Atlanta’s regional transportation list set for public vote

| Monday, October 17, 2011

A massive list of transportation projects has been finalized that Atlanta-area voters will be asked to approve.

The Atlanta Regional Transportation Roundtable unanimously approved the final project list that will go before voters in a referendum next summer. If passed at the ballot box, $6.1 billion in transportation work throughout the 10-county area will be paid for via a 1 percent sales tax increase.

In 2010, then-Gov. Sonny Perdue signed into law a bill to authorize a select group of elected officials to come up with a list of local projects and submit the list to voters, along with a 10-year sales tax increase.

The regional roundtable recently wrapped up a series of public meetings to discuss the more than 100 highway and transit projects identified for work.

Projects on the list include a possible light rail project from Atlanta to Cumberland; improvements for the interchange of Interstate 285 at Georgia 400; and interchange improvements at Interstate 85 at I-285.

Voters in the affected counties will get the final say on the proposed tax increase to fund road, bridge and transit projects during the next decade. The issue is slated to be on the 2012 presidential primary ballot.

If approved by voters in the 10-county area, work could begin on the identified projects. Counties cannot opt out of the region’s tax.

The tax is expected to raise about $7 billion. All but about $1 billion will be devoted to the regional project list. The rest of the money could be spent by counties and cities on various transportation projects.

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