Here's what some publications are saying about the July 31 regional transportation referendum, known as TSPLOST (for transportation special purpose local option sales tax).
“Everybody’s in agreement that we have to do something about it, but are they just going to put a Band-Aid over it again or will it really be a solution and a serious change in infrastructure?” asked Ayla Crippen, 34, who works in sales for an online marketing company and relies on her car.
She has two young children and battles a daily 45-minute commute between her job in Sandy Springs and her home in Decatur. The few times she has tried to use public transportation to commute it was a scheduling nightmare and an uncomfortable experience, she said.
Still, she is willing to consider a penny increase in the sales tax if it might actually do some good.
“Everyone suffers from the traffic here,” she said. “Everyone. This can’t go on.”
Business leaders argue that the referendum is a game-changer on the same scale of the airport, and that a rejection could send Atlanta tumbling from a national heavyweight to just another regional also-ran.
On the opposing side, critics of the plan warn that Atlanta is on the cusp of an epic, taxpayer-funded boondoggle.
The reality, according to analysts who assess cities’ competitiveness, is more nuanced. In general, they say that failing to pass the referendum won’t burnish Atlanta’s national cred, but neither will it be a doomsday scenario.
“It won’t make or break Atlanta. But it will put a dent in its armor. It will costs jobs. How many? I’m not sure,” said Dennis Donovan, a site relocation consultant based in New Jersey.
The road leading up to the July 31 transportation tax referendum, commonly known as the TSPLOST, has been about as harmonious as a Friday afternoon ride on the Downtown Connector. Recent polls show an electorate bitterly divided over the proposed ten-year, 1 percent sales tax—even though its backers swear the measure is our last chance to keep Atlanta traffic from being a perpetual punch line.
At stake in the ten-county Atlanta region is a $6.14 billion list of 157 roadway and transit projects staggering in its specificity and transformative potential.