As The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last week, a recent survey found nearly half of metro Atlanta residents said expanding public transportation is the best way to address the region’s traffic problems. What’s more, half are willing to pay higher taxes to expand transit.
But support is not uniform across the 13-county region, according to the Atlanta Regional Commission’s “Atlanta Speaks” survey. Respondents from Dekalb, Fulton and Cobb counties were the most likely to say transit is the best long-term solution, while those in Butts and Douglas counties were least likely:
There’s a similar split among respondents on the question of whether they’d be willing to pay more taxes to expand public transit. Support is highest in Atlanta and DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties, and lowest in Butts and Paulding:
Those splits may help explain why some communities are embracing transit expansion while others aren’t interested. Atlanta voters approved a half-cent sales tax for a transit expansion two years ago, and the MARTA Board of Directors recently approved a detailed expansion plan. Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties are in various stages of planning transit expansions. Each of those communities demonstrated significant support for transit in the ARC survey.
Elsewhere, there’s less appetite for transit expansion, and such plans have sometimes proven controversial. For example, Douglas County’s plans to launch fixed-route bus service have prompted a backlash among some residents who want to preserve its rural/suburban character. Perhaps not surprisingly, just 35 percent of Douglas residents said transit is the best long-term solution to the region’s traffic problems, and 38 percent said they’d be willing to pay higher taxes for a transit expansion.
You can read more about metro Atlanta residents’ attitudes toward transit here.