The Livable Communities Coalition

Working to improve Atlanta's quality of life through smart growth

Now’s the time to make transit a priority

Livable Communities Coalition executive director Ray Christman

A message from Livable Communities Coalition executive director Ray Christman.

The Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable is working towards developing a final list of transportation projects. Their charge is to determine which projects ensure a strong transportation vision for the region prior to next year’s transportation sales tax referendum.

The Livable Communities Coalition argues that transit is essential to that vision.

The Livable Communities Coalition launched the Fair Share for Transit initiative in part because metro Atlanta residents have started to demand more transit. Polls have found public attitudes have shifted, making it clear that it is time to look at options beyond roads in resolving our traffic woes.

Fair Share for Transit has found many supporters throughout metro Atlanta who share the belief that transit is essential to providing relief and to building a strong future.

Among the more than 70 organizations that have pledged their support for a Fair Share, there are some of the usual suspects: the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, Citizens for Progressive Transit, Environment Georgia and the Sierra Club.

Then, there are the not-so-usual suspects like AARP Georgia, Cherokee County Transportation System, the Henry County Chamber of Commerce, and John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods that demonstrate broad-based support for a more significant transit presence in the region.

Metro Atlanta has changed a lot over the last 50 years; it’s clear the region needs to build a transportation network that will serve the region well for the next 50 years.

Let’s be honest: Transit has been neglected for years while, roads have continued to get more than their fair share.  We need roads and a public transportation network that offers a viable alternative to congested roads.

Fair Share for Transit’s list of recommended projects is our effort to identify the transit projects that promise the most bang-for-the-buck for the region by enhancing our existing transportation network with strategic transit investments.

Whether metro Atlanta voters will favor a 1-cent sales tax remains unclear; but, the success of the referendum depends on many variables, including selecting a final project list that offers the most promise to relieve congestion, promote growth and enhance quality of life.

The Livable Communities Coalition and its Fair Share for Transit supporters feel a roundtable decision to assure a strong transit future would be appropriate, given the historic under-investment in transit and the constraints of the gas tax, which is designated for roads and bridges only. The Transportation Investment Act is about building a strong transportation foundation for the future not possible through existing means.

There’s nothing arbitrary about investing in and expanding our transit assets to better serve the entire region.

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