Traffic congestion in the metro region has been consistently rated a top concern for residents year after year. Our sprawling region and road-heavy transportation planning have resulted in jammed highways and long commutes that make us less productive workers, less healthy people and less happy residents.
Most importantly, our traffic problems are warning signs of dangers to come if we don’t act now. The top employers across the country recognize that access to safe, efficient transit that is well-connected to the region it serves is critical to retaining talented employees and bringing in the next generation of workers.
Indeed, many of the most prominent corporate relocations to, and within, metro Atlanta have been explicitly linked by employers to having a preference for transit access. This was the case with State Farm, Mercedes-Benz USA, Kaiser Permanente, WorldPay, Athena Healthcare, and the Pulte Group, one of metro Atlanta’s newest Fortune 500 residents.
These decisions by top jobs providers to invest in our region have resulted in dollars in the pockets of Metro Atlanta residents, fewer cars on our roads, and a stronger pipeline to career success for the students coming out of our high schools and colleges. What is more, rail transit access improves the property values of commercial and residential areas adjacent to stations.
By extending MARTA rail in North Fulton along the 400 corridor, in DeKalb along the Clifton and I-20 east corridors, and by building key connections in the City of Atlanta’s transit network, we will drastically expand the ways in which residents can connect to jobs and move about our region safely and efficiently. Rail transit increases the upward economic mobility of residents, allows riders to be productive while traveling, and is a win for our environment. A recent report from HNTB found that MARTA growth could pump $5.2 billion into economy and add 45,000 jobs.
We are a coalition of residents drawn from across Metro Atlanta who want the region to be the best place it can to live, work, and play. We recognize that our future success is directly tied to making strategic investments in a truly regional transit system that will pay dividends for generations to come.
In signing this petition, I urge the members of the Georgia General Assembly to pass Senate Bill 330 in the 2016 General Assembly and ask that Governor Deal sign the bill into law.