Study shows winners and losers of transit proposals in transportation sales tax

By David Pendered

Transit projects that would be funded with the proposed 1 percent transportation sales tax represent almost 55 percent of the $6.14 billion that would be raised in metro Atlanta, according to staff estimates.

An outside review of the current list of proposed transit projects shows that the major effects of this spending will be felt along three transit corridors. These three corridors would receive more than 60 percent money earmarked for transit, according to the review.

The review also shows that five proposals for major transit improvements received no funding at all.

These findings are published today in To read the full report, click here.

Editor Ken Edelstein has parsed the list of transit projects, and this report follows through on his examination that led him to conclude earlier this month that: “The vast majority of transit projects have essentially been pushed off the scenarios.”

Now that the preliminary list has been approved, Edelstein revisits his premise and presents his findings in today’s story.

The public debate over the proposed transportation tax is just beginning.

That’s because the preliminary list of projects is just that – a preliminary list. Now that this list has been approved by a five-member committee, it will be fed into the political grinder of the 21-member Atlanta Regional Roundtable.

The roundtable is comprised of two leaders of each participating county – the commission chairman plus a mayor – and the mayor of Atlanta. This body represents the full-throated choir that will determine how much of the existing list to keep, and how much to replace – and with which alternative projects.

The big panel is required by state law to approve, by Oct. 15, a list of projects that will be presented to voters in the 10-county metro area.

The sales tax referendum is increasingly likely to be on the ballot in November 2012, as a proposal to move the date from July 2012 is moving through the state Legislature.


David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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