Support for mass transit - and raising taxes to expand it - varies substantially across the region.

Metro Atlanta transit support: A county-by-county look

As The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last week, a new survey shows transportation remains the top concern of metro Atlanta residents. And nearly half of those surveyed are willing to pay higher taxes to expand public transportation. 

But the Metro Atlanta Speaks survey shows support for transit varies by county. Here’s a breakdown of how residents of 13 counties and the city of Atlanta responded when asked about the “best long-term solution to traffic problems in metro Atlanta” (you can click on the chart to enlarge it): 

Nearly 48 percent of all respondents picked “expand public transit” as the best way to address the region’s traffic problems, compared to about 29 percent who thought improving roads and highways is the best solution. But result varied significantly by county. More than half of residents in DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties said transit is the best solution. In other counties, a plurality of respondents – but less than half – picked transit. And a plurality of respondents in three counties – Butts, Henry and Paulding – picked roads as the best solution. 

Now take a look at county-by-county willingness to raise taxes to expand public transportation: 

More than half of DeKalb and Atlanta residents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “I am willing to pay more in taxes to fund expanded regional public transit that includes buses and rail.” Support was also high in Fulton and Gwinnett (about 48 percent of respondents in both counties agreed or strongly agreed with the statement). Elsewhere, residents seem less willing to pay higher taxes for transit. 

The results indicate support for transit is high in DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties – three counties that could ask voters to approve transit sales taxes next year. That doesn’t mean such referendums would be an easy sell. Gwinnett voters rejected a 1-cent sales tax for transit earlier this year. 

You can read more about this year’s Metro Atlanta Speaks results here.

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About the Author

David Wickert
David Wickert
David Wickert writes about transportation issues for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He previously worked for newspapers in Washington state, Illinois...
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