Dear Editor: Anything they want it to say. The latest attempts to put a shine on what many taxpayers have labeled "Transportation Welfare" comes in the form of an online survey that attendees to the ARC presentations on the TSPLOST were urged to fill out. There is a very good reason for this: There are no wrong answers.
More specifically, there are only "positive" answers to choose from. Why would a survey of over 140 different projects be made up this way? The format or style of this kind of survey is called a Delphi technique and is used to only provide positive results. The other side of that coin is that by default, it suppresses negative comments or negative results.
In Rockdale County, there are 3 or 4 related projects listed and you can either mark the box "I Support" or do nothing. Of these projects which include a bridge over I-20, widening of Sigman Road to Hayden Quarry Road, widening of Flat Shoals near Newton to stretch towards DeKalb County, or turning part of Sigman into a four lane to access the northern part of the county, are the only projects on the list for Rockdale to choose from.
Even if only a half a dozen residents actually spend the time to fill out the survey, the way the news media and organizations will use the results are for the most part skewed to their advantage, not for the citizen who doesn't want this new taxing mechanism in the first place. Look for results like "80 percent of Rockdale residents prefer a new bridge" or "Widening of Sigman Road preferred by 60 percent of voters over 40 percent wanting Flat Shoals access."
This goes hand in hand with the so-called survey recently reported by the AJC where it stated "nearly 51 percent of voters are in favor of the TSPLOST 1-cent tax passing," but within that same report it stated that 71 percent of those same people didn't know what the TSPLOST was.
Here's a novel idea: Why not give the voters a real survey to take and report on using strictly an independent firm to administer it? Or better yet, how about giving the voters of Rockdale the option of leaving the ARC altogether and join up with our neighbor to the east, Newton County and that region which is called the Georgia Northeast. At least that way, we would be able to work with counties that are more like us and not like the Metro Atlanta area.