The Barrow County Republican Party passed a resolution Monday night calling for a public referendum on any tax increase which would fund the Barrow portion of the Atlanta – to – Athens ‘Brain Train.’
Ken Young, chairman of the Barrow County Republican Party, issued the following statement on Tuesday: “We want the taxpayers to understand their local taxes will go up to pay for a Brain Train few Barrow Countians will ever need, as opposed to improved and expanded roads,” he wrote. “If Emory Morsberger and other proponents want to run a train, then let them pay for it with their own money. Of the 75 percent of Gwinnettians allegedly supporting the proposed train between Atlanta and Athens, how many have been asked if they will pay more local taxes to subsidize it? If 85 percent of the riders live in DeKalb and Gwinnett, their county governments should cover 85 percent of the maintenance and operation. If it was economically feasible, CSX would be running passenger trains right now. And we doubt CSX will ever give up their freight time to accommodate taxpayer-subsidized passenger service.” Young added that 79 percent of those surveyed by the GOP oppose higher taxes to subsidize the train. Young called on state representatives, state senators and the Barrow County Board of Commissioners to oppose raising taxes in support of the project without putting the issue before taxpayers for a vote. The resolution, approved by the county committee of the Barrow GOP, reads in part: “We strongly recommend that our State Representatives, State Senator, and County Commission, require at a minimum, public referendum approval to raise any tax (state, regional, and local) to support the Barrow portion of any Brain Train contribution.” Copies of the resolution have been sent to the Barrow delegation and county commission, as well as to Rep. Steve Davis.