The Livable Communities Coalition

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

Time to talk: Mobility dollars and cents

Livable Communities Coalition executive director Ray Christman

Now that the most recent tax season has just ended, we can begin to get to the dollars and cents of the Transportation Investment Act.

Local governments throughout the region submitted their transportation wish lists to the Georgia Department of Transportation on Mar. 30.

And, as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Ariel Hart notes in her Sunday article, our regional leaders seem to recognize the value of transit in delivering a fair share of the solution.

Metro Atlanta is not alone in pondering a different transportation. Cities in America’s heartland like Indianapolis and Kansas City have begun efforts to bring transit to their communities. Then, there are other cites like Charlotte, Dallas, Denver and Houston who have recently introduced new transit service – to acclaim.

We, at the Livable Communities Coalition, firmly believe that metro Atlanta must have a first-rate public transit network that serves the entire region and helps us compete nationally and internationally.

This is not a head-in-the-clouds aspiration; rather it is firmly based in the reality that metro Atlanta must have unified transportation planning that increasingly offers choices that help make our lives easier, more enjoyable and more profitable.

Let’s also be clear. We will have to pay for a new transportation future that better integrates our roads, buses, trains – and our desire to have better, more walkable communities.

That’s why the unconstrained list is so important.

First, we must identify the potential projects that promise to deliver value. Then, the Regional Transportation Roundtable is charged with the responsibility of identifying the projects that promise to deliver the most value.

The next few months will offer us the opportunity explore the merits of the projects included in the unconstrained list and evaluate whether they will deliver on the promise of value. That process has already begun with Ms. Hart’s coverage in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

If metro Atlanta demonstrates it is serious about its transportation future by selecting the right projects, we feel voters will support that kind of investment in the future – a future firmly based in a comprehensive transportation network that includes transit service that is easy to use and convenient to an increasing number of destinations.

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