Local

Cities Seek $200 Billion In Transit Funding This Election

Atlanta voters will choose in November if they want to add a half-penny to the city's sales tax to fund MARTA expansion projects.
Atlanta voters will choose in November if they want to add a half-penny to the city's sales tax to fund MARTA expansion projects.
Credit Brenna Beech / WABE
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Come November, Atlanta voters will decide whether they want to pay a higher sales tax to expand public transit. And, it turns out, they won’t be alone.

More than a dozen cities around the country, including Los Angeles, Oakland and Seattle, are seeking similar ballot measures. Taken together, the initiatives would fund $200 billion worth of transit projects, if passed.

“Two hundred billion dollars is really unprecedented in the history of local referendum to support transit improvements,” said Richard White, president and CEO of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

White met with transit leaders from the cities pursuing new funding on the ballot, including MARTA General Manager Keith Parker, at the APTA annual conference.

The different transit agency heads weighed in on why there are so many ballot measures this election and came up with several reasons. One said younger people now look for cities with public transit options, while another said increasingly bad traffic has localities looking for alternatives.

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