How Will You Vote on the Regional Transportation Referendum?
The Regional Transportation Referendum is a hot button issue throughout metro Atlanta.
May is drawing to a close and that means there are just two months until voters go to the polls to decide the fate of the Regional Transportation Referendum.
The one-percent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax would be collected over 10 years throughout the 10-county metro Atlanta region to fund an approved list of 150 projects.
According to the Atlanta Regional Roundtable, if passed, Smyrna-Vinings stands to get improvements to Windy Hill Road, including widening and a raised median; improvements to the South Cobb Drive corridor from Interstate 285 to Church Road/Oakdale Road; and “enhanced premium transit service” along the Interstate 75 corridor from Acworth to the MARTA Art Center Station.
Of the $8.5 billion collected over 10 years, 15 percent of that is given to city and county governing bodies to use for projects on a more local level.
If today was July 31, how would you vote and why? Tell us in the comments.
District 6 state Sen. Doug Stoner who represents Smyrna and Vinings said at a recent Smyrna Area Business Council Meeting that from a business standpoint he fears what will happen if the referendum fails.
“There are some folks outside of this state who are hoping this fails,” he said. “As one gentleman I work with in Dallas told me he said, ‘Personally I hope y’all are successful. But from a professional standpoint as the chairman I hope you fail because we’re going to eat your lunch.’”
But that’s exactly why some critics of the referendum say they are opposed, citing that it does more for economic development than it does traffic relief. Smyrna’s state Rep. Rich Golick used the Cobb County bus rapid transit system proposed in the project list as an example. Earlier this year he told Patch he doesn’t consider the $500 million project a good value for his constituents in Smyrna, Vinings and Mableton who already have access to Cobb Community Transit.
Others wonder what’s the hurry. Candidate for Cobb County Chairman and Patch blogger Mike Boyce said he favors Plan B, which allows the state legislature to revisit the project list in two years. This would allow time for Cobb County to complete its Alternative Analysis Study that’s examining the county’s options for light rail among other transportation measures.
Others still are vocally opposed. Erik Fernald, a Patch blogger, called the referendum a “boondoggle in the making” saying he doesn’t see why metro Atlantans can’t make their own traffic solutions.
“If your commute is 2 hours, maybe moving closer to your job is a solution. If you like where you live, you will hike it and make it ok and endure a small setback for your decisions. Maybe that time in the car is the only time you have to yourself all week. If you do not like the price of gas, maybe you get off your butt, get in shape, and ride a bike that you have not ridden since you were 15…crazy thoughts…people making their own decisions I know.”
The Regional Transportation Referendum is July 31.