Win or lose, the T-SPLOST will solve Atlanta's traffic problems.
Atlanta recently landed in 38th place on BusinessWeek's list of America's one hundred best cities. It's a sad showing for a city that considers itself to be the economic engine of the southeast. Today metro Atlanta is in a high stakes race with many of the 37 cities above it in that list, as well as the trailing 63. But, in this critical race the Atlanta economic engine is stalled in traffic.
This summer citizens of the Atlanta metro region will have the opportunity to finally get out of traffic. They can either vote for the penny T-SPLOST to fund critical transportation projects across the ten county region, or, if they feel there's not enough in it for them, vote against it.
Either way, the region's traffic problem will ultimately be solved and any question of Altanta's competitiveness with cities like Raleigh, Charlotte, Orlando, and Dallas will be answered.
A "yes" vote for more than $9 billion (including federal matching funds) in road and transit projects will set the stage for a decade of progress toward resolving the region's transportation problem. In fact, a "No" vote will also resolve the transportation problems the region is facing. But for terrifyingly different reasons.
The outcome of a "yes" vote will be to give citizens transportation choices they currently don't have. Communities throughout the region will ensure their citizens have alternative ways of getting around...road, rail or trail. By giving residents these options Atlanta will also be giving its competitors the message that Metro Atlanta is seriously in the game to win the crown of business center of the Southeastern United States. Traffic and people will move throughout the region and companies, new and established, will move here to take advantage of Metro Atlanta's significant human and physical resources.
A "no" vote will similarly enable Atlanta commuters to ultimately get relief from gridlock. Traffic will move. Not because of what we've done. But because of what we didn't do.
Commuters will fly down the Interstate unimpeded by other drivers rushing to their jobs. The jobs won't be there. Instead of companies moving into the metro area with jobs and opportunities for our citizens, they'll be leaving. And, others will never have come.
The young people we educated in our great schools will have moved to where there are jobs. And their parents may have also left for better prospects. Highways throughout the ten-county region will be congestion-free because a decade earlier, when they were stuck in traffic, Atlantans chose to do nothing. And by doing so, they let metro Atlanta's future pack up and move to cities that will be the winners in the race to be the business and economic centers of the Southeast---Raleigh, Charlotte, Orlando, and Dallas.