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.