to an ultra-diverse region in which each of the 10 counties involved all have differing transportation agendas.
    The Gwinnett County government wanted to use the regional T-SPLOST to fund a major road project (the GA 316-P’tree Ind Blvd-Mall of Georgia portion of the Sugarloaf Parkway Extension) in the highly-controversial right-of-way of the cancelled Northern Arc/Outer Perimeter proposed highway of the late 1990’s-early 2000’s while most other counties wanted very few, if any road projects in addition to what they are already paying for with their local SPLOSTs.
    Heck, some OTP suburban counties like Fayette in South Metro Atlanta, and Cherokee in North Metro Atlanta, wanted no new road projects beyond a couple of targeted improvements to state-maintained routes that the State of Georgia should have already been paying for without a regional T-SPLOST.
    The use of the regional T-SPLOST to pay for road projects in their own counties only made voters in those powerful suburban counties feel as if they would be paying for developmental projects in the City of Atlanta (the streetcar, the Beltline, etc) while also paying for unwanted roads that land speculators and real estate developers would only use to make traffic and overcrowding worse in OTP suburban counties.
    OTP suburban voters also felt as if they would only be flushing money down the toilet to enable a failing MARTA financial and operational status quo.
    The ARC already got powerful OTP suburbanites to the table in the build-up to the 2012 regional T-SPLOST disaster and those powerful OTP suburbanites responded by overwhelmingly rejecting the concept of regionalism through extremely-poorly thought-out regional taxation.
    If anything, there’s a growing consensus in the suburbs that instead of playing childish political games that attempt to push state transportation funding responsibilities off of counties and regions (like the convoluted 2012 T-SPLOST referendums), the State of Georgia needs to take responsibility and perform the duties prescribed to it in the Georgia Constitution of funding the state’s multimodal transportation network, a multimodal transportation network that includes both roads and transit.
    State government basically just needs to grow up and stop trying to push the blame for the failure to do its own job off on everybody else.Report

    Reply
  5. atlman says:

    The Last Democrat in Georgia
    Well, county road projects do not solve traffic problems. They are only used by local drivers when most of the traffic problem is commuters to/from work who may not even know about those roads, and the roads wouldn’t cut their commute time even if they did. That is the deal. The folks in the suburbs need to stop pretending as if this is still the 1970s, when there were maybe like 50,000-100,000 people living in those counties, most of the people living there were born there or nearby and worked at jobs near their home. So building a road to connect Buford, Lawrenceville and Norcross to Snellville won’t help anything. If anything, it will only hurt because it will waste resources on projects that won’t solve the problem, which can only be addressed by major thoroughfares through multiple counties.
    And blaming the state doesn’t cut it either. Everybody knows that “the state” doesn’t have the money because it was purposefully starved of resources, both revenue and the ability to raise it. Who put these financial restraints on the state? Leaders elected by the same crowd who believes that traffic problems in a massive metro region of millions of people can be addressed with county roads. No one is going to step up and solve the problem if it means getting run out of office like Roy Barnes was over the northern arc and several guys were over the T-SPLOST. The point isn’t that both Barnes’ arc proposal and the T-SPLOST were flawed, but rather that the opponents of both failed to propose and push alternatives (remember the “T-SPLOST Plan B” that never materialized and never will?).
    At some point, someone is going to have to get the suburban leaders to acknowledge reality: the traffic problem can’t be fixed with the type of local projects that they prefer, and the state can’t fix the problem for them unless they agree to give the state the money (or allow the state to raise the money) that it needs.
    The problem is that people only want to pay for the projects that they personally support and nothing else. That’s why regional efforts like T-SPLOST fail, and why GDOT is purposefully hamstrung. Folks would rather have the traffic issue not fixed at all if fixing it means allowing their money to go to projects that they don’t support. That is the root cause of the lingering refusal to fix this mess. Getting the suburban leaders to the table and asking them what it would take to get us past this barrier has to be done.Report

