Voters Endorse Beltline; Reject Roads
ATLANTA - City of Atlanta voters said "Yes" to the TSPLOST and the streetcar and rail projects it would have paid for, while communities that would have gotten only roads said "No."
"This is a strong endorsement of the Beltline by the people who live closest to it," said Ashley Robbins, President of Citizens for Progressive Transit.
As of this press release, the T-SPLOST was winning in the City of Atlanta. "Yes" voters numbered 38,380 and "No" voters numbered 26,895. This meant 59 percent of City voters were in favor of the T-SPLOST.
Leading up to the vote, transit advocates distributed maps of the rail projects included in the T-SPLOST. All of the rail projects were at least partially in the City of Atlanta.
The ten county Atlanta region has nearly 40,000 lane miles of roads. It appears that voters felt that was more than enough roads.
"We kept hearing people outside the city say they were
unhappy the T-SPLOST would not include rail lines near them," said Robbins. "So it is not a surprise that communities that got only roads said 'No.'"
The ten county region rejected the TSPLOST.
The "Yes" vote in what is normally a low turnout election, shows that City of Atlanta voters are willing to pay for rail, bike, and pedestrian improvements. This endorsement could shape any new "Plan B."
If the City of Atlanta were allowed to vote on these
projects without the other ten counties, the most forward thinking projects in the T-SPLOST could still go forward.
"We need to free up the communities that are ready to move forward and let them make smart investments in the future," said Robbins.
In 2010, voters in Clayton County also endorsed more transit. Nearly 70 percent of Clayton County voters voted to raise a one cent sales tax to join MARTA. Although that referendum was non-binding, it shows Clayton County voters, like City of Atlanta voters, are ready to invest in mass transit.
There are other Georgia communities that would likely support transit if given a real choice.