Cobb County kicks off sales tax campaign amidst clamor over Braves, transit; little mention of 2011 results

When it comes to sales tax campaigns, the one that begins in earnest Wednesday night in Cobb County has to rank among the most politically loaded in a long time.

One issue that’s not being raised seems significant – almost no one is discussing the historic importance of 90 votes. There’s plenty of buzz about the Braves and bus rapid transit. But not much about the narrow approval of a similar 1 percent sales tax referendum in 2011 – a 90-vote margin for passage out of 43,014 ballots cast.

Nor is there much talk about how voters have seen many of the proposed road projects before. A fair share of the current proposals was on a list in 2012, when voters in metro Atlanta rejected the proposed regional transportation sales tax.

Ga. 400 tolls: Gov. Deal reminds that tolls are history, closure wins awards

The issue of tolls on Ga. 400 may not be a hot button issue in this fall’s race for governor, but a recent media release reminds voters that tollbooths came down during the term of Gov. Nathan Deal.

The State Road and Tollway Authority, which the governor chairs, issued a statement about SRTA winning a national award related to the toll closure. The release was dated Sept. 5 and referenced an award bestowed Aug. 13.

Meanwhile, the Ga. 400 tolls are featured on Deal’s campaign website. They’re listed in the section titled, “The Results,” where the website states without elaboration: “Promise Kept, End of GA 400 Toll.”

Traffic relief, transit upgrades funded in ARC's five-year spending plan

A new plan due for initial adoption Wednesday by the ARC board shows the extent to which $7-plus billion can go toward improving metro Atlanta’s transportation network.

Planners talk up the will-do projects contained in this five-year spending proposal, rather than lofty visions in the Atlanta Regional Commission’s long-range transportation plan. The ARC’s 2040 plan update is up for adoption, as well.

This strategy of focusing on the five-year plan addresses some realpolitiks: Regional traffic is building after the recession, while transportation funding remains scarce; A vote to adopt a regional transportation plan will show ARC’s board is not immobilized by disagreement over who should be elected as a citizen board member.

Braves in Cobb: Traffic, transit access to stadium near Cumberland Mall may be less a nightmare than some predict

The notion offered by the Atlanta Braves that fans will find it easier to get to a ballgame in Cobb County than in downtown Atlanta ran into a buzz saw of criticism Monday.

“What a traffic nightmare!! I-75 and I-285 are already [troubled],” a writer identified as MayorDowning commented on “Now you’re adding to it.”

In reality, the Cobb site isn’t a hopeless traffic nightmare. The planned ballpark is alongside Gov. Nathan Deal’s major highway initiative. It’s in the middle of a grid of big roads served by three interstate highways. And it’s about a mile from the transfer station of Cobb’s bus system and its linkage to MARTA.

Metro Atlanta roads: How to make do with a transportation system that's (mostly) already on the ground

State and regional transportation planners are taking the steps they think are within reach in order to relieve traffic congestion in metro Atlanta. GRTA’s board took its first step Wednesday.

The solution won’t be a magic bullet, no more so than if voters in 2012 had approved the construction program envisioned for the proposed 1 percent transportation sales tax. Transit was not part of Wednesday’s conversation.

Gov. Nathan Deal’s touch is evident in the new approach. Deal said after the sales tax referendum that the state would focus on affordable transportation solutions, or, in the words of the resolution approved by GRTA’s board: Georgia will, “improve the movement of people and goods across and within the state [in order to] expand Georgia’s role as a major logistic hub for global commerce.”