    Reply
  6. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    @atlmanThe Last Democrat in Georgia
    {{{“Well, county road projects do not solve traffic problems. They are only used by local drivers when most of the traffic problem is commuters to/from work who may not even know about those roads, and the roads wouldn’t cut their commute time even if they did. That is the deal. The folks in the suburbs need to stop pretending as if this is still the 1970s, when there were maybe like 50,000-100,000 people living in those counties, most of the people living there were born there or nearby and worked at jobs near their home. So building a road to connect Buford, Lawrenceville and Norcross to Snellville won’t help anything. If anything, it will only hurt because it will waste resources on projects that won’t solve the problem, which can only be addressed by major thoroughfares through multiple counties.”}}}
    …These are excellent points, though the problem is that the public has now twice thoroughly and overwhelmingly rejected the approach of attempting address regional traffic congestion issues by building major thoroughfares through multiple suburban counties on a large-scale.

    {{{“And blaming the state doesn’t cut it either. Everybody knows that “the state” doesn’t have the money because it was purposefully starved of resources, both revenue and the ability to raise it.”}}}
    …Excellent point that the state has purposefully starved itself of financial resources and revenue, but the blame for the transportation mobility woes in Atlanta metro region ultimately does fall squarely at the feet of the State of Georgia because the transportation woes in the Atlanta metro region transcend an area that includes some 30-plus counties throughout North Georgia.
    The blame for the transportation mobility woes in Atlanta metro region also falls squarely at the feet of the State of Georgia because the most of those transportation mobility woes revolve around increasingly-severe traffic congestion issues on STATE-maintained routes (…state-maintained routes like Interstate highways, U.S. highways and state highways). 

    {{{“Who put these financial restraints on the state? Leaders elected by the same crowd who believes that traffic problems in a massive metro region of millions of people can be addressed with county roads.”}}}
    …Well, one important thing to remember about the local roads that have been built with SPLOST funds in suburban counties is that virtually all of those local roads were built NOT to relieve regional traffic congestion, but were built as developmental roads almost strictly for the purpose of creating new real estate developments and even creating traffic congestion where no traffic congestion had previously existed, like around suburban regional shopping centers like Town Center Mall and at the junction of GA 5 Austell Road and East-West Connector in Cobb, and around Gwinnett Place Mall, the Mall of Georgia, and along the GA 124 corridor through Snellville.
    It’s also important to recognize that one group that has been largely-responsible for putting extreme financial restraints on state government when it comes to transportation funding are the political and cultural ideologues who stand staunchly opposed to increasing transportation funding revenues during a period of extreme population growth.
    Another group that has been largely responsible for putting extreme financial restraints on state transportation funding has been the Georgia Legislature which before the advent of the Tea Party in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s, had increasingly been openly fostering an environment of ethical malfeasance and even outright corruption which lead to growing voter mistrust as was reflected in the 2012 T-SPLOST results.

    {{{“No one is going to step up and solve the problem if it means getting run out of office like Roy Barnes was over the northern arc and several guys were over the T-SPLOST.”}}}
    …That’s an excellent point that very few political leaders will want to step up and attempt to solve regional transportation mobility problems if it means getting angrily run out of office if a proposal is poorly received by the voting public.
    But political leaders also need to be mindful to put forth fiscally-sound transportation mobility improvement proposals that voters will like and embrace instead of just putting forth more proposals that only appear to yet again enrich their well-connected real estate development and roadbuilding cronies.Report

    Reply
  7. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    @atlmanThe Last Democrat in Georgia
    {{{“The point isn’t that both Barnes’ arc proposal and the T-SPLOST were flawed, but rather that the opponents of both failed to propose and push alternatives (remember the “T-SPLOST Plan B” that never materialized and never will?).”}}}
    But both the Outer Perimeter/Northern Arc and the regional T-SPLOST referendum proposals were severely-flawed to the point of being extremely-unpopular with and overwhelmingly-rejected by an increasingly road construction-averse, tax-averse, government growth-averse, government corruption-averse, and overdevelopment-averse Metro Atlanta voting public.
    It also was not and is not the responsibility of the opponents of rejected transportation initiatives like the Outer Perimeter/Northern Arc and the 2012 regional T-SPLOST to propose and push alternatives to such overwhelmingly-unpopular transportation proposals, particularly since the voting public so overwhelmingly agreed with their opposition to those wildly-unpopular transportation project proposals and since those opponents are not trained and credentialed regional transportation planners. 

