Working to improve Atlanta's quality of life through smart growth
Roundtable works towards draft list
The Metro Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable received Thursday the Atlanta Regional Commission’s staff-developed transportation project list. The roundtable had requested the agency staff to narrow the $23 billion unconstrained list down to an $11.5 billion project list.
Significantly, the ARC staff list includes $5.5 billion for transit projects.
The roundtable must now pare the ARC list down to $6.1 billion, the amount of revenue projected to be generated by the 1 penny sales tax over its 10-year life.
The Livable Communities Coalition launched the Fair Share for Transit initiative to make the case that the region must use this
opportunity to enhance and expand transit.
From the outset, our goal has been to ensure that 40 to 60 percent of the projects on the final list are transit projects.
We are pleased to see a significant commitment to transit in the ARC staff list. We hope that the roundtable members share a similar commitment to transit as they work towards generating their $6.2 billion draft by Aug. 15.
The roundtable has found through poll data, focus groups and telephone town halls that there is a public appetite for more transit options through rail, bus, bike – and by foot.
The Livable Communities Coalition – along with its Fair Share for Transit partners – will evaluate the transit and safe-routes-to-transit projects included in the ARC staff list. Through that process we will generate our own list of projects that we think will help the region enhance mobility, quality of life and its economic competitiveness.
Yesterday’s list is a good start because it reflects a serious commitment to those principles. And now, the devil will be in the details.
Other responses from around the community:
Rebecca Watts Hull, Executive Director Mothers & Others for Clean Air
It is wonderful to see such strong public support for transit expansion with the TSLPOST funding. Metro Atlanta residents clearly want the opportunity to spend less time trapped in their cars.
At the same time, our health leaders know that many of us, who struggle to squeeze exercise into our busy schedules, would benefit from a brisk walk to that new light rail station, rather than a sedentary car commute. They also know we will all breathe easier when (if?) metro Atlanta FINALLY meets federal clean air standards, and that we cannot get there without reducing vehicle miles traveled.
Given the overwhelming public support for more transit options and the clear public health need for car alternatives, why, then, would ARC staff cut Gwinnett’s light rail line and the Griffin commuter rail line on the TSPLOST list?
Given how far behind Atlanta’s transit system has fallen in relation to other large metro areas, we need to keep as many commute alternatives as possible on the TSPLOST project list.
The 10–year tax will not be able to support every transit project on the unconstrained list, but these projects certainly should take priority over road widening projects, many of which do remain on the list.
Atlanta’s experience very clearly demonstrates that new lanes fill up within a year, leaving residents and commuters with just as much congestion and even worse air quality. We urge ARC staff and the Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable to consider impacts on air quality and public health as they evaluate the revised project list.
Eric E. Jacobson, Executive Director, Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities
Dear Atlanta Regional Roundtable Member:
On behalf of the State Independent Living Council of Georgia (SILCGA) and the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD), we applaud your work on behalf of transportation improvements for the Atlanta region.
You and the staff of all participating agencies have worked tirelessly to develop meaningful investments for the people of our region. These investments if approved by the region’s voters will pay dividends in the years ahead in employment and economic development, livability, and opportunity for all our citizens. Thank you for your efforts on our behalf.
We have communicated our thoughts and concerns regarding the development of projects to you in past meetings of the Regional Roundtable.
We now request that you give high priority to transit expansion, improved access to transit, and mobility-enhancing projects which are on the attached list (with supporting rationale provided).
This requested list of projects would provide balanced improvements for all areas in our region, make transit more widespread and accessible, and link all these efforts through a mobility management system which would benefit every element of our community.
What we heard from the areas of the country which have experienced transportation referenda at the Roundtable meeting on July 7 convinces us that a list like the attached would “sell” in our region.
And, more importantly, this list would benefit everyone in the region through economic growth and accessible, widespread transportation improvements to put Atlanta at the forefront of positive transportation development.
Thank you for your consideration, and your hard work!