Readers Write 8/7

Competition looms in wake of tax defeat

For want of a penny sales tax, Atlanta will now face stronger competition from cities like Charlotte, Jacksonville and Nashville. Atlanta was once called “too busy to hate.” Now, we’re too busy to care. Yesterday’s progressivism has given way to today’s knee-jerk avoidance of any new taxes, even if they are for badly needed infrastructure upgrades. Our experience should be a cautionary tale for other ambitious southern cities.

RICH LAPIN, DUNWOODY

Voters wise to reject costly boondoggle

The AJC headline “A loud and clear ‘no’ ” (News, Aug. 1) said it all. Because of the economy and uncertainty about the future, voters wisely defeated the T-SPLOST boondoggle. Visions of unfinished road projects turned off voters. They are not ready to vote for more taxes like T-SPLOST just to make our lawmakers happy.

There has got to be a better way to improve our street infrastructure than continually piling taxes on our citizens. Georgia lawmakers need to be frugal and come up with a plan — one project at a time. Federal assistance could be applied for once good project plans are mapped out, and they should include all costs down to the dollar. If T-SPLOST had passed, I don’t think it would have helped Atlanta’s traffic problems one iota.

WILLIAM MCKEE JR., FLOWERY BRANCH

Gov. Deal’s response, tax plan subpar

Attaboy, Gov. Nathan Deal. Your post-T-SPLOST rejection response was a real class act (“Deal: Rule out revote,” News, Aug. 2). Just like the petulant child who takes his bat and ball home because he did not get his way, you throw up your hands and close the door on metro Atlanta’s transportation and commuter nightmare.

Maybe if the engineers (and not politicians) had developed coordinated transportation projects, and the projects had an oversight mechanism in place to assure proper use of the funds, the vote result would have been different. The Ga. 400 toll fiasco did not help. Fix the problem. You can’t ignore it!

ALLEN BABCOCK, MARIETTA

Commuter rail, not list of projects needed

T-SPLOST failed in part because it was a laundry list of unrelated local projects that failed to address our regional transportation problem. There is a solution that serves all 10 counties in Region 3 and beyond. Georgia’s Department of Transportation has already floated a plan to run commuter rail on existing railroads.

The full system would serve millions of passengers per year, and would be far cheaper and faster to build than freeway lanes that will fill up in a year. Rail offers predictable commute times during rush hour. It can be built in phases. It’s time to fast-track commuter rail for metro Atlanta. Its the quickest and most cost-effective plan to begin to untie Atlanta’s traffic congestion.

CALEB SOUTHERN, ATLANTA