In today’s AJC, Tom Weyandt, Mayor Reed’s transportation policy adviser, provides an overview of the City of Atlanta’s local projects included on the July 31 Regional Transportation Referendum. Fifteen percent of the money raised from the referendum will go to local governments for smaller scale transportation projects. The really big news here is that “93 percent of Atlantans will reside within a half-mile of at least one of the 15 percent list projects or the regional projects.” We will delve more into the details over the coming weeks, but here is the overview from Tom Weyandt:
On July 31, voters in metro Atlanta will decide whether to support a penny sales tax to fund $6.14 billion in critical road and transit projects.
After a year of collaboration, elected officials on the regional roundtable unanimously approved a list of projects that addresses capacity and maintenance needs across metro Atlanta and includes funds for transit expansion and capital improvements in Cobb, Gwinnett, Clayton and DeKalb counties plus assistance to major road bottlenecks.
But many voters may not be aware that a “yes” vote also means more money for local governments to use for transportation projects close to home. The enabling legislation provided that 15 percent of the funds raised would be allocated to every local government for discretionary use. For the region, 15 percent is worth almost $1.1 billion.
In Atlanta, we have undertaken a comprehensive process to develop a list of projects that would be funded by the 15 percent allocation, which would amount to about $9.4 million per year for 10 years, totaling $94 million.
We reviewed transportation needs, worked with the City Council and met with community groups and held public meetings. We received valuable input from residents and business owners.
First, they want a focus on city-owned facilities and roads instead of state-owned areas. Second, constituents favor sidewalks, crosswalks, roadway maintenance and bicycle projects, each a core part of the quality of life of neighborhoods. Finally, the public told us to fund projects we have already identified in city plans.
The initial list covers the first five years of the program and focuses on small projects and improvements such as makeovers of major corridors such as Bolton Road, DeKalb Avenue and Cascade Road. Improvements are likely to include resurfacing, signal systems, sidewalks and other pedestrian improvements; accessibility improvements for the disabled; and provisions for transit and bicycles.
If the referendum passes, 93 percent of Atlantans will reside within a half-mile of at least one of the 15 percent list projects or the regional projects. Every neighborhood stands to see real improvements in its quality of life — whether it’s better crosswalks, more bicycle paths, or access to major projects such as the Atlanta Beltline or the Atlanta Streetcar. Every year, city leaders will review and refresh the list as community needs evolve.
Residents can learn more about the 15 percent project list here. Now is not the time for more planning — now is the time for action. Get educated about the referendum and vote July 31.