Published on October 17th, 2016 |1
BCN polling neighborhoods on support for 2 Nov. 8 SPLOST referendums
Officials from the city of Atlanta and MARTA were on hand at the Oct. 13 BCN meeting to discuss the two sales tax referendums through what they described as “purely informational” presentations. By law neither the organization is allowed to urge residents how to vote.
The city of Atlanta’s transportation TSPLOST referendum is asking for a 0.4 percent increase for street, sidewalk and trail projects. If approved by voters, it would raise anywhere from $250 to $300 million over the next five years.
The second referendum would ask for an additional half-penny sales tax for MARTA expansion projects. The MARTA, the extra sales tax is expected to raise $2.5 billion that would go toward light rail along the BeltLine, a new line connecting Buckhead’s Lidbergh station to the Emory university campus, and extending the west line to I-285.
If voters approve both referendums, it would push the city’s sales tax from 8 to 8.9 percent – the highest in the metro area. Add to that a 1 percent city of Atlanta Municipal Option Sales Tax (MOST), which helps fund renovations to the water and sewer system, and Atlantans will be paying 9.9 percent sales taxes.
Tom Weyandt, who is advising the city on its TSPLOST, said that the 0.4 percent increase would fund major projects, including purchasing the rest of the right-of-way for the Atlanta BeltLine, help refurbish streets, repair and build new sidewalks, create additional multi-use trails, and provide money to expand the bike share program.
MARTA has launched a new website at moremarta.com to educate voters on what passage of the sales tax referendum and the various projects involved.
The half-penny tax investment shifts the burden of paying for MARTA’s expansion and enhancement partially away from residents of Atlanta, because visitors who shop and eat in the city will pay nearly 40 percent of the money raised, according to MARTA.
Early voting began Oct. 17 at the following Buckhead locations: Buckhead Library, 269 Buckhead Avenue; Northside Library, 3295 Northside Parkway; and Chastain Park Recreation Center, 140 W. Wieuca Road. The polls open at 7 a.m.