After metro Atlanta voters soundly rejected a 1-cent regional sales tax to fund transportation projects this summer, state officials are looking for new ways to help pay for high-priced road improvements, the state transportation commissioner told a group of Perimeter business leaders.

“The metro area told us they didn’t trust government and they didn’t trust DOT,” Keith Golden told members of the Perimeter Business Alliance during a luncheon meeting Nov. 9. “We’re going to have to adapt to that.”

State Transportation Commissioner Keith Golden talks to members of the Perimeter Business Alliance on Nov. 9.

Golden said the state transportation agency is looking for partnerships with local groups, such as the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts, to help fund projects in order to speed them up.

“The governor told me after the TIA [Transportation Improvement Act] passed to help those who help themselves,” Golden said. He noted that three regions of the state approved sales taxes for their project lists.

After Golden’s talk, PCIDs president and CEO Yvonne Williams announced the business group planned to contribute financially to improvements to the intersection of Ga. 400 and I-285. That $450 million project led the list of improvements to be financed by the sale tax that was rejected by the voters in July.

Williams said PCIDs leaders hadn’t figured out yet how much they could contribute or how the money should be used, but they hope to be able to convince state officials to speed up the project. “We’ve got to figure out the numbers,” she said.

Golden said a PCIDs contribution could mean planning of the work could move more quickly.

“Every little bit is going to help,” Golden said.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.