Earlier this week, Metro Atlanta voters in 10 counties shot down the “Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax,” or T-SPLOST, by an overwhelming majority, 63% to 37%.
If passed, T-SPLOST would have created a 1% sales tax to help pay for an already determined $7.2 billion package of regional transportation projects, including $3.2 billion for transit plus another $1.1 billion in local projects.
The vote in Atlanta goes against the typical pattern over the last few years, which has seen referendums that would pay for transportation projects pass by a large majority. In 2011 alone, 22 out of 28, or 79%, of the initiatives on state and local ballots passed, many of which involved levying new taxes, according to the Center for Transportation Excellence. Meanwhile in 2010, 44 out of 57, or 77%, of the initiatives passed.
There were initial reports that the referendum was defeated by an opposition that raised a meager $15,000 compared to the $8 million sunk in by T-SPLOST advocates. However, an interesting article by the Christian Science Monitor dispelled that rumor and also spoke of an unusual alliance between local Tea Party and Sierra Club officials as well as the NAACP.
The article speaks about how this odd alliance defeated T-SPLOST and advocated for a “Plan B,” which would benefit the causes that all three groups advocate for.
With transportation referendums usually finding success, it’s interesting to wonder if the vote in Atlanta will start a new trend that sees the Tea Party, or any other local group of advocates for that matter, impacting votes in other states? What do you think?
In case you missed it...
Read our METRO blog, "OCTA CEO: New federal bill a win for America," here.
Agencies that use Twitter to respond to users’ complaints or answer questions get more positive Twitter reaction and more civil discourse online, according to Lisa Schweitzer the author of a recent study analyzing tweets of public transit agencies. “It’s about the marketing potential of social media — a lot of public transit agencies are simply tweeting their problems to the world by blasting out late service announcements. That’s not a good use of Twitter,” she says. “Transit agencies can influence the tone of the discussion by interacting with patrons online,” Schweitzer explains. “It gives people something to respond to, and it reminds people that somebody is listening.”
Usually by early January, I will hopefully have taken down the last of our holiday decorations and eaten or given away the remaining sweets that have become a part of my regular diet during the month of December. Then, of course like most people, I’ll think about ways I want to improve myself for the coming year. Whether it be exercising more (walking from the parking lot to my office doesn’t count), eating less ice cream or managing my email better. The latter practice alone would help improve my efficiency at work immensely. I’m sure you probably feel the same way.
A new National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study solidifies what the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Transit Savings Report has been telling us for years now: riding public transportation can save users money.
June 20 will mark the 8th annual National Dump the Pump Day sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association, in partnership with the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Driving a bus never looked easy. Living in California and being stuck in my car as much as I am, I’ve always had tremendous respect for the men and women who operate buses on a daily basis. So, when the call came that I would get my shot to drive in Sunday’s APTA Bus Roadeo, I was both excited and nervous.