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AJC editorial board endorses regional transportation sales tax
IN THE NEWS – When I get to the office on Monday mornings, I make a habit of reading the headlines and the editorial sections from some of my favorite news sources and from others which I consider required reading.
This week I was glad to see an op-ed from The AJC editorial board endorsing the idea of a regional transportation sales tax.
As some of you may already know, our local governments – both cities and counties – have been working to provide an “unconstrained” list – unconstrained, at this point, by dollar spending limits – of transportation priorities to respond to the mandate in lastyear’s Transportation Investment Act.
Specifically, that mandate requires the region to develop a final transportation list prior to the referendum scheduled for summer 2012. That referendum will provide voters an opportunity to approve or reject a one-cent sales tax intended to fund transportation improvements throughout the region.
The AJC editorial board correctly notes that the region must seriously address its transportation problem in order to help the region remain competitive. They are also correct in calling for the kind regional cooperation that has not existed in the past when it comes to the issue of transportation.
The op-ed is silent, however, on the need for transit to be a significant part of any regional transportation-improvement effort. We think that’s crucial. On Mar. 29, the Livable Communities Coalition and 30 partner organizations launched our Fair Share for
Transit initiative to make that very point. In our opinion, a Fair Share for Transit on the final transportation list would include – at a minimum – 40 percent for transit or transit-related projects.
It is still early in the conversation, and we may still find that The AJC editorial board agrees with us. In the meantime, I applaud the editorial board for identifying what’s at stake for all of us in their editorial. I hope a future editorial will tackle the importance of seeing a very significant share of funding – a fair share in our view – dedicated to public transportation, bike and pedestrian improvements.