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Accounting for the T-SPLOST Referendum

I took this photo last week while standing on the rooftop of the old City Hall east – it’s a shot of the Beltline at Ponce…

beltline at PDL

I love the idea of the Beltline, and I believe that the T-SPLOST referendum is a big complement to the Beltline development that will occur over the next two decades – making the Beltline happen is the #1 reason why I’m voting yes.

However, I am a little torn about spending more public money with government and quasi-governmental stewards in charge – here’s an example – I rode MARTA last night to the Cheap Trick + Aerosmith show at Philips Arena, and admittedly – MARTA is lame. Weak. It did not feel “SMARTA.” I gave myself plenty of time, but waited 20 minutes in the 5 Points station to get from there to Philips – a one stop ride, thereby missing the first 5-6 Cheap Trick songs.

I was not happy with MARTA. Yet, I am an undaunted supporter of the referendum – the projects funded by this referendum will help to truly “UNTIE” our gridlocked metropolis, which has so many elements of poor planning by our twentieth century leaders .

Today, in the 21st century, however, this list of facts that my Atlanta Board of Realtors people sent me yesterday is convincing enough to make me set aside any libertarian stalwartness and vote yes for a consumption tax…I’m a city boy, and as my Realtor board people state in this article the key is accountability!

Here are the current facts that make the referendum matter for the ten counties of metro Atlanta…

1. Low spending and high congestion: Georgia ranks 48th in the nation in transportation spending per capita, and ranks 4th in total hours the average commuter spends in on the road each day.

2. Little room for expansion: Without additional funding, about 70 percent of metro Atlanta’s scheduled transportation dollars for the next 30 years will be spent on maintaining our current transportation network, leaving little room for expansion.

3. Congestion will increase as revenues decrease: Congestion will get worse as the region continues to grow – by some three million more people in the next 25 years. Meanwhile, gas tax revenues will continue to decline as cars become more fuel-efficient.

4. Money stays here: All monies generated here by the 10-year, regional transportation referendum would stay in metro Atlanta and be invested in high-priority projects throughout our 10 counties, from interchange improvements at I-285 and GA 400, to road and safety improvements, to a new light rail line from the Lindbergh MARTA station to the Clifton Corridor.

5. Positive return on investment: The economic impact over time on the Atlanta region would be far greater than the 1996 Olympics. The referendum investment would result in a $34.8 billion increase in gross regional product in the Atlanta region by 2040. That’s a 4-to-1 return on investment.

6. Job creation and retention: Some 200,000 jobs would be created or retained through the build-out of these new transportation projects. The positive economic effect equates to approximately 7,100 jobs each year from 2013 through 2040.

7. Business and workforce development opportunities: Policies for strong small business and minority contracting and workforce development efforts have been developed and adopted by key agencies responsible for the project build-out.

8. Cost savings to commuters: Commuters spend an average of $924 each year due to traffic congestion. Collectively, the time and fuel savings generated by referendum projects would allow residents to save $9.2 billion by 2040.

9. Decrease in travel delays: Travellers will enjoy a 24% average decrease in future travel delays on roadways improved through road widening, new construction and improved interchanges.

10. Air quality benefits: Air quality improvement would be equal to taking 72,000 vehicles off the roads daily.

Here’s a photo I took on the rooftop of the Ponce City Market last week – private funds for this remarkable redevelopment, a redevelopment that is revitalizing one of my favorite parts of Atlanta are mighty, mighty cool private funds. This positive energy, combined with some smart, accountable public funding will make Intown Atlanta an even more mighty, mighty cool place to live in the next few years…

Ponce City market rooftop

For more on the issues, check out UNTIE ATLANTA’s website.


  1. John says:

    Great job, Lee! Hope this helps put it over the top on Tuesday, July 31. This is just one of a number of positive projects to be funded by the regional TSPLOST!!!!

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