The Georgia Tech Student Planning Association organized an exciting panel discussion entitled “Cents and Sensibility: Atlanta's Transportation Vision” on November 8, 2011. Held on World Town Planning Day, this event brought together over 120 professionals and students to learn more about Atlanta's Transportation Investment Act (TIA) vote in July 2012. The vote is whether to approve a ten-year, one-cent sales tax to fund a pre-defined list of regional transportation projects in the ten-county area. The Regional Roundtable, comprised of 21 local elected officials, developed the project list with extensive public input and released the final version three weeks before “Cents and Sensibility” took place. The TIA represents a significant transportation funding opportunity but is debated among planners and the general public due to its magnitude and the composition of the final list.
During the opening reception, students and local planning organizations, including the Atlanta Regional Commission and two community improvement districts, displayed their work to stimulate discussion with attendees. The crowd received instant voting clickers on their way into the auditorium and were polled at the beginning and the end of the event about their knowledge and opinions of the TIA. Results were instantly displayed on screen, letting people see what others thought. For the main event, the Chairman of the Regional Roundtable, the Senior Policy Advisor for Transportation to the City of Atlanta's Mayor, and the Director of the Georgia Sierra Club shared their views about the strengths and weaknesses of the TIA, focusing on issues of economy, equity, and the environment. Taken together, the three panelists presented a balanced perspective of the TIA which led to an informative question-and-answer session afterward. The event concluded by encouraging attendees to learn more about the projects and share that information to help the region make an informed decision.
For more information about the TIA, please visit http://www.atlantaregionalroundtable.com/