It all comes down to an audience of one: Todd Long, the governor-appointed Director of Planning for Georgia’s Department of Transportation.
Long, initially appointed by then-Gov. Perdue in 2010 and reappointed by Gov. Deal this year, has been assigned the task of evaluating, rejecting and accepting proposals for next year’s transportation referendum.
Projects have been solicited from local jurisdictions and are now being evaluated per regional criteria. Long, in tandem with the regional round table members across the state, is currently reviewing a draft list from each district. An “unconstrained” list will be approved within the next few weeks, and the final “constrained” list of viable projects will be released in October. Click here for more information about the process and criteria.
How it All Started: The Transportation Investment Act of 2010
The Transportation Investment Act of 2010 created 12 special tax districts based on Regional Commission boundaries. Each of the 12 regions where voters approve will raise a 1-percent sales tax for the next 10 years. The transportation tax is also known as T-SPLOST for transportation, special-purpose, local-option, sales tax. In order for a transportation project to be funded through 2022, it must be on this list presented to voters in the applicable region.
The Macon-to-Atlanta Passenger Rail Line
Georgians for Passenger Rail believes that a fully developed passenger rail system is an economic development issue that reconnects Georgia’s communities, enhances quality of life and leverages environmentally friendly means of transportation.
We support the proposed Macon-to-Atlanta rail line as the first step in a state and regional network, a step we feel is necessary to keep Georgia competitive. Today, Georgia’s transportation investment is less than the national average as a share of its GDP. We devote fewer resources per capita to transportation than any state except Tennessee. The lack of investment and improvement to these assets has clearly eroded the state’s transportation performance on measures that drive economic competitiveness.
The Macon-to-Atlanta rail line must be included on the project list in three transportation districts: Atlanta, Three Rivers and Middle Georgia. It is truly a regional project, one that links prosperity around the state.
What Can You Do to Help?
Let everyone know you support passenger rail. The Atlanta Regional Roundtable is soliciting opinions on project. Click here to take the survey.
You will see “Complete this brief survey” on the right in the beige column. In the place to comment on projects outside your area, please write: “I support the Macon-to-Atlanta rail line as the first step in a state and regional rail network.” The survey is open until May 15.