The Livable Communities Coalition

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

Roundtable committee prepares project recommendations

Livable Communities Coalition executive director Ray Christman

A message from Livable Communities Coalition executive director Ray Christman:

Dear Member of the Roundtable Executive Committee,

As transit advocates, we applaud the strong start that the Roundtable Executive Committee made last week when it chose seven transit projects to serve as the starting point for the region’s draft Transportation Investment Act project list.

As you consider your vote for a final draft list tomorrow, we urge you to adopt a package in which transit receives $4 billion – or roughly 60 percent – of the revenue to be generated by the TIA sales tax. We believe that this amount would allow the Executive Committee to provide appropriate support to the seven priority projects previously identified as well as to other worthy projects such as the I-20 East rail extension and the Regional Mobility Call Center. Please consider:

  • Only rail transit offers a viable alternative along our region’s most congested corridors.
  • Only rail transit offers a package of benefits that blends jobs creation, economic impact, the ability to
    move people reliably between major job and population centers, and a positive impact on surrounding
    real estate development.
  • Without the boost that only TIA can provide, Atlanta will increasingly compete at a disadvantage for jobs
    and young professionals with those cities that have found a way to build rail transit.
  • Since the lion’s share of non-TIA funding over the next decade will likely go to roads, only TIA allows
    the region to make significant progress on transit in the foreseeable future. Even with $4 billion in
    transit spending, transit will account for just 25 percent – 30 percent of the region’s total transportation
    spending over the next decade.

In addition, all signs indicate that transit is vital to a winning proposition next year. Recent public comments at Roundtable meetings, polls, surveys, focus groups and town halls confirm the public’s interest in transit.

A special tax should produce special results. Voters will know intuitively next year that we cannot make a difference in metro Atlanta’s traffic congestion if we do not do something different. With the population of greater Atlanta (20 counties) predicted to grow by 2.8 million by 2040, it should be clear to everyone that we’ll never have room for roads big enough to carry half again as many cars as we have today. That’s something that competitor cities and other major U.S. metro areas have realized, including Charlotte, Dallas, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and even famously sprawling Los Angeles.

With your vote tomorrow, please send to the full Roundtable a draft list that makes it clear that our region intends to address tomorrow’s needs as well as today’s.

Thank you for your leadership and hard work.

Ray Christman

Executive Director, Livable Communities Coalition, on behalf of Fair Share for Transit and its 81 member
organizations

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