Cristina Pastore from consulting firm Kimley-Horn briefs Gwinnett officials Tuesday on the county’s transit development plan. TYLER ESTEP / TYLER.ESTEP@AJC.COM
There is a lot more work to be done and a lot more public input to gather, including a scientific poll, officials said. But Chapman and a representative from consulting firm Kimley-Horn shared initial findings during a recent briefing with the county’s Board of Commissioners.
The first round of surveys took input from 3,674 county residents, more than three-fourths of which were not current riders of Gwinnett County Transit. About 65 percent of the total respondents said they would “strongly support” or “somewhat support” a new sales tax to fund transit expansion.
Those surveyed were far less enthusiastic about the possibility of increasing property taxes to pay for transit (a measure that could, in theory, be taken without a public referendum). Less than one-third said that they would support such a move.
“You look at the dollar figures involved, and you look at the reaction to increasing property taxes … and it’s a pretty easy leap to get to the point that there will be a referendum involved with this at some point,” Gwinnett Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash said.
Gwinnett County Transit currently consists of six local bus routes that run almost exclusively on the western end of the county, as well as five express routes to locations inside I-285. It serves about 5,000 people a day.
The survey results released this week said more than 76 percent of non-transit riders agreed that some type of expansion is needed.
How a referendum on any such expansion would be framed — and whether it would mention any specific modes of transit — will be shaped by the results of the ongoing study, officials said.
“At this time I think we really don’t have clarity on that, in terms of exactly how the referendum would be structured,” Nash said. “But I’m pretty clear on the fact that sales tax is going to be the primary funding stream option.”
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Authorities said it would help alleviate traffic in the area.