Atlanta voters will decide two transportation-related sales tax increases on the Nov. 8 ballot. One is a general transportation improvement sales tax and the other would increase the sales tax funding for MARTA. 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.

The transportation special local option sales tax (TSPLOST) referendum is asking for a 0.4 percent increase for street, sidewalk and trail projects. If approved by voters, it would raise anywhere from $250 million to $300 million over the next five years.

Tom Weyandt, the former director of comprehensive planning at the Atlanta Regional Commission who is advising the city on the TSPLOST, said at a recent Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods meeting 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.

The MARTA funding referendum would increase the current 1 percent sales tax to 1.5 percent. The extra sales tax is expected to raise $2.5 billion that would go toward light rail along the BeltLine, a new line connecting Lindbergh 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.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.