Variables that Influence Public Support for Transportation Referendums
Leous, Audrey F.
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The Atlanta region has experienced tremendous growth in its recent history, and with that has come increased traffic volume and congestion. Between 1990 and 1996, the region's population grew 16% (GRTA, 2003). In that same time period, the urban land area expanded 47%, after growing 25% between 1980 and 1990 (New Georgia Encyclopedia, 2008). Air quality became so poor as a result that it failed to meet air quality standards by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. To address this challenge, the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) was created in 1999, focusing on improving the region's transportation issues by focusing on mobility, air quality and land use. However, GRTA did not fully address Atlanta’s transportation problems. Atlanta is still struggling with poor air quality and traffic continues to increase, contributing to an increase of greenhouse gases and climate change. Also of growing concern are transportation funding and policy making, given the current economic and policy climate. Local tax revenue streams for public transportation are becoming more central and relied upon (CFTE, 2006). Georgia’s Transportation Investment Act of 2010 is aimed at providing the region with an alternative funding source. In 2012, voters in the Atlanta, GA region will be deciding whether to implement a 1% sales tax which will be used to fund local and regional transportation projects. The tax revenue will be spent on transportation projects to relieve congestion, expand transportation options, create jobs, address safety needs, and improve air quality. According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, this tax is necessary because Georgia has under-invested in transportation, the motor fuel tax can only be used for roads and bridges, and state and federal funding are insufficient to meet our transportation infrastructure needs.