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Vote yes for TSPLOST
Letter to the editor
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As a voter who has always supported conservative causes, it’s clear to me why TSPLOST is a good idea for Georgia. This state’s success is built around a good transportation network. From the time that the port of Savannah was built as a shipping destination, to the rise of Atlanta based around a rail network, to the interstate system that connects the four corners of the state, Georgia’s economy relies on transportation. There are those who have stated that TSPLOST is a big government solution. Nothing could be further from the truth. On July 31, voters around the state will have the chance to exercise local control by voting “yes” on Referendum 1.

Because I support the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges, I also recognize that we must be realistic about a way to fund those investments. To me, TSPLOST is the conservative solution to financing our infrastructure.

I am tired of relying on the federal government to decide what projects can move forward. We shouldn’t be forced to wait on Congress, which hasn’t passed a long-term transportation funding bill since 2009. I am also tired of the way we have funded roads in Georgia in the past. For too long we have heard promises from government that certain projects will be built only to see them snatched away after some politician or bureaucrat changes the priorities. There are projects all around the state that have been on the books for 40 years, with no realistic possibilities of funding coming anytime soon.

We need to rethink the way we fund transportation in Georgia. We need a conservative solution. We should take the power to pick projects out of Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, and give it back to the local officials. We need to make sure that voters get to decide whether projects are worth paying an extra penny, and only enact it if the voters say “yes.”

On July 31, we have to ensure that there is citizen oversight of the construction, to make sure that money is being spent as intended and to prevent waste. We should demand that the tax have a sunset clause, so that it can only be extended if the voters decide the money was spent effectively. Any tax should be like a business transaction — I pay a fee, you deliver a good. Lastly, I want it to be a consumption tax, so that we tax everyone who uses the transportation system while keeping the rate low.

TSPLOST has all of these features. It is a serious solution to a critical funding problem. It asks voters simply, “Do you want better and safer roads to create new jobs?” I know that, as a conservative, my answer is “yes.” If you’re like me — a conservative who is tired of the way things have been done in the past — I encourage you to vote “yes” for T-SPLOST on July 31. Let’s stop waiting on politicians in Washington and Atlanta to fix our problems for us and take action to fix them ourselves.

It is urgent that voters in Bryan County educate themselves by looking at the proposed project lists and projected jobs that will be created in our region.

— Andrew Smith, Richmond Hill

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