This rather dramatic decline/stagnation seems likely to have some significant public policy implications in coming years regarding road construction, gas tax revenues, and the need for transit and support for other alternative forms of transportation.
The higher match forces local governments to be more deliberative and accountable. It enforces a basic conservative principle of local responsibility in the generally more conservative regions that rejected TSPLOST. And it continues a discounted rate in areas where citizens have shouldered higher sales tax rates.
Despite the disparity in size of the two cities, the advantages of high speed rail travel are pretty obvious. Atlantans could get fast and reasonably inexpensive access to a major tourist destination, while Savannahians would have much easier access to one of the nation’s most important metro areas. The possibilities for business generally and for the creative economy specifically are tremendous. There would be massive benefits to the state’s economy.
The unevenness of the recovery and the squeeze on the middle class might also be limiting elective trips. I haven’t seen any data on it, but families that might have added another car to the driveway for their children might have delayed those purchases.
But it looks like some other factors are coming into play. Despite the facts of an increasing population, an improving economy, and moderating gas prices, Americans are still driving about the same number of total miles as they were five years ago.
I first spotted this at Peach Pundit, but here’s Maria Saporta in Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says heâ€™s staying â€” not joining Obama administration
When I wrote my City Talk column for today (Savannah airport business struggling compared to our rivals), I didn’t even know the board of Savannah/Hilton Head International was meeting today. I didn’t know anything about the report issued last week by the Center for American Progress: Oops, I Lost the Airport; Automatic Federal Budget Cuts Will Wreak Havoc in the Skies.
“Kerry Oâ€™Hare, director of policy at Building America’s Future, is skeptical of Atlanta-area voters who raised questions about accountability. She says it would be difficult to imagine getting a more detailed list of projects than what was released by the regional districts.”
“The defeat of the transportation sales tax vote in metro Atlanta and eight other regions of the state wonâ€™t result in an immediate downgrading of credit â€“ but could result in one when the state or local governments go bond-shopping in the future.”
Do Savannah area voters who soundly rejected T-SPLOST realize just how little state money we’re likely to get in coming years for new road construction, modifications for safety and efficiency, transit, and various other categories of transportation spending?
Three Georgia regions voted in favor of the additional one percent sales tax for transportation infrastructure on Tuesday — the Central Savannah River Area District around Augusta, the River Valley District including Columbus, and the Heart of Georgia Altamaha District in south central Georgia.