Everyone following the T-SPLOST issue that has taken the time to get acquainted with the project list probably has favorites. Indeed, the worthiness or potential efficacy of the individual projects can be quite subjective based on one's geography and lifestyle.
But to many people's thinking, one project that will be funded if the T-SPLOST referendum succeeds stands alone as the most important on the list: the addition of a light rail line from the Lindbergh MARTA station to Emory University.
For anyone unfortunate enough to have to navigate the 'Clifton Corridor' in a car on a regular basis, the nightmarish traffic that clogs an overburdened surface street system marooned miles from I-85 and 285 alone calls for action. But the bigger picture presents an even more dire need.
The employment juggernaut that is the Emory University campus and hospital system plus the nearby Centers for Disease Control and Veteran's Administration hospital brings some 30,000 people to the area to work every day- currently the Atlanta area's largest concentration of workers