Atlanta’s Transportation Future
Atlanta – As encouraging as it was to learn that USDOT awarded Atlanta $47 million for the Edgewood streetcar, Atlanta’s transportation future remains murky.
For one, the City of Atlanta must still find a way to identify a funding source to raise $5.6 million to make the proposed line viable.
Some question the validity and importance of the Edgewood streetcar line that will connect the Centennial Olympic Park tourist district to the King Center on Auburn Ave., especially after MARTA has had to impose a number of cost containment measures that have affected service.
There is also ongoing concern about HB 277, which allows regions like metro Atlanta to impose a one cent sales tax to fund transportation improvements throughout the region.
Of concern, however, is that the Georgia General Assembly in a seemingly spiteful manner included provisions in the bill that prevent the funds from being used to support MARTA. The bill allows this revenue source to support transportation systems in other parts of the state.
For this reason, delegations in DeKalb and Fulton – and now Atlanta – have passed resolutions noting their concern about the bill and urging the Georgia General Assembly to amend the bill during the 2011 legislative session.
While imperfect, HB 277 arguably helped Atlanta get the $47 million grant from USDOT because it identifies a long-term revenue source that can support transportation initiatives in the city and in the region.
As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jay Bookman posits, this transportation could mark a critical turning-point for the region in embracing and funding a full range of transportation options.
What do you think?