The building was left vacant in 2010 when the Atlanta Journal-Constitution moved to offices in Dunwoody and the paper’s parent company donated the building to the city a few months later. The short-listed firms will present their designs to a panel on June 28, the winner of the competition will be announced July 1 and the gallery is scheduled to open in October.
- If you’re still in the air about which way to vote in the July transportation tax referendum, or you have questions you haven’t been answered anywhere else, you can pull up a chair at one of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s 12 “wireside chats” in June. The conversations with local officials will take place over six days in June and give voters a chance to speak directly to representatives from each of the 10 counties in the Atlanta region.
Here’s how the event works:
“Advertised 6 weeks in advance, citizens will be asked to sign up for any of the 12 chats providing a phone number at which they can be reached. Several days in advance they will receive email reminders with background information attached. The night of the scheduled conversation, citizens will be called at the number they registered and have the opportunity to ask questions. Any question not answered live will be answered in writing following the call. “
Registration open now, online and at 404.463.3227.
At their final meeting, the Atlanta Regional Roundtable today approved the final list of 155 regional transportation projects to be funded by revenue from the proposed 1-percent sales tax that comes up for a vote next year.
The project list in the roundtable’s report includes only projects to be paid for by the 85 percent of the funding that’s allocated for regional projects. The other 15 percent of the revenue generated by the TIA tax will be distributed to cities and counties within the region to fund local transportation projects.
The Atlanta Regional Commission estimates that the TIA tax will generate about $7.2 billion during the ten years it will be in effect. The regional share of that funding will come to about $6.1 billion. (Both estimates are in 2011 dollars.)
The report includes not only the project list, but also fact sheets and schedules for each project, so it’ll come in handy if you’re tired of having to fish around on the roundtable’s site to find that information a piece at a time.
From Creative Loafing:
Georgia Department of Transportation Planning Director Todd Long told the Augusta Chronicle last week that the state is considering re-scheduling next year’s vote on the transportation tax from July to November.
If held in November, the tax would be on the ballot for the general election, whereas in July the vote would occur during the state’s Republican primary.
While voter turnout for the general election will be higher than for the Republican primary, the later date will also require an additional four months’ worth of privately-funded marketing expenses, Long said. There’s also the chance that, with more candidates and issues on a general election ballot, voters won’t give the transportation tax the attention and consideration that its backers hope for.
Georgia’s fiscal economist announced this week that the Atlanta region should expect the Transportation Investment Act to generate less revenue than originally estimated for regional projects.
The one-percent sales tax that the TIA would put in place was previously expected to generate about $8 billion over the ten years for which it’s authorized, if voters approve it next year.
But Kenneth Heaghney, who prepared the estimates for the state, said that the calculations had to be adjusted to account for “a slightly worse outlook for the economy, as well as having time to do more exact work for this year’s projections,” the AJC reported.
The figure released this week was $8.5 billion – in 2011 dollars. Adjusted for inflation, the value is expected be reduced to about $7.2 billion. But only 85 percent of TIA-generated revenue will be available to spend on projects described as “regionally significant.” The rest is allocated for local projects in the cities and counties in which it was raised. Shaving off that 15 percent leaves $6.14 billion for funding regional projects.
Original and adjusted revenue estimates for all 12 Georgia regions are here (PDF).
This news means even more re-calibration and re-calculation for the Atlanta Regional Roundtable tasked with putting together a list of useful, affordable transit projects to go before the voters next year.
The “unconstrained list,” or “wish list” already far exceeds the original, more optimistic estimates that the one percent tax was expected to generate. The roundtable’s job is to reduce that list to one consisting of projects that the projected revenues can pay for. Now another $235 million worth of projects will have to be jettisoned.
But public officials have had to get used to getting more mileage out of less money lately. Asked whether having less money to divvy up among projects would make the new tax a tougher sell, Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson, who heads the roundtable for the Atlanta region told the AJC “I don’t think so. I mean it’s going to be hard enough,” and said, laughing “What’s a billion dollars among friends?”
If you’re having trouble wrapping your head around the wheres and whats of the Atlanta Regional Roundtable’s transportation project “wish list,” or if you’d just like a quick, easy way to get more information on projects close to you, check this out:
The Roundtable has created an interactive map of all 437 projects that were submitted for funding. (Keep in mind that this list will be trimmed considerably during the next several months.) Just use the text, graphic or address function to specify an area and the map produces a list of proposed projects submitted for the area you highlighted. Alongside each item on that list is a link to its project submittal form. The project submittal form provides a description of the project as well as information about the purpose, submitting agency and cost and completion time estimates.
After you finish playing with the map, make sure to take the quick transportation priorities survey here or here.