Why is the Sierra Club Opposing Atlanta's Transportation Tax Referendum?

Atlanta area residents will go to the polls on July 31st to vote on a one-cent sales tax increase that provides an opportunity to transform mobility and growth patterns for decades to come. So why is the Sierra Club of Georgia opposing the measure?
May 2, 2012, 12pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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As Angie Schmitt notes, Atlanta's transportation referendum, the Transportation Investment Act (TIA), would provide more than $7 billion for transportation projects, over the ten years in which the tax increase would be in place, with $3.14 billion dedicated to mass transit projects. However, in opposing the measure, the Sierra Club is holding out for a better deal.

In what may be a politically naive stance, "The Sierra Club hopes that after the referendum is defeated, a new proposal funded by the gas tax with 'a fix-it-first roads strategy' 'that emphasizes transit expansion and improvement' will emerge, according to a statement from the group printed in the local alt-weekly, Creative Loafing."

"The Sierra Club plan sounds like great transportation policy, but it currently lacks the political and organizational support underpinning TIA. And compared to the region's current transportation, TIA is pretty good policy. If Atlanta lets the current moment slip by, there's no telling when the region will have another good opportunity to raise billions in revenue for transit," argues Schmitt.

"The Atlanta Journal Constitution noted that the rest of the region's environmental groups were either supportive of the referendum or were keeping mum."

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Published on Tuesday, May 1, 2012 in Streetsblog D.C.
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