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"A vote for the T-SPLOST will create a permanent class of corruption funded off our pennies."

Erick Erickson
Bulldoze Bass and
Fix Forest Hill Road


No confidence in the T-SPLOST

12:00am on May 25, 2012

posted on

The transportation special purpose local option sales tax, which we all call the T-SPLOST, has a lot of good projects in it. I am excited to see funding for an extension of the Middle Georgia Regional Airport’s runway. I cannot state enough the importance of such an extension. It really will create jobs.

I have written two columns in the past several months on the need to expand Bass Road. That is in the T-SPLOST, too. Several other projects I favor are in there as well. So I better explain why I oppose the T-SPLOST.

First, you should understand that I do not oppose the T-SPLOST in principle. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation released a report earlier this week that clearly explains why other methods of funding are preferable. But the T-SPLOST was the product of compromise by a bunch of part-time legislators who would rather build a new Falcons Stadium for a billion dollars and fund a Go Fish program while punting tough questions like infrastructure and trauma care to the citizenry.

Second, you should know there are programs in the T-SPLOST I fully support and think would create jobs.

But I oppose the T-SPLOST because I do not think Georgia has its act together within its transportation bureaucracy and planning. I think if we pass this T-SPLOST with its 10 years of funding we will find ourselves perpetually renewing it always trying to make up missing funds and fix faulty projects.

I believe the Georgia Department of Transportation is an unrepentant cesspool of greed and corruption used by lawmakers and other politicians to buy friends and win influence. Every few years, a new report comes out that GDOT has underfunded projects, unaccounted for demands for money, and is otherwise in disarray. The few times our politicians have sought to clean up the cesspool they have sent in reformers who have been defeated, smeared and tossed out with their reputation in tatters only to be replaced by good old boys who have perpetuated the system.

If we approve the T-SPLOST, we are agreeing to subsidize greed, graft, corruption, waste, fraud and abuse within our transportation bureaucracy in perpetuity. We all need to be clear on that. The very same bureaucracy and outside organizations, who for years have bumped up traffic numbers on roads to justify expansions where there is little justification, will be subsidized by taxpayers in ongoing boondoggles hailed by politicians as job creating projects of local interest.

The political elites, most media outlets in the state and the philanthropic left and right are all pooling resources to pass the T-SPLOST. They will not tell you the cold, plain truth about what will happen because they have long ago accepted dysfunction as the cost of doing business.

I think the taxpayers of the state should think twice before, in effect, endowing a permanent system of waste, fraud and abuse without ever forcing our legislators to really attempt to clean up GDOT and reform the insanity of our highway system.

The GPPF report makes clear, inside and outside of the metro Atlanta area, there are projects worth funding, but we have an infrastructure system in our state that should first be fixed to work together, not against each other, and now divided into regional problems.

Fix the transportation bureaucracy and I will gladly support the T-SPLOST as a necessary compromise. But until then, I vote no confidence.

Erick Erickson is a CNN contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.

Erickson: Bulldoze Bass Road

12:00am on Apr 27, 2012; Modified: 7:17am on Apr 27, 2012

I want a Taco Mac at the front entrance of Providence on Bass. I want a stop light there too. But what I want more than anything is to bulldoze Bass Road.

Bass Road and Forest Hill Road are the perfect roads to highlight to show the ineptness of our road planning strategy in Middle Georgia. As Forest Hill Road has deteriorated and demographics have shifted, our road planning geniuses continue to demand it be a four lane thoroughfare.

Certainly, there are parts of Forest Hill Road, particularly at the intersection of Ridge Avenue, that need reworking, but the road is not as heavily traveled now as estimates suggested. That may be because of the road’s decay, but it is also a fact.

Meanwhile, on the north end of the county, on any normal work week, by eight o’clock in the morning, traffic extends from the interstate onramp, past the new Chick-Fil-A, beyond the entrance of Mabel White Baptist Church to the entrance of the Westchester neighborhood. On occasion, the traffic will back up to Kentucky Downs, a distance of 1.1 miles.

