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In Atlanta, A Transit Tax Battle Brews

Yonah Freemark reports on the conundrum faced by the 10-county Atlanta region over how to allocate expected revenues from a new sales tax intended to fund transit projects.
March 2, 2012, 10am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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As Atlanta's population has grown and dispersed into its outlying counties over the forty years since the region's federally funded rail system was first formed, the system itself has failed to sprawl with it.

As the region prepares to vote on a proposed 1% sales tax increase to support the highly needed expansion of the system, plans for how to allocate the $6.1 billion in predicted ten-year revenues have caused controversy and thrown passage of the referendum into serious doubt, reports Freemark who sees a battle "relevant to any metropolitan area considering major investments in new transit lines."

"Is there a way to avoid this? Unlikely. There are only a limited amount of funds available and a seemingly infinite number of projects that individuals or organizations will latch on to as priorities. Indeed, there is inevitably some opposition in the public discourse to any proposed intervention by the government. The question is how influential each side is, and what percentage of the population will be persuaded by each argument."

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Published on Thursday, March 1, 2012 in the transport politic
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