Officials from the City of Atlanta and MARTA were on hand at the Oct. 13 meeting of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods to discuss the two sales tax referendums that will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot.
The transportation special local option sales tax (TSPLOST) referendum is asking for an 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. A second referendum would ask for an half-penny sales tax for MARTA expansion projects.
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.
Tom Weyandt, former director of comprehensive planning at the Atlanta Regional Commission who is advising the city on the 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 built new sidewalks, create additional multi-use trails, and provide money to expand the bike share program.
For 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 Lidbergh station to the Emory university campus, and extending the west line to I-285. 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 Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods is also polling its 26-member neighborhoods ahead of the election on whether to officially endorse support both sales tax referendums.