City of Atlanta Policy Agenda: Funding Recommendations
One major barrier to building an inclusive transportation network is the lack of money available to build projects. These recommendations intend to provide more resources for sustainable transportation projects. We define sustainable transportation as relatively green ways of getting around that are low-emission and reduce the negative impacts of transportation on the climate and environment.
TSPLOST Addresses Sidewalks & Street Safety
Following the construction of Complete Streets projects, City of Atlanta asks voters to approve a new TSPLOST*. In order to address the city’s 45% sidewalk coverage and sidewalk funding gap of close to $1 billion dollars, 50% of TSPLOST funding is dedicated to sidewalk construction and repairs and 50% to street safety improvements (including lane conversions, protected pedestrian crossings, LIT/bike lanes, traffic calming, and street lighting). The project list should prioritize equity and safe access to transit, starting with High-Injury Network communities, with progress consistently and transparently reported to the public.
Fund Public Infrastructure Account
City of Atlanta fulfills its obligation to set aside 3.5% of the general budget fund, representing ~$25 Million, to the Public Infrastructure Maintenance and Improvement account (per City ordinance 14-O-1513), to address critical needs such as damaged sidewalks.
Fund Safe Routes to School
Atlanta Department of Transportation creates a Safe Routes to School program that prioritizes safety improvements for schools on or near the High-Injury Network and finds new, innovative revenue sources to provide safe transportation options that support more livable communities while preventing displacement.
Expand Participatory Budgeting
City of Atlanta expands participatory budgeting pilots, engaging residents throughout the city in deciding how public funds are spent on transportation projects.
Maintain Sustainable Infrastructure Through Workforce Program
Atlanta Department of Transportation, with WorkSource Atlanta, develops a City workforce program that creates green, livable wage jobs installing and maintaining sidewalks and other sustainable infrastructure.
GDOT Includes Sidewalks in Roadway Maintenance
Georgia General Assembly updates Georgia law (state code 32-2-2) to include sidewalk repairs and ADA ramps in the definition of roadway maintenance, so that the Georgia Department of Transportation can routinely make sidewalk repairs during roadway resurfacing projects.
*A TSPLOST, or sales tax for transportation projects, was approved by voters in 2016 along with the More MARTA sales tax for transit. This TSPLOST, estimated to generate $260M over five years, was combined with the $250 Million Renew Atlanta Bond for transportation maintenance projects from 2015.
At the time, Atlanta did not have a Department of Transportation, so projects were managed by a newly-created office reporting to the Mayor and staffed largely by consultants, creating a high overhead cost and slow project implementation. Six years later, most of the Complete Streets projects haven’t been completed, and two key projects — Cascade and DeKalb — are being rebid.
However, we are recommending the City seek to extend the TSPLOST because Atlantans desperately need better mobility options. Eliminating one of the few local transportation funds is not the answer. In addition, the City of Atlanta needs funding sources in order to pay the local match required to tap into federal funding.