Transportation Reform in Georgia
SELC helps pave the way for historic expansion of Atlanta public transit More »
With the help of SELC and a coalition of transportation, environmental, and social equity groups, this week’s inaugural launch of bus service for Clayton County marks the first time in over 40 years that a new county has joined MARTA, metro Atlanta’s mass transit provider.
Clayton County residents now have access to reliable public transportation through the approval of a one-cent sales tax increase in the November general election. Limited bus service started this week and full bus service is expected by fall 2016.
SELC organized strategy meetings with local advocacy groups and MARTA staff leading up to the Clayton County Commission’s vote to approve the sales tax increase, and helped to interpret the contract between Clayton County and MARTA officials.
Based on the efforts of our coalition and partner groups, seventy-four percent of Clayton County voters approved the sales tax increase. This historic expansion comes at a critical time as the debate for more access to public transit options in Atlanta continues at the legislature.
Local coverage of the expansion is available here.
Decades of sprawling growth and an auto-centric culture have saddled metro Atlanta with some of the most congested roads, dirtiest air, and longest commutes in the country. As part of our regional transportation reform work, SELC is working to steer Georgia away from asphalt-centered transportation policies and toward solutions that strengthen communities, reduce air and water pollution, protect sensitive ecosystems, and decrease global warming emissions.
Looking Beyond Toll Lanes
Facing congested roadways and limited transportation funds, metro Atlanta has seen a push toward construction of toll lanes on the region’s interstates. Among other problems, these toll lanes fail to provide a long term transportation solution, provide more space for solo drivers, and because of their price could be less accessible to low income drivers. SELC is countering this push by ensuring that the region does become over reliant on toll lanes as the focus of the region’s mobility strategy. Where these lanes are built, SELC is working to ensure that they are used as a tool to encourage carpooling and transit use.
Supporting Investment in Transit
Residents of metro Atlanta are increasingly demanding alternatives to driving, like increased access to public transit and more walkable communities. We are also helping to advance projects that provide alternatives to driving, such as the expansion of MARTA into Clayton County, the downtown Atlanta streetcar, and the “Atlanta Beltline”―an urban redevelopment and mobility venture that ties together public parks, multi-use trails, and transit by re-using 22-miles of historic railroad corridors circling downtown neighborhoods. Successful execution of these projects will help chart a new path for metro Atlanta, providing concrete examples of how it can move beyond building more roads. SELC will continue to work with leaders in the business community to explore other ways to fund such alternatives.
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