Transportation Referendum Failure Leaves Atlanta Transit's Future Uncertain

The Atlanta region has some of the worst traffic congestion in the nation. Following Tuesday’s T-SPLOST vote, residents will have to wait even longer for relief. Voters in the 10-county Atlanta region voted Tuesday to overwhelmingly reject the T-SPLOST ballot measure Tuesday. By increasing the regional sales tax one cent for ten years, the measure would have raised an estimated $7.2 billion for transportation projects aimed at relieving Atlanta’s congestion. The measure was defeated by a margin of 63 to 37.

The defeat of the ballot measure leaves no immediate next steps for addressing the region’s chronic traffic congestion or expanding its underwhelming transit service. Already, Governor Neal has rejected the idea of trying again using a different source of revenue. Instead, he has suggested that the post-T-SPLOST reality will “require that we reprioritize the projects that are currently being considered. We’re going to have sharp cuts.”

The rejection of the T-SPLOST measure is a setback for the entire Atlanta region, whose economy has been stagnant for the last decade, but it is particularly disappointing for those involved with the Atlanta Beltline project, one of the most innovative urban redevelopment projects in the country. The Beltline would have received funding for its transit component had the referendum passed.

Despite the measure’s defeat, LOCUS and Smart Growth America remain committed to working with our partners in the Atlanta region to advance sustainable transportation and land use solutions.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user jcburns.