Sixty-five organizations and businesses joined with Livable Communities Coalition (LCC) last week to launch the Fast Track Forward transit campaign with plans to educate and turn out voters effort for the July 31, 2012 transportation referendum.
Organizational leaders gathered for a transit campaign kick off event held at Shout Restaurant in Midtown. Attendees sported shiny penny lapel pins to signify the one percent increase option the transportation referendum ballot initiative represents.
"From John Wieland Homes to Decatur Cooperative Ministries, our coalition is as diverse as our region,'' said Jim Stokes, interim executive director of Livable Communities. "Our coalition also includes Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., Citizens for Progressive Transit, Emory University, MARTA, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Park Pride and Regent Partners. We are leveraging the strength of our relationships and those of our member groups to achieve the goal of transit-friendly communities."
LCC is the leading coalition of grassroots education and outreach organizations and businesses committed to transit-dependent populations, smart growth and Atlanta regional transit options.
Event speakers included David Allman, chairman of LCC and Regent Partners and Doug Hooker, executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission.
"Just as trains helped grow Atlanta in the 19th Century and automobiles defined us in the 20th Century, so will transit define our communities in the 21st Century," Hooker said. "It is a pivotal time for our region to help us compete and to improve our quality of life."
LCC launched Fair Share for Transit in January 2010, amassing a diverse group of community and outreach partners during the lead-up to the October 2011 Atlanta Regional Roundtable vote on the transportation project list. Their efforts to lobby for a substantial investment in transit resulted in a dedication of 52 percent of the project list to transit. That means $3.2 billion (of the estimated $6.1 billion regional transportation project budget) generated by the one-cent sales transportation sales tax will go specifically to transit projects across the metro Atlanta region.
Now, with the support of a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, LCC has launched Fast Track Forward to ensure continuity of the regional transit projects. Fast Track Forward is an educational initiative that aims to increase voter turnout for metro Atlanta's July 31, 2012 referendum through grassroots voter education and outreach programs.
"We will use a number of platforms to reach voters, including earned media, social media, speaking engagements and an aggressive grassroots voter education campaign in densely populated urban centers, including City of Atlanta, Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Cobb, Clayton counties. We're targeting urban residents, transit riders, under-voters and quality growth advocates with a goal of getting 20,000 voters to the polls who otherwise would not vote," said Howard Franklin, campaign manager.
Stokes said his goal is to encourage the region to think creatively to find new solutions to old problems.
"Atlantans want more transit options to help kick our addiction to single-passenger autos. Our agenda is more than reducing traffic; it's about offering residents options of good, affordable housing, proximity to good jobs, and dealing with lingering problems of pollution."
In the coming weeks, Fast Track Forward will introduce a new Web site and provide coalition partners with tools to advance education on the July transportation referendum.
Fast Track Forward Coalition Members include:
Airport Area Chamber of Commerce, American Council of Engineering Companies of Georgia, American Institute of Architects Atlanta Chapter, ASAP+, the Atlantic Station TDM, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, Atlanta Community Food Bank, Atlanta Housing Association of Neighborhood Developers, Atlanta Land Trust Collaborative, Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, Atlanta Regional Health Forum, Better Georgia , Buckhead Area Transportation Management Association, Buckhead Community Improvement District, C4 Atlanta, Citizens for Progressive Transit, Commuter Club - Cumberland Transportation Management Association, Congress for the New Urbanism - Atlanta Chapter , Cooper Carry, Council for Quality Growth, Cumberland Community Improvement District, Decatur Cooperative Ministries, DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, Emory University, Enterprise Community Partners, Environment Georgia, Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, Georgia Engineering Alliance, Georgia10x10, Georgians for Passenger Rail , Green Street Properties, Greenburg Traurig, Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District, Henry County Chamber of Commerce, John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, Leadership Atlanta, Lew Oliver Inc./Whole Town Solutions, Lilburn Community Improvement District, MARTA, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Midtown Alliance, Mothers And Others for Clean Air, Park Pride, Partnership for Southern Equity, Regent Partners, Regional Business Coalition, Richport Properties, Serenbe, Seven Oaks Company, Sizemore Group, Smith Dalia, Southeastern Railway Museum, Southern Environmental Law Center, Southface Energy Institute, Sustainable Atlanta , Sustainable Solutions Georgia, Sycamore Consulting, Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates, Trust for Public Land, Urban Land Institute - Atlanta District Council, Young Professionals in Transportation Atlanta Chapter.
The Atlanta BeltLine and the City of Atlanta are hosting meetings with the Cobb County Department of Transportation, to discuss proposed transit alternatives that could connect the Cumberland area to Midtown. The first such meeting was held Monday night at the Woodruff Arts Center and see here for more on that gathering.
There are three more scheduled meetings (each 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.) and all the information presented will be the same at each meeting.
Monday, May 7 Location: Piedmont Hospital Piedmont Hospital, McRae Auditorium, 1984 Peachtree Road NW, Atlanta, 30309
Monday, May 21 Location: Atlanta Community Food Bank 732 Joseph E Lowery Blvd NW, Atlanta, 30318
Do you have questions about the proposed one cent sales tax? The Atlanta BeltLine will be hosting "Transportation Referendum Information Sessions" throughout the Atlanta BeltLine in the coming weeks. All meetings are from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the information presented will be the same at each meeting.
Thursday, May 10 (Northeast) Location: Martin L. King Jr Recreation Center 90 Boulevard Avenue, Atlanta, 30312
Monday, May 14 (Southeast) Location: Trees Atlanta 225 Chester Ave. SE, Atlanta, 30316
Thursday, May 24 (Southwest) Location: West Hunter Street Baptist 1040 Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard, S.W. Atlanta, 30310
Monday, June 4 (Northside) Location: Piedmont Hospital Piedmont Hospital, McRae Auditorium, 1984 Peachtree Road NW, Atlanta, 30309
Thursday, May 31 (Westside) Location: Atlanta Community Food Bank 732 Joseph E Lowery Blvd NW, Atlanta,