Atlanta has long been synonymous with cars, with traffic, with sprawl. But local governments in the metro area appear to be embracing a vision for transit unlike ever before.
This isn’t just some pie in the sky vision on my part. As the Atlanta region gets ready for a vote on a regional 1% sales tax for transportation initiatives, the Atlanta Regional Commission, which has gotten extensive input from local municipalities, has drawn up a wish list of 437 projects. See this article from the AJC or go straight to the press release on the ARC website. Some of the projects don’t have dollar figures attached to them yet, but here’s the current breakdown:
Road projects: 281 submissions totaling $8.5 billion
Transit projects: 75 submissions totaling $13.5 billion
Bike/Pedestrian projects: 55 submissions, totaling $849 million
Aviation: 6 submissions totaling $28 million
The wish list is a long way from being finalized, and it’s always possible that voters will reject the tax altogether, but I still find the emphasis on transit remarkable. Concerns about high gas prices, congested roads, parking woes, and — I hope — the sheer cost of maintaining public infrastructure to support automobile travel might finally be shifting the public mood about mass transit.