Buckhead could see new light rail transit lines, a completed BeltLine and a faster PATH400 trail build-out after voters approved two transportation-related sales tax increases Nov. 8.
The city’s total sales tax will be 8.9 percent following approval of a 0.4 percent transportation local special option sales tax and a 0.5 percent increase in the existing MARTA funding tax. Both ballot questions won support from about 70 percent of voters.
“We are thrilled that Atlanta residents have passed TSPLOST, because it means great trails and green space projects will soon be a reality across the city,” said Denise Starling, executive director of Livable Buckhead, which is building PATH400. “Of course we’re most excited about the $5 million that we anticipate for PATH400. That puts us more than halfway to our fundraising goal and it means we can continue moving full steam ahead to get the entire 5.2-mile greenway complete. This was a big victory for a more pedestrian- and bike-friendly Atlanta.”
Mayor Kasim Reed called the votes “historic” in an Election Night statement.
“Over the next 40 years, our city and region will continue to change and grow,” Reed said. “By approving the two referenda, voters have put the city of Atlanta in a position to be proactive, flexible and adaptable. We’re laying the groundwork now to ensure we can build the city of the future that we all want.”
The five-year TSPLOST could raise up to $300 million for streets, sidewalks and traffic signal improvements. The 40-year MARTA tax could raise an estimated $2.5 billion.
Among the projects that MARTA says the sales tax could help fund are:
■ A new Armour Yard rail station on the Gold and Red Lines. Armour Yard, at Piedmont Road and I-85, currently has a MARTA maintenance facility.
■ BeltLine light rail. Buckhead’s segment of the BeltLine would run between Armour Yard and I-75 along Peachtree Creek, the Shepherd Center and Piedmont Hospital.
■ Clifton Corridor light rail. This new line would run from Buckhead’s Lindbergh Center Gold/Red Line station to the Blue Line’s Avondale station through the Emory University area.
■ Arterial rapid transit bus on Peachtree Street and Peachtree Road. “Arterial rapid transit” means a bus that runs especially frequently and with priority at signals. The Peachtree route would run through Buckhead between Five Points station in Downtown to the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe Gold/Red Line station in Brookhaven. MARTA proposes pedestrian improvements on that corridor as well.
■ Bus rapid transit on Northside Drive. “Bus rapid transit” means the bus would travel mostly in a dedicated lane. The Northside route would run between southwest Atlanta and I-75 on the Buckhead border.