Mayor’s Office of Communications
55 Trinity Avenue, Suite 2500 • Atlanta, Georgia 30303
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 07/25/12
Mayor Kasim Reed Joins More than 20 Environmental Groups for Transportation Referendum Endorsement
ATLANTA – Mayor Kasim Reed joined Dennis Creech, Executive Director of Southface, and more than 20 environmental groups today for an official endorsement of the Regional Transportation Referendum on July 31, 2012.
“With passage of the transportation referendum, the benefits to our air quality are equivalent to removing 72,000 cars daily from our clogged roads,” said Mayor Reed. “We also know that more choices and options will exist with investments in transit, light rail, bike paths and sidewalks. I strongly believe this is the right solution for moving Atlanta toward a more sustainable community and I am pleased this referendum has the support of more than 20 environmental groups.”
If the Regional Transportation Referendum passes on July 31, it is estimated that more than $7.2 billion will be invested over a 10-year period across the 10-county Atlanta metropolitan region with 15 percent going directly to municipalities. In addition to regional projects, the City of Atlanta is expected to receive about $94 million for local projects such as multi-use paths and trails, bicycle and pedestrian improvements, increased street lighting, and sidewalk and ADA ramp installations and repairs.
“For Atlanta to continue to thrive, we need to invest in transportation,” said Dennis Creech, Executive Director of Southface. “In our work promoting sustainable communities across the nation, we see that transportation choices, including bikeways, transit and smart streets are essential to attracting economic development. The referendum funds will expand our options and help improve the quality of life for the entire Atlanta region.”
A recent Brookings Institute report shows Atlanta among the worst cities in the country for providing public transit options for its workforce. Meanwhile competing cities, including Charlotte, Phoenix, Denver and Salt Lake City, have all passed regional transportation sales taxes. The July 31 vote will provide new commute alternatives, including more than 10 miles of transit on the Atlanta BeltLine and an extension of MARTA with the Clifton Corridor rail line, linking the Lindbergh MARTA station to the Emory University/Centers for Disease Control (CDC) area.
“This referendum will do more to realize a modern, multimodal transportation system than any decision in decades,” said Brian L. Gist, senior attorney, Southern Environmental Law Center. “The Atlanta Beltline, Clifton Corridor and other projects demonstrate that we can meet Atlanta’s growth and transportation needs without sacrificing air quality or furthering sprawl.”
The projects funded through the referendum will create 10 miles of new light rail, increase the region’s bicycle lane coverage by about 29 miles, create more than 30 miles of bus rapid transit service and add sidewalks to many major roads. The projects will allow 75,000 more people to use public transit options and put more than 92 percent of Atlanta residents within a half mile of at least one of the projects.
According to the Atlanta Regional Commission and statistics from some of the environmental groups, the benefits to air quality alone – should the referendum pass – will be equivalent to removing 72,000 cars daily from Atlanta roads and reducing emissions of nitrogen oxide, a component of ozone, by 245 tons each year and greenhouse gas emissions by 218,000 tons per year.
“This referendum provides a vehicle for workforce development through much needed job creation,” said David A. Jackson, president for The Center for Working Families Inc. “It will provide countless opportunities for out-of-work construction workers who are trained and ready to play a part in addressing our infrastructure needs right here in Atlanta. While the successful passage of this referendum will untie Atlanta, it also will unlock sustainable income for hundreds of local families.”
"The two top health threats facing Georgia's children are asthma and obesity,” said Rebecca Watts Hull, director, Mothers & Others for Clean Air. “Passing the transportation referendum can help with both— reducing pollution from Atlanta's roadways, which can trigger asthma attacks, while expanding opportunities for children to safely walk and ride their bicycles, a great way to get the daily physical activity they need."
"Transportation is multifaceted. In Atlanta, historically, transportation has meant cars and roads,” said Jim Stokes, Executive Director, Livable Communities Coalition. “But trends across our country demonstrate that transit is expanding dramatically. Transit is the key to developing the walkable, mixed-use communities that attract our young folks and provide major economic improvement.”
Organizations supporting the July 31 Regional Transportation Referendum:
1. Atlanta Bicycle Coalition
2. Bike Emory
3. The Center for Working Families, Inc.
4. Central Atlanta Progress
5. Citizens for Progressive Transit
6. Environment Georgia
7. Georgia Conservancy
8. Georgia Recycling Coaltion
9. Green Chamber of the South
10. Livable Communities Coalition
11. Midtown Alliance
12. Mothers & Others for Clean Air
13. The Nature Conservancy
14. Park Pride
16. Southeast Green
17. Southern Environmental Law Center
19. Sustainable Atlanta
20. Trees Atlanta
21. Trust for Public Land
22. Urban Land Institute
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For more information about the City of Atlanta, please visit http://www.atlantaga.gov or watch City Channel 26. Follow the City of Atlanta on Facebook and Twitter @City_of_Atlanta. Follow Mayor Reed on Facebook and Twitter @Kasim Reed.