Read Their Lips
"I Don't Mind A Parasite. I Object To A Cut-Rate One."
Last comment by timeontarget 2 years, 3 months ago.

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Now that our Independence Day celebrations are (mostly) over, we can turn our attention to TSPLOST Day – July 31, 2012. This is the day when Georgia voters get to decide whether they will raise taxes on themselves for the “common good.” Regardless of political party affiliation, just about everybody I know believes that they are “Taxed Enough Already.”

Much has been made of the various pros and cons of the TSPLOST referendum in the media and on editorial pages throughout Georgia. I won’t rehash the arguments here. But to provide the stated reasons for the referendum, I’ll quote from the official TSPLOST site:

“Georgia is in the midst of a transportation funding crisis. We have under-invested in our transportation network for years and Georgia ranks next to last in per capita transportation spending. Reliable sources indicate that Federal budget proposals now being considered will result in Georgia receiving 30% less Federal gas tax funds than our current level.”


Sounds like a valid need, doesn’t it? It would seem so, but this “problem statement” begs a number of questions which the politicians don’t discuss during their sales pitch for TSPLOST:

• WHY is Georgia in the midst of a transportation funding crisis?
• WHY have we under-invested in our transportation network for years?
• WHY does Georgia rank next to last in per capita transportation spending?
• WHY is Georgia apparently being “boxed-in” to the apparent necessity of the proposed TSPLOST measures by a 30% reduction in Federal gas tax funds?

I submit that the most likely reasons for the current “crisis” are poor prior planning by our elected officials; their misplaced sense of priorities; their willingness to try to solve “problems” by throwing our tax dollars at them; and their being just, plain “politicians.”

I’ll explain:

For me, it all boils down to one thing: trust. That is, can we trust our elected officials to do what we want them to do; or to even do what they SAY they will do? The theory in our form of government is that we should be able to trust our politicians to carry out the will of the people; to spend our money wisely; and not waste or line their own pockets with it.

My unfortunate experience with politicians is that their word is WORTHLESS. I have found that they will say anything to get elected or re-elected. After we put them (back) in office, they either ignore their campaign “promises,” or they parse/”weasel-word” excuses as to why they can’t make them good. As a result, I don’t trust any politician as far as I could throw them.

For me, the main issue here is summarized by that old joke:

Question: How can you tell when politicians are lying?

Answer: Their lips are moving.

IMHO – *IF* TSPLOST is voted down on July 31st, it won’t be based on the stated merits of the referendum. It won’t even be because the voters believe that they have been “Taxed Enough Already.” It will be because the voters no longer have trust or confidence in our elected officials to do what they say they will do, and to spend wisely the precious tax dollars that they extract from us.

It will be voted down because the people don't trust their elected officials to keep their word. The voters will have “read their lips,” and said “No New Taxes.”

Latest Activity: Jul 08, 2012 at 1:44 PM

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lholmes commented on Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 15:04 PM

"transportation network is underfunded" is an understatement. True Story! A couple of years ago, my wife and I were thinking of taking a sort of weekend trip just to get away. We had flown before, neither of us felt like driving, we had sailed and been on the bus. Neither of us had travelled by train, so we decided to take the train to Atlanta for a couple of days. I went to the Amtrak site and got the shock of a lifetime. To take the train, from Savannah to Atlanta, the trip would take 23 hours. Huh? I thought I was doing something wrong, so I called them on the phone. The quickest way to get to Atlanta by train was a train to Charlotte, NC, on to WASHINGTON, DC, to Denver, Colorodo and then back to Atlanta. I said "are you freaking kidding me?" 23 hours and I gotta go to Washington, DC? Not Washington, GA...White House Washington? Ski country Colorado? That was the most direct route? I asked, you mean that there is no direct train to Atlanta, the state capital, from ANYWHERE else in the State? No! I said that if that was true, then EVERYONE at Amtrak needs to fired and the entire routing system needs to be revamped. That was crazy. Plus the prices were twice that of first class airline tickets to NY, the other place were thinking of going (Niagra Falls). Never did get on that train.

sebekm commented on Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 15:42 PM

Hey lh: I used to take the train quite a lot - back before AMTRAK. As I understand it, AMTRAK basically took overland rail lines (companies even) to "federalize" the rail transportation system. The privately-owned rail system was going bankrupt before then due to the prevalence of air and automobile transpotation and travel. Nowadays, rail service primarily augments interstate shipping and trade. Passenger travel by train - while it still exists - has not been a priority for more than 60 years.

As far as I know - very few new rail lines have been laid by AMTRAK since their takover in the early 1970s. They are basically using/maintaining what was in existence then. For the new "high-speed" trains, they need to have relatively straight lines - so there may be some new construction to implement those. But otherwise, what we have now is what we had 50 years ago - as far as routes go.

