Tomorrow's transportation referendum vote may be the most important local vote for decades to come. So please help us by doing everything you can to URGE friends and neighbors to get out and vote for it tomorrow (if it'll help, feel free to send forward this letter to any likely voters). The vote is likely to be close, so please make sure to VOTE TOMORROW!
Dear fellow environmentalist,
Our region’s challenges seldom get the attention they deserve. This week, however, we have a rare chance to address in a big way three of the most daunting ones: mobility, air pollution and sustainable development.
Approving T-SPLOST — the single-penny sales tax on our primary election ballots Tuesday — will amount to metro Atlanta’s most significant step toward a balanced transportation system since the creation of Marta. The $3 billion in transit projects to be funded over 10 years include:
- the Beltline;
- crosstown streetcar lines;
- the Clifton Corridor rail line;
- transit service from Midtown to Cumberland-Galleria and Acworth;
- major progress on north Fulton and south DeKalb Marta lines;
- various suburban bus systems;
- and nearly $600 million in overdue Marta rail repairs and improvements.
Local projects funded by the tax will include walkways, bikeways and Livable Cities Initiatives designed to create compact, less car-dependent communities. (For a full list of projects go to www.metroatlantatransportationvote.com.)
All told, these changes would catapult Atlanta into near parity with many of our more progressive big city rivals. After 40 years of failed attempts at transit progress, that’s a big deal.
T-SPLOST isn’t perfect. It funds more roads than we’d like. But please don’t be swayed by claims that it’s just another referendum, or that its rejection would magically morph into some vague chance at a better deal.
Simply put: This is our best shot. In fact, it’s likely to be our last real shot at transportation reform for a long time. We need to grab this opportunity to put in place transportation alternatives that will nurture new travel habits, reward sustainable communities, and build constituencies in the metro area for saner development patterns.
So please join us by rallying your friends, neighbors and networks to support T-SPLOST. Most importantly, please make sure you get out and vote this Tuesday, July 31, in favor of our best chance at building the Atlanta we’ve spent decades fighting to improve.
Walter Brown and Ken Edelstein
Walter Brown is senior vice president for development and sustainability at Jamestown Development. Ken Edelstein is a longtime Atlanta journalist and environmentalist.