Headed from the interstate to Zebulon Road at the same time of day, a trip that normally might take 10 minutes can take 30.

But Forest Hill Road must be paved.

The amount of vacant, commercial land on the Bass Road corridor will be developed as the economy recovers. The number of houses in the area and tenants within apartments will continue to grow. The population in the area will exceed Forest Hill Road.

But Forest Hill Road must be a four lane thoroughfare?

Already, in both the mornings and afternoons, Providence Boulevard, coming out of the Providence neighborhood, backs up with a steady stream of cars unable to get out of the neighborhood due to heavy traffic on Bass Road. Other neighborhoods have similar problems.

The county should put in a light there, but the developers supposedly promised to put one in half a decade ago. Then more and more development came with more and more county approvals. A Bass Pro Shop came, more shopping came, and the county still thinks someone else should put in traffic signals. Perhaps when their constituents start getting killed in wrecks pulling on to Bass Road they will reconsider their folly.

City planners plan and road planners plan. They often do not get it right. A city that once centered around Central City Park soon moved in various directions making the city park anything but central.

While the road planners continue to be fixated with fixing the bumpy, pothole riddled Forest Hill Road, they ignore where the growth now is in the community. They ignore the steady stream of cars going up and down Bass Road. They ignore the developments springing up. They ignore the people moving in. They want to be proven so right on Forest Hill Road they are happy to be wrong on the rest.

Road planners lost the fight for public opinion and public will on their expansive plans for Forest Hill Road. The road still needs fixing. Issues still need mitigating. But it is time for the road planners to address the very real needs on the northern end of the county. It would be far better to act now than wait for the economy to improve and the new developments to start up in that corridor.

Erick Erickson is a CNN contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.

Macon Telegraph
No Confidence in the T-SPLOST  

A few weeks ago a “resident of Roswell” Georgia wrote a letter to the editor at The Telegraph calling me dishonest for implying that the Department of Transportation will enrich preferred clients through the T-SPLOST. What the resident of Roswell did not say is that the businesses he represents stands to make millions off the T-SPLOST.

My concern has always been that our transportation bureaucracy is corrupt and filled with waste, fraud and abuse. The mendacity of that response is another example.

Under the T-SPLOST, the DOT will decide if it or private contractors will build projects and, if private contractors, which ones. Is it any wonder a bunch of well-heeled lobbyists with friends in state government support the T-SPLOST?

A vote for the T-SPLOST will create a permanent class of corruption funded off our pennies. We must fix our bureaucracy before we want to seriously fix our infrastructure. Vote no on the T-SPLOST.

Erick Erickson is a CNN contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.

Letter published in Macon Telegraph on March 25, 2011:


 Subject: Forest Hill Road - citizens remain right - by Erick Erickson
Posted on Fri, Mar. 25, 2011

Macon’s ‘amateur hippies’ remain right on road

When I first got on Macon City Council, having been a daily driver down Forest Hill Road for a number of years, I was ready to bulldoze it, build a 10- lane (in both directions) super highway and have plenty of room to fly around the massive Lincoln road tanks filled with little old blue-haired people out for leisurely drives to Kroger for senior citizens’ Wednesday.

Having taken on the mantle of “responsible” public servant, I actually had to listen to the Forest Hill Road residents -- people one Department of Transportation employee referenced as “amateur hippies.” Turns out those amateur hippies were right and remain right. In fact, while the section between Forsyth and Wimbish does need some expansion and turn lanes due to capacity issues, the flow between the Forest Hill -- the Wimbish fork and Northside Drive flows well, other than senior citizens and their leisurely 10 mile per hour pace.

Certainly, Forest Hill Road needs smoothing, resurfacing and a bit of widening -- heavy emphasis on the “bit.” But it does not need to become a major thoroughfare. While the Department of Transportation bitterly clings to its master plan (and maybe its guns and religion too), the rest of us have moved on. Frankly, it seems the urban planners in Bibb County always get it wrong.