There have been recent discussions - and a study - on adding high-speed rail service in this region that would include Atlanta and Savannah. The study suggests that the line would be "economically feasible," but that it probably won't happen anytime soon.


I've driven I-16 from Savannah to Macon, and I agree with most others that it is probably the most boring drive in these United States. Travel by high speed rail would certainly make the trip more enjoyable and shorter. But given the recent battles in the U.S. Congress on new rail lines (high speed and otherwise) for AMTRAK, I doubt that a whole lot of public support is there to spend the money.

IMHO - we just like our cars too much.

sebekm commented on Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 15:55 PM

P.S. Apparently there have been some changes to the rail connections between Savannah and Atlanta since you checked into it. If you can believe this post at, it might only take between 11 and 13 hours for the trip. See:

sebekm commented on Sunday, Jul 08, 2012 at 16:08 PM

(...if true, probably still way too long to attract many travelers who just want to go by train for the experience...)

timeontarget commented on Monday, Jul 09, 2012 at 12:01 PM

GDOT, WHICH IS WHAT THE BUREAUCRATS (spent a bunch of money to remark all state highway equipment as they were going broke) renamed the agency about 15 years ago.

That was shortly after the then director and I believe his name was Shakleford had retired.

He had been hailed as a genius of management and vision for Georgia's transportation needs.

The same group of high school kids(who had gone to work for the highway department and gradually been promoted to engineer because they) had been promoted thru the bureaucrats good ole boy system.

Mr. Shakleford was a great public speaker and without notes he could keep an audience on the edge of their seats for hours at a time talking about the roads in all areas of Georgia.

He sounded like he knew what he was talking about too.

Well these brilliant young planners and engineers had produced such fine examples of engineering as the infamous intersection of Ga. hwy 196 and US hwy 84 just past the railroad overpass located about three miles east of Hinesville.

This fine example of lack of ability and lack of will to do the right thing resulted in the death of about 8 or 10 people before some politicians on the local level had the will to get changed about ten or fifteen years ago.

The intersection had been put there for political reasons because of who owned the business which would be impacted negatively by properly designing the intersection.

The new intersection is better but could have been even better in my opinion.

But then I'm only a high school drop out and its doubtful that my thinking is worthy of consideration.

timeontarget commented on Monday, Jul 09, 2012 at 12:17 PM

I'm going by memory alone here so consider that.

Mr Shakleford had a huge retirement celebration for he had been in the office of Director or Commissioner of the Ga. Department of Transportation as long as I could remember.

No I remember Jim L. Gillis his predecessor who retired when I was still a fairly young man.

By the way Gillis put I-16 where it is so that Soperton which was his home would be near the big road to Atlanta apparently for his own benefit.

I gotta grab my lunch and get back on the tractor but let me make one quick point.

Most of the wrong doing of government is manipulated by the bureaucrats and not the elected officials.

Much of the blame for this can be laid on our print media for ceasing to be the watchdog of the interest of the people.

The Coastal Courier is the "county organ" but it no longer informs us as to what is going on at city hall and in the courthouse.

The same is true for other larger newspapers.

I'll be out of town tomorrow but I'll have more to say later.

sebekm commented on Monday, Jul 09, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Don't sell yourself short - EVERYONE's thinking is worthy of consideration. I've driven these roads for 20+ years, and I agree with your assessment of the 84/196 intersection 100%. We see examples of poor planning and/or lack of proper oversight around here every day. There are probably many more that can be pointed out, but the one I see frequently is the lack of a traffic signal at the intersection of Sandy Run Drive and Hwy 84 (where Enmark and Popeye's meets the Huddle House). I see an accident there just about once a month, and you better not want to turn onto 84 during peak traffic periods - you'll wait forever.

About 10 years ago, I spoke with an accident investigator when I happened to be filling up at Enmark just as an accident occured. He admitted that a traffic signal was needed at that location, but that there probably needed to be a lot more accidents before anybody would be spurred to have a traffic signal installed.

sebekm commented on Monday, Jul 09, 2012 at 20:08 PM

Speaking of trust and taxes, check THIS out:

timeontarget commented on Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 04:53 AM

Mr Shakleford was given a grand farewell amid much pomp and ceremony.

Son after he was securely drawing his generous retirement it was revealed that the transportation department was hopelessly overextended and the entire organization was a shambles.

I say these things simply fro memory.

I might be wrong but it is worth looking into.

I don't think Shakleford was elected.

Then his successor a young female who was brought up through the ranks and soon discovered to have "laid" her way into office.

Not sure if she is still there.

Some folks should have gone to jail.

I don't think any of them were elected.

This country is in a mess and it was put there by public sector employees.

timeontarget commented on Sunday, Jul 15, 2012 at 07:25 AM

Second sentence in above post of 7-10-12 at 4:53 should have been Soon not Son.

We need more discussion on the Tsplost and I think we should all vote no primarily because of the bus system but there are many other points to be considered.

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