T-SPLOST generates lots of viewer questions

9:24 PM, Jul 27, 2012   |    comments
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Shot of questionable wording on ballot

ATLANTA -- A T-SPLOST debate on 11Alive has sparked plenty of questions.

Ted Bisterfield of Stockbridge asked about the Metro Atlanta plan calling for a 15 percent set aside for local projects, and whether a small county like Rockdale will get its fair share.

Over the next 10 years, more than a $1 billion in transportation tax revenue will be given to cities and counties for local projects like timing traffic lights, building sidewalks, fixing local roads and making other improvements.

But the bulk of the tax money, 85 percent, or more than $6 billion dollars will go to 157 projects already earmarked for road and bridge construction.

Atlanta voter Alice Schenck asked 11Alive to spell out the MARTA projects that will be funded by the T-SPLOST.

Major improvements will have a fund of $600 million.

The revenue will be primarily for station infrastructure improvements like elevators, escalators, lighting and tracks.

Another $37 million will go toward engineering studies to extend MARTA North Line.

Another viewer asked if a Georgia county can bail out if they voted against the tax.

The answer is no. It's a regional vote and every county within that region goes whichever way the vote goes.

Another viewer, Julian Frazier of Sugar Hill asks if food items will be taxed.

Yes. Food purchases are part of the T-SPLOST revenue program. But gasoline and prescriptions are not. They are exempt.

And another 11Alive viewer wants to know what will happen if T-SPLOST is defeated.

"Plan B is toll roads and higher gas taxes," said Sam Williams, president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. "There is no other source of money to do anything."

Not so, says Sen. Chip Rogers, the state's Republican Senate Majority Leader.

"You do not make an $8.5 billion mistake. You take a step back and you do it right and that's what we need to do," Rogers said.

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