Voters in Georgia sent a message to the transportation bureaucracy yesterday shooting down a plan that would raise taxes for the purpose of supporting the usual mix of projects. The "Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax" (T-SPLOST) was rejected by 61 percent statewide, despite a multi-million-dollar media blitz backed by public officials and special interest groups urging passage.
The measure would have raised the sales tax by one percent, generating $18 billion in revenue over ten years. A twenty-five percent slice (fifteen percent in Atlanta) of the amount collected would have been handed over to county and municipal governments according to a distribution formula, with the remainder allocated to projects divided into twelve regions. According to the slick television commercials promoting the package, the initiative was to result in "less traffic, more jobs." Advertisements showed entirely new roads being built to relieve city congestion, but actual project lists show the majority of revenue was set aside for transit projects.