T-SPLOST Opponents Call for Repeal of Penalty on Regions that Voted “No”
By Jonathan Shapiro – 90.1WABE news radio
A group of T-SPLOST opponents is calling for a repeal of a financial penalty aimed at regions that rejected the transportation referendum.
For those that voted “no” on the T-SPLOST, it’s about to get a lot tougher to get local projects off the ground.
As part of the referendum’s enabling legislation, regions that voted down their respective T-SPLOST measures, including metro Atlanta, will now have to provide 30 percent of funds in order to get state aid for local transportation projects. On the other hand, the three regions that voted in favor of the T-SPLOST only have to provide a 10 percent local match.
“What they were trying to do is coerce the voters and especially the local elected officials to say ‘if you don’t vote for this, you will be punished,’” said Fayette County Commissioner Steve Brown for the anti-T-SPLOST group Transportation Leadership Coalition.
Brown says local governments don’t have the extra funds to pay the penalty. He wants a repeal of the penalty in the regions that didn’t pass the ballot measure.
“When you start putting penalties on the voters for voting your conscience for an issue the legislature should have handled themselves, we are deep trouble.”
A spokesman for Governor Nathan Deal says there’s “no provision allowing him to suspend” the penalty in the law. He says the governor is required to uphold it.
Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers actively campaigned against the T-SPLOST but voted for the enabling legislation. Rogers did not respond to WABE’s request for comment but he’s reportedly supporting a repeal of the penalty.
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