Lamenting TSPLOST

Posted: June 6, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

On Memorial Day, I like millions of others on American soil and throughout the world – was thinking of those who sacrificed everything and those who gave all. Indeed, Memorial Day is the unofficial start of the summer, but I confess that it seems summer started weeks before that long weekend. The 90-plus-degree days have been well under way since late April along with intense sunshine, dry days broken up by those occasional brief violent thunderstorms and most of all, unhealthy air days. Those types of days occur due to local pollution getting trapped within our atmosphere.

Unhealthy air days don’t look like they’ll abate in the near future. Pollution will continue to get worse as our traffic woes only worsen. Thus, I now think of the July 31 TSPLOST vote as I did in my previous blog post. If TSPLOST passes, will our air become cleaner in say, five, 10, 15 or 20 years? I cannot answer that question, but I’m sure plenty of those in the comments section will take a stab at that thought.

For review, TSPLOST is a mix of projects including more and wider roads, some transit options and other assorted projects. Those against TSPLOST say that it will be a mismanaged drain on the taxpayers. Those in favor of the tax, say it is a starting investment and if the metro area does not make this commitment, then companies will decide to locate their businesses elsewhere.

Honestly, the easiest and cheapest answer to this dilemma is for everyone to stay at home. Yes, that’s impossible. We have been talking the talk about telecommuting for years. Certainly there has been progress with telecommuting, but I feel that more can be done in this area. If we could stay near our homes for shopping, entertainment and recreation along with telecommuting, more cars could be kept off the roads. But, the live/work/play model is not the entire answer to reducing pollution.

In addition, our lifestyles are not the entire picture when it comes to what is contributing to local pollution. Industries along with trucks are also along for the ride on the Pollution Highway. Would the proposed Cap and Trade idea assist in reducing industry pollution? Would investments in more fuel-efficient trucks help clean the air? There are no easy answers.

TSPLOST comes at a time when cynicism about government is running quite high on all levels including the recent Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners fiasco. The July 31 vote will be interesting indeed.

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