    {{{“At some point, someone is going to have to get the suburban leaders to acknowledge reality: the traffic problem can’t be fixed with the type of local projects that they prefer, and the state can’t fix the problem for them unless they agree to give the state the money (or allow the state to raise the money) that it needs.”}}}
    …This is an excellent point that the state must be allowed to raise the money that it needs to fix regional transportation mobility issues.
    But it should also be noted that local suburban leaders are not necessarily responsible for fixing regional transportation mobility issues (…particularly from a legal standpoint as coordinating inter-county movement of people and goods is the legal responsibility of state government as prescribed by the Constitution of the State of Georgia).
    Besides, (in the complete absence of a competent state government that was willing to fulfill its constitutional responsibility) many local suburban leaders already acknowledged the severity of the Atlanta region’s transportation mobility issues during the lead-up to the failure of the 2012 T-SPLOST referendum…
    …It’s just that the voting public overwhelmingly rejected those local suburban leaders’ ideas for dealing with the Atlanta metro region’s transportation mobility issues when it rejected the Atlanta regional T-SPLOST by a margin of 62%-38% on July 31, 2012.Report

    Reply
  8. The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

    @atlmanThe Last Democrat in Georgia
    {{{“The problem is that people only want to pay for the projects that they personally support and nothing else. That’s why regional efforts like T-SPLOST fail, and why GDOT is purposefully hamstrung.”}}}
    …Well, it’s not necessarily just that people only want to pay for the projects that they personally support…
    …It’s also that people want their hard-earned tax dollars to pay for the right projects that will actually improve transportation mobility, particularly in regards to their own individual peak-hour commutes.
    And a regional effort like T-SPLOST failed because voters did not think that their hard-earned tax dollars would actually be going to improve transportation mobility, particularly in regards to their own individual peak-hour commutes.
    During the 2012 regional T-SPLOST debacle, many (if not most) voters thought that they were being sold a bill-of-goods because many voters knew that it would take much more than the $6-7 billion dollars over 10 years to adequately address Metro Atlanta’s very-substantial transportation mobility challenges. 
    Also, one of the major reasons that GDOT has been hamstrung over the last decade or so is because of a bad mix of legislative micromanagement and the vast legislative underfunding of the agency that you alluded to earlier.

    {{{“Folks would rather have the traffic issue not fixed at all if fixing it means allowing their money to go to projects that they don’t support. That is the root cause of the lingering refusal to fix this mess.”}}}
    …It’s not that folks would rather have the traffic issue not fixed at all if fixing it means allowing their money to go projects that they don’t support…
    …It’s that taxpaying voters want to make sure that their precious hard-earned tax dollars are going to projects that will actually fix the metro region’s transportation mobility issues.
    Taxpayers understandably don’t want to see their precious and limited hard-earned tax dollars going to projects that will do nothing to fix the region’s transportation mobility problems, particularly after being told that the additional taxes that they would be paying would be in the name of improving transportation mobility by reducing traffic congestion and improving peak-hour commutes.
    {{{“Getting the suburban leaders to the table and asking them what it would take to get us past this barrier has to be done.”}}}
    …Getting suburban leaders to the table and asking them what it would take to get past this barrier was done during the lead-up to the 2012 T-SPLOST…
    …It’s just that the voters that many of those suburban leaders represented did not agree with them on what needed to be done and overwhelmingly rejected the ideas of their own suburban representatives in an exercise of democracy.
    Seeing as though that the approach of getting suburban leaders to the table and asking them what it would take to get us past this barrier was roundly rejected by the voting public when it overwhelmingly voted down the proposed regional T-SPLOST in July 2012, it’s time to move on and formulate a much more effective approach of funding transportation needs in the Atlanta metro region.
    The regional T-SPLOST approach of attempting to fund regional transportation needs is politically unviable in the Atlanta metro region and in the state of Georgia, and the Georgia Legislature knows this, which is why the 2012 T-SPLOST is most-likely the last time that the T-SPLOST funding approach will be tried in Georgia for a long time, if it is ever tried again.Report

    Reply

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