The city has migrated to its northern and southern extremities. While we have poured resources into the Hartley Bridge Road exit and now the Sardis Church Road area, Bass Road is going gang busters.

If the Department of Transportation and weekend road planning warriors had not noticed, Bass Road is taking on the appearance of the Chinese National Highway 110, which had a traffic jam back on Aug. 14, 2010, that lasted into the first week of September. No, I am not kidding.

As more Maconites flee to the north to escape what may or may not become Re-Jacked City, the traffic on Bass Road escalates. With Atlanta moving south and businesses moving in, it is a typical occurrence to see a traffic back up from the Farm Bureau Building to the entrance for the Providence neighborhood.

Without a northbound connection to get onto I-475 South, Bass Road is also now a major corridor for people trying to get over to I-475 or just to the Zebulon Road area. The only saving grace has been the collapse of the economy. That collapse has forestalled major new developments at the Bass Road interchange with I-75.

Unfortunately for road planners, it seems development is picking back up. Land is being cleared and graded, a Chick-Fil-A is going up soon. Now if someone would only put in a Taco Mac up there by the Homewood Suites.

It is time to consider ditching the plans for Forest Hill Road’s grand expansion and focusing on Bass Road instead. It does not need to be autobahned, but it certainly needs additional lanes to handle traffic flow. At the south end, where Bass becomes Foster and runs into Tucker, it may very well need a ramp onto and off of I-475. 

I am no expert. I am not an “amateur hippie.” I did not even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. But I have seen the growth in traffic and now experience it on a daily basis. While our urban planners are focused downtown and our traffic engineers are focused on Forest Hill Road, the public and major retailers are moving to the north end of the city.

The bureaucrats should not have to play catch up.

Erick Erickson is a CNN contributor and radio talk show host on WSB in Atlanta.



(EA) - Environmental Assessment - Errorsronmental

Stormwater Runoff
The EA incorrectly lists the FHR branch tributary of Savage Creek as intermittent, but it is a perennial stream
This stream is easily observed where it flows under a bridge/driveway at 744 Forest Hill Road - residence address. 
Several hundred feet of this stream will be heavily impacted. 
Mitigation has not been properly calculated for this constant-flowing stream.


Macon, Ga



 - The Forest Hill Rd Neighborhood Mediation Team:
- Carol Lystlund <>
730 Forest Hill Rd.
Macon 31210

 - Lindsay Holliday <>
744 Forest Hill Rd.
Macon 31210

- Susan Hanberry Martin <>
4831 Guerry Drive
Macon 31210

 - Dan Fischer <>
489 Ashville Drive
Macon 31210

- Alice Boyd <>
540 Forest Hill Rd
Macon 31210


Macon Telegraph Viewpoints for Thursday, May 5, 2011

Letter to Editors:

Several citizens and I met with Mayor Robert Reichert recently to discuss problems with the Forest Hill Road project design. Reichert said he’s afraid to ask for a design change from GDOT, because “someone” told him the project might lose funding if it is delayed for design modifications. Reichert summed up his feelings with this: “we need to spend the money because we have it.”

This is nuts.

If I called your health insurance company and got approval to amputate your leg, would you let me do it? The money would be there, and you would lose the money if you didn’t go through with the operation. Of course you would never make decisions like that just because the money is there. Road projects are the same thing. Supersizing FHR will destroy a valuable and stable neighborhood for what? The need is not there and the argument that we need to spend taxpayer money is immoral.

Mayor Robert Reichert needs to search his (political) soul for a better response. Please. Fix the intersections and make FHR safer for walking and biking. And save taxpayers millions of dollars while you are at it.

-- Lindsay D. Holliday

The 1994  "Road Improvement Program"  SPLOST - grossly mis-mannaged - threatens to destroy the Forest Hill Neighborhood.

- CAUTION Macon -

Forest Hill Road