Public Transit Will Not Help Dacula
TSPLOST projects will burden taxpayers without providing traffic relief.
In 2012, we will be asked to vote on a 1 percent TSPLOST (Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) for the 10-county Atlanta Regional Transportation District which consists of Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties. Some of our polticians are saying it's time to look at alternative transportation projects as the 2012 list of projects is prepared for our 10-county TSPLOST district.
I've got news for you. "Alternative transportation projects" is the buzz word for rail projects whether they be commuter rail, passenger rail, heavy rail (MARTA) or light rail (streetcars). Alternative transit could also include surface transportation such as buses.
I suppose when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars, I look at things from a benefits to costs ratio. If the benefits do not outweigh the costs, then we don't need to spend the money. Public transit rail projects are a good example. These rail projects are expensive to build and expensive to maintain. I do not know of a single public rail transit system in America whose operating and maintenance costs are not funded ongoing by taxpayer subsidies.
I also keep hearing that rail will take cars off of our highways. How many cars? It depends on who is doing the figuring. Proponents of rail would have you believe the number is in the thousands. Vice versa for those of us who are in opposition to rail.
In my goings and comings each day I ask myself, would public transit meet my needs in going to and from my designation? The answer is always no. For instance, if I have an appointment in Dacula, there is no way that a public transit system would get me to and from my designation. Not even those transportation projects I am hearing proposed for TSPLOST.
Let's get back to the number of cars that would be removed from, let's say, I-85. Suppose commuter rail or light rail which would tie into MARTA would remove 8,500 cars a day off of I-85. Realistically, do we have 8,500 folks in Gwinnett, some of whom would come from Dacula, who would ride the rails?
Another thing to consider for those of us who won't ride the rails, is it fair to ask us to fund those who will ride by "propping up" the operating and maintenace costs of these rail systems with taxpayer funded subsidies? In other words, it's an "I pay, so you can ride" scenario.
Another thing I keep hearing is that the price of gas will keep going up. As always, prices are determined by the law of supply and demand. What about those 8,500 cars? Suppose they stopped "bellying up" to the pump? Wouldn't this mean that those of us who elect to use our personal vehicles would not only be paying for our ride through taxes at the pump, but would also be subsidizing those who ride the rails?
What disappoints me more than anything is those politicians, who like me, call themselves conservative Republicans. I believe in our market driven system of free enterprise and, if private investor owned public transit systems are not profitable, we don't need government public transit boondoggles funded by taxpayer subsidies.
Same thing for "corporate welfare" or TADS (Tax Allocation Districts). If private capital cannot fund TADS, we don't need them in Dacula or elsewhere. I find it hard to believe that we have conservative Republican politicians who say they are members of the party that believes in less government, lower taxes and equal opportunity for everyone and yet will still jump on entitlements, grants, and subsidies like a bunch of "New Deal" Democrats.
If that's their position then they should identify themselves as Republicans with "New Deal" Democrat ideas. They should also feel the wrath of their constituents at the ballot box. That's the way I see it.