This article appeared in the AJC on Sunday, May 22.
A good point is made….Will Atlanta and the surrounding 10 metro counties that have to vote to approve the transportation referendum in 2012 have a clear understanding of what the money is going to do and how it’s going to help them and improve Atlanta’s quality of life as well as keep us competitive as a place to draw more people and corporate headquarters to?
By Ernie Suggs — The Atlanta Journa-Constitution
Every day, Atlanta’s population more than doubles to more than 1.2 million people as workers, shoppers and entertainment seekers pour into the city in cars or via mass transit, according to city officials.
In many ways, Atlanta — where three major interstates and two major railroad networks converge — lies at the heart of the region’s traffic grid. It has always struggled to maintain and expand interstate and transit systems that link the metro counties and move their residents.
Officials in the capital city are banking on the money raised by the 2012 transportation referendum’s 1-cent tax, if the 10-county region passes it, to pump millions of dollars into the MARTA system, to fix bridges and roads, to accelerate the completion of the Atlanta Beltline. Of course, how many of Atlanta’s suggestions make it to a final project list has yet to be seen.
Other people question whether Atlanta voters who already are paying a 1-cent MARTA tax will want to spend more. Atlanta has an 8 percent sales tax, one of the highest in the state. If the referendum passes, that would jump to 9 percent.