From our policy agenda: “Following the construction of Complete Streets projects, City of Atlanta asks voters to approve a new TSPLOST, or sales tax for transportation projects. In order to address the city’s 45% sidewalk coverage and sidewalk funding gap of close to $1 billion dollars, 50% of TSPLOST funding is dedicated to sidewalk construction and repairs and 50% to street safety improvements (including lane conversions, protected pedestrian crossings, LIT (light individual transportation)/bike lanes, traffic calming, and street lighting). The project list should prioritize equity and safe access to transit, starting with High-Injury Network communities, with progress consistently and transparently reported to the public.”
Of course, this is not the City of Atlanta’s first TSPLOST. In 2016 voters approved a transportation sales tax along with a More MARTA sales tax for transit. It was estimated it would generate $260M over five years. This funding was combined with the $250 Million Renew Atlanta Bond for transportation maintenance projects from 2015.
When both funds were adopted, Atlanta did not have a Department of Transportation. As a result, projects were managed by a new office that reported to the Mayor. Staffed largely by consultants, the overhead was higher than that of other city departments and project implementation was slow, especially for Complete Streets projects. Six years later, most of the Complete Streets projects haven’t been completed. However, two key projects — Cascade Ave and DeKalb Ave — are now under contract and construction is starting soon. Other projects have been built (although not all were what voters had in mind when they approved the TSPLOST — there was that bridge, for example. For more on the TSPLOST program, visit atldot.atlantaga.gov.)
So we had to think hard about what course of action to support. After consideration and hearing from our stakeholders, we decided to support the City of Atlanta in seeking a new TSPLOST in 2022. Read more about why we came to this decision.
Here are the factors in our decision:
Atlantans desperately need more and better mobility options:
- The Atlanta Sidewalk Survey showed the city has just 45% sidewalk coverage (page 17 of presentation to City Council)
- It will cost between $842 Million - $1.07 Billion to complete the sidewalk network
- We have bus stops with no sidewalks leading to them
- Atlanta adopted Vision Zero in 2020 and needs funds to actively build safer streets
- Not seeking a new TSPLOST would deprive us of one of the few local transportation funding options
- In order to tap into federal funding, we need a way to cover the “local match” requirement
- We now have a Department of Transportation to better manage the process of a) selecting and pricing the projects and b) ensuring they get built on a realistic timeline
Not funding these much-needed improvements may save us some disappointment, but it won’t get us the streets or sidewalks our city needs.
A new TSPLOST must make a big dent in the tremendous sidewalk backlog if we are ever to become an accessible, walkable, equitable city. As residents, taxpayers, and voters, we can work together to hold the city accountable to complete the promises made by the first TSPLOST while maintaining a focus on sidewalks and safer street redesigns.
Leave a message for the Transportation Committee today between 4-7 PM:
- Call (404) 330-6059
- Leave a message no more than 3 minutes telling the Transportation Committee to prioritize sidewalks and safe streets in the next TSPLOST
- Regarding resolution 21-R-3927
A RESOLUTION BY COUNCILMEMBER CARLA SMITH CALLING FOR THE IMPOSITION, BY THE FULTON COUNTY COMMISSION, OF A TRANSPORTATION SPECIAL PURPOSE LOCAL OPTION SALES AND USE TAX (“TSPLOST”), TO FUND TRANSPORTATION PURPOSES AND A REFERENDUM ELECTION THEREON; TO APPROVE THE SUBMISSION OF A LIST OF TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS AND PURPOSES TO FULTON COUNTY; TO SPECIFY THE AGGREGATE MAXIMUM COSTS OF SUCH PURPOSES TO BE FUNDED BY THE TSPLOST; TO SPECIFY THE MAXIMUM PERIOD OF TIME THE TSPLOST WILL BE IMPOSED.