Predicting the T-SPLOST vote

I just posted about the coastal regional T-SPLOST to Peach Pundit: Savannah chapter breaks with state NAACP, endorses T-SPLOST.

I tried to respond to readers’ questions in my City Talk column today: Commonly asked question about T-SPLOST.

I’ve already written a post explaining my reasons for voting for the referendum this Tuesday: Why I’m voting for T-SPLOST.

There are lots of reasons to vote against the T-SPLOST. Believe me, I know them better than most of the indignant readers who keep getting in touch with me. Still, on balance, there are some worthy projects that need to be accomplished sooner (in the next decade or so) rather than later (a generation or more), I think; that simple fact outweighs the damage the tax will do to consumer spending and the fact that the project list could facilitate sprawl.

But I expect T-SPLOST to fail here on the coast. Polling has shown conservative voters around the state in strong opposition, and conservatives will dominate the vote in several counties in our region. It’s obviously ironic that the T-SPLOST system (the official name is the Transportation Investment Act) was created by a conservative governor and conservative state legislature.

I think T-SPLOST would have had a better chance if proponents had been clearer early on about how the project list has been determined and about how the money will be administered. Yes, that entire process has been transparent and has been reported many, many times in the Savannah Morning News, but it’s clear that we’ve gotten right up to the vote with a significant portion of likely voters — even some ordinarily knowledgable ones — lacking a clear understanding of what’s going on.

The advertising campaign from Untie Atlanta certainly didn’t help in some regions of the state. I don’t know if readers of this blog were seeing those ads, but I was seeing them constantly when I visited my site. I was seeing so many that I actually took the step to ban them through Google Adsense. We’re 250 miles from Atlanta — seeing ads like that on a Savannah-based blog gave the impression that there was a statewide vote, not a regional one.

So I’ll go out on a limb and make a couple of predictions: T-SPLOST will get 55 percent of the vote here in Chatham County, but will get only 46 percent of the vote in our region. Just a guess.