If you think the transportation sales tax is a good idea, you can’t be happy about this report in the AJC today:
On Monday, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed presented 20 transportation projects and city council members balked, claiming the list does not address key issues for the city and they had no input.
Creating more friction, Reed was expected to whittle the 20 projects, which would cost an estimated $6.9 billion obtained from 2012 referendum tax money set aside for transportation needs, to a workable number himself by Wednesday to submit to the state.
“Whoever had the bright idea to circumvent the council may have doomed the council’s support for this; it is just a matter of good form that you would want to have the buy-in of the council,” council president Ceasar C. Mitchell said. “The political risk here is members of the council being more aloof on this project. There has to be a strong push to get people to vote on this. This doesn’t help me in wanting to support this.”
I don’t know whose fault this is — later in the story, Reed suggests he just saw the list himself Friday, and raising the matter three days before Reed has to turn it in to the state seems like some real procrastination on the Council’s part. Whoever is to blame, it does not bode well for the regional roundtable’s chances of agreeing on a project list that there is infighting in the region’s largest city.
By the way, for those keeping score at home: The proposed projects in today’s news alone — Reed’s $6.9 billion list and MARTA’s separate $4 billion-plus list — exceed by more than one-third the expected proceeds of the sales tax over the entire, 10-county metro Atlanta region. Wish lists from Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Gwinnett and other counties will add billions and billions more in projects that can’t be funded.
Some voters may look at these long and expensive lists, compare them to the much shorter region-wide list that eventually emerges, and decide to vote for the tax because of the sheer number of projects out there. On the other hand, I wonder how many will make that comparison and be disappointed at how many projects there are that they would like to see in their area but that don’t make the cut — as so many projects inevitably will.
I still think the fight is well uphill for the sales tax’s supporters.
– By Kyle Wingfield
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