With less than three weeks to go until the July 31 vote, the T-SPLOST referendum debate is heating up big time.
Wednesday morning, Vincent Fort of State Senate District 39, which includes portions of Midtown, is expected to join T-SPLOST opponents, including the Atlanta Tea Party, Sierra Club, the NACCP, and AFL-CIO, in a press conference on the steps of the Georgia State Capitol.
Fifty-two percent of the projects list to be funded by the proposed one cent sales tax will go to transit projects. On Monday, Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock), the Senate majority leader, said at a press conference that an alternative plan needed to be created (and voted on in two years when it’s next eligible to be done so) that needs to be less about transit and more about roads.
On Wednesday, the pro-transportation referendum group Untie Atlanta, a group funded by Citizens for Transportation Mobility, questioned whether all the groups opposing the tax could agree on an appropriate Plan B.
“If the Tea Party, Sierra Club, DeKalb NAACP and Green Party can come up with a traffic solution that they all endorse and agree on, then maybe their opposition would be credible,” Untie Atlanta campaign manager Che Watkins said in a news release. “They cannot do that, because it is impossible to have a list that has all transit and no transit at the same time. This political posturing will only lead to more congestion, fewer jobs and less time at home with our families.”
On Wednesday, Atlantic Station is partnering with Untie Atlanta for an online Tweetup to discuss the upcoming regional transportation referendum that would fund $8.5 billion in transportation improvements.
Saba Long, press secretary at Citizens for Transportation Mobility, will be on Twitter to answer questions about the referendum from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and again from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tweeters can send questions to Caleb J. Spivak, Atlantic Station's social media and community manager, who will be moderating the discussion from the mixed-use community's Twitter handle (@AtlanticStation).
Answers will come from Long on the Untie Atlanta Twitter handle (@UntieAtlanta). Participants can follow the conversation by using hashtag #UntieATL.
If the referendum passes, the City of Atlanta is expected to receive a little over $9 million per year for ten years, or about $94 million total to spend on local projects. The city council approved the project list for the first five years last week.
There are a total of 108 Transportation Projects:
– 36 Final Investment List Projects (2013‐2022)
– 10 High‐priority Projects (2013‐2018)
– 10 Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) Projects (2013‐2018)
– 52 Neighborhood Projects (2013‐2018)
• With these projects, it is expected that 92.9 percent of city population lives within a half-mile mile of one or more of these projects
Projects in or near NPU-E
Regional Transportation Referendum- Draft Local Investment Framework
Project Name and Description
18th St from Spring St (US 19/SR 9) and W Peachtree St (US 19/SR 9) – Milling, Repaving and Two-way Conversion
Mecaslin St from Loring Heights to Atlantic Station – Multi-use Path
Monroe Dr from Amsterdam Ave to 10th St – Pedestrian Safety Improvements
Monroe Dr at 8th St to Ponce de Leon Ave at Ponce City Market (US 78/US 278/SR 8) – New Street Connection
Atlanta BeltLine Trail from Peachtree Rd (US 19/SR 9) to Peachtree Creek Area – Multi-use Path
Peachtree Rd (US 19/SR 9) at Collier Rd – Intersection Realignment & Capacity Improvements (Council District 7)
Deering Rd from Northside Dr (US 41/SR 9) – Traffic Calming
Peachtree Rd (US 19/SR 9) at Collier Rd – Intersection Realignment & Capacity Improvements (Council District 8)
Atlanta BeltLine Trail from Dellwood Dr to Peachtree Rd (US 19/SR 9) – Multi-use Path
From a Midtown point of view, interesting among this list is the new street connection of 8th Street between Monroe Drive and Ponce de Leon Avenue at the Ponce City Market. In the past neighborhood residents and the Midtown Neighbors’ Association have opposed a similar connection into the Virginia-Highland neighborhood.
The T-SPLOST project would appear to connect Monroe and Ponce by allowing 8th to extend through the Midtown Promenade parcel. It currently comes to a dead end in the Midtown Promenade parking lot.
From the MNA website:
The Midtown Alliance had once proposed to make this street two-way continuous through the Midtown Improvement District. Residents fought this change, arguing that the residential character of the street and its’ narrowness made this street a potential problem for higher densities of traffic. Of greatest concern is the location of Grady High School on 8th Street and the potential for student injuries/fatalities due to higher densities of traffic. Because the extension of 8th Street into Virginia Highlands would make it a perceived alternative to 10th Street for east/west traffic, these same concerns exist. Moreover, many of the residents on this narrow street must also use on street parking.