Friday, March 2, 2012

Promoting Increased Transit Investment in GA

Last Wednesday, LOCUS President Chris Leinberger and I traveled throughout the Atlanta metropolitan region meeting with political and business leaders to lend support for the upcoming Transportation Investment Act referendum and to advocate for public transportation’s unique role as a driver of the region’s economic development.

In 2010, Georgia lawmakers passed the Transportation Investment Act, which calls for a statewide vote to raise local sales taxes by one cent in order to fund mass transit, road, and other transportation projects in the state. The legislation divides the state into 12 regions and allows elected officials from each region to choose certain transportation projects to be funded by the tax. Currently, regions are compiling their list of transportation projects to be considered for the referendum.

We were joined by Ray Christman, Director of the Livable Communities Coalition, at a Georgia Passenger Rail Coalition sponsored presentation on the latest trends in real estate and how demographic shifts are pushing demand toward transit-oriented, walkable development, which is the next critical component of metro Atlanta’s economic development portfolio.

Later in the evening, Chris testified in front of the Georgia Intermodal Committee of the State Transportation Board regarding the need to make sure the metro region’s transportation project list includes a commuter rail line that would connect Macon to Atlanta. Transportation investments like the Macon-Atlanta commuter line will be key to attracting more young professionals to the area and laying the infrastructure for the second growth corridor.

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