Ultimately, this blog is absolutely worthless if I don’t use it to take a stand in favor of the voting yes on July 31. This time I around, I’d like to yield the space to my friend Brett Oliver, who recently circulated the email below to his contacts. It’s rationale, well researched and exceptionally compelling. If you have yet to dive in to the issue, it will serve as both a wonderful primer as well as (hopefully) the impetus to make an effort Please take a moment to read it:
I wanted to follow up on the Transportation Referendum vote next TUESDAY JULY 31st. Polls have it very close but opposition is edging us out. We truly have to rally now and GET PEOPLE OUT TO VOTE.
This is our chance to shape the future of Atlanta in a positive way. Think LONG TERM viability of Atlanta. Voting YES is about setting Atlanta up for our kids in the next 20-30 years.
Here is a quote from AJ Robinson, President of Central Atlanta Progress. AJ is an instrumental leader in Atlanta and someone I respect.
“Not since the creation of MARTA has a local vote meant so much for metro Atlanta jobs, infrastructure, congestion relief, and overall competitiveness all in one.”
If we don’t take the stand now, it will be FOUR MORE YEARS before we get the chance again. We can’t let that happen. So, please take the time to talk to your friends and colleagues. Spread the word. It’s our chance to be leaders and shape the future of the City! I think that’s exciting.
For more information, you can read and use links in my previous email below. Or you can read AJ’s personal op-ed about the vote, as well as other community and business leaders. Or watch this 30 minute “Google+ Hangout” session with Mayor from last night where we were able to ask the Mayor and other panelists about the importance of the Referendum passing.
– Please mark it on your calendar
– Block out 1 hour
– Drive to your polling station
– Vote “YES” for the Atlanta Transportation Referendum (a.k.a. T-SPLOST)
Please forgive this mass email but I think this is too important not to send. I have encountered many peers unfamiliar with the Transportation Referendum (a.k.a. T-SPLOST) or its importance. This deciions will impact our lives and the future of Atlanta for years.
So, here is a quick rundown:
T-SPLOST (Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) Referendum will fund ~$8.5 billion in transportation improvements through a regional 1% sales tax over the next 10 years.
By regional it means it involves the rare cooperation and collaboration of 10 counties to address Atanta’s traffic woes.
If it does not pass, it will be years before a new comprehensive solution can be drafted again let alone implemented.
A few major projects (but click here for complete, interactive project list)
– Interchange improvements to I-285 West at I-20, I-285 North at GA 400, and spaghetti junction
– Street, sidewalk and traffic signal improvements (coordination, optimization, and modernization) of major arterial streets (including major sections of Peachtree, Piedmont, 10th St, 14th Street, Howell Mill, Monroe, Edgewood Ave., North Ave, and Ponce de Leon to name a few)
– MARTA connection to Emory & CDC plus major upgrades to existing system
– Over 10 miles of street cars on the Atlanta BeltLine and through Midtown and Downtown
THE VOTE IS JULY 31st (in case you missed this the first time)
It is my opinion passing the referendum will begin to address the biggest negative perception of our city…Traffic! It is not the magic bullet but it will mark a huge step in the RIGHT DIRECTION. I believe it will spark immediate investment and positive economic activity and pay major dividends down the road.
Passing the Referendum will fast-forward these projects including an absolute game changer in the Atlanta BeltLine. Think about this. If the vote passes there will be trains running on the BeltLine in 5 years. Atlanta will have ~10.2 miles of light rail connecting Piedmont Park to Midtown to Downtown to Inman Park and back, plus a cross town connection to the Westside. This light rail/street car will connect to 3 existing MARTA stations, providing “last mile” connectivity to key intown locations—the connectivity MARTA has desperately needed to become a more functional, viable system (click here for an interesting article comparing the history of Atlanta and Washington DC’s metros A Tale of Two Cities).
If it does not pass it might be years before a new solution is brought to the table (minimum of 2 years legally). Meanwhile, cities like Nashville, Dallas, Charlotte, Raleigh, Denver won’t wait for us. Instead they will be better suited to attract talent and investment while we will sit idle and traffic gets worse.
At the BeltLine’s Quarterly Update meeting last week the polls showed the effort was losing. We have a little over a month to change this. Even if the polls were wrong, the vote is too tight and too important to assume victory. We should push to ensure a landslide!
So, please take the time to learn more about the initiative. Spread the word and educate others . Let’s get as many people to the polls as possible. It’s such an important opportunity and we can’t squander it due to a lack of knowledge or apathy.
July 23-27 – Early voting week
July 31 – VOTE
Helpful voting links:
Register to vote, CLICK HERE
Information on Early Voting and Absentee Voting CLICK HERE
Absentee Ballot Registration form, CLICK HERE
To find your county’s address and other contact information to send your absentee ballot CLICK HERE
I’m sure there are people copied that are not in favor. Perhaps you can’t be persuaded but my hope is you were able to use this email and the links provided to make a more informed decision. I’d also be happy to discuss with you in more detail and get a crack at changing your mind!
Thanks for your time and please spread the word!