On July 31 Cherokee County, along with nine other counties and Atlanta will vote on whether or not we want an additional 1 percent sales tax for the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) transportation projects.
Since this a regional and not a single county referendum, it destroys the “Home Rule” concept for counties and municipalities as defined in our state Constitution. Why do we have a Home Rule clause in our Constitution if it can and is being overridden by a regional vote on certain issues or projects?
If the majority of voters in Cherokee County vote against this transportation tax, we will still pay if the majority votes yes in the other counties. Cities and counties within the “region” cannot opt out, even if their county votes it down. This is supposed to be a better arrangement for Georgia?
How much input will local citizens of Cherokee, or any other county have in the planning of these enormous, costly projects? With the chairman of the Cherokee Board Of Commissioners, Buzz Ahrens being vice chair and board member of the ARC, it’s very doubtful that local citizens not connected to the ARC or any of its supporters will have much, if any say about these projects or their huge costs.
Citizens in Cherokee County have big problems attempting to voice opinions just on local, county projects let alone any plans or projects on the “regional” level (remember the Aquatic Center project, or the BoBo Boondoggle?). The BOC didn’t want to hear any opposition to those great plans.
The ARC claims they will fund $8.5 billion in transportation projects to relieve traffic congestion, but the plans do virtually nothing for traffic relief. In fact, the plans take billions of dollars away from much more sensible and cost effective plans for traffic relief.
This will only be the beginning of the ARC’s plans. With their “Plan 2040”, they will not only include road and transportation projects, but will control land use,development and community growth, all at a cost-saving amount of only $61 billion.
Try as I may, I can’t think of a more expensive way of funding these kinds of projects. But government at the local, regional, state or federal level aren’t very concerned about cost these days. If this referendum passes, don’t worry about when Cherokee’s projects will begin.
They’ll get right on it sometime between 2013 and 2019, according to their estimates.
Whatever happened to the free-market and free-enterprise in this country? The free-market and little if any government involvement, that’s what we need to get back to. The cost overruns and failures would fall back on the businesses and investors involved with the projects, not on the entire tax-paying community.