Cobb citizens came out today, despite the rain, largely to vote on the transportation referendum, known commonly as TSPLOST.
T-SPLOST is a one-percent transportation sales tax refererendum that, if approved, will fund $8.5 billion for projects throughout the Metro Atlanta region, including Cobb.
For a general primary with such a controversial issue such as TSPLOST, along with a three-way Commission Chairman race, poll workers said turnout during the first half of Tuesday was fairly slow.
By 10 a.m., less than 170 people had voted at several polls in Kennesaw and Northeast Cobb. Only 103 people had voted at Austell’s Presbyterian Village by 11 a.m., but 315 people had cast their ballots before noon at Mableton’s South Cobb Community Center.
Throughout most of the county, Patch editors found that most Cobb voters voted against the TSPLOST and had various reasons for doing so.
Here’s what a few voters had to say:
- In Vinings: "I voted no. I think it puts too much emphasis on the rail end of it and supporting MARTA. I think there are other ways they can go about doing it," said a Vinings woman who wished to remain anonymous.
- In Northeast Cobb: Marjorie Tower, who voted at Addison Elementary on Tuesday morning, said she voted against TSPLOST because "someone told me it was a con and that it wouldn't really help."
- In Mableton: “I pay enough taxes and I’m not going to pay anymore,” said Stephanie, a Mableton resident who voted Tuesday morning.
- In Smyrna: "They can't have anymore of my money. They need to spend it wisely. They don't need another $8 billion. I know they need the transit in Atlanta, but the people that ride transit, use transit and it just takes them to more places. It's not going to take one car off the road. They don't spend the money wisely so they can't have it. They don't deserve it," said an unnamed Smyrna man.
- In Austell: Bill Calhoun, who voted at Presbyterian Village on the East-West Connector, said, “We don’t want anymore taxes…” His wife, Maureen, agreed and added, “I say, ‘Scratch it.’ That’s what I say.” “And start over,” Bill finished.
However, Kennesaw voters who spoke with Patch Tuesday supported TSPLOST.
Frank O’Brien of Kennesaw said local road improvements are needed as well as better connections in Atlanta. He said that, while the referendum isn’t perfect, it’s a start.
“We desperately need to fix something,” said O’Brien, who voted with his wife at Kennesaw Elementary School. “It’s the best effort we’ve had. To start from scratch would be a horrible waste.”
Latasha Morrison, also of Kennesaw, said she knows of companies who have relocated from Atlanta to Charlotte and Texas because of the traffic problems in the Metro Atlanta area. Morrison said she voted in favor of the TSPLOST because no one opposed to it has offered an alternative.
“I don’t feel like anybody’s come up with a better solution,” she said. “If we don’t do something now, we’ll be left behind. (The TSPLOST) isn’t a complete answer, but it is a portion of the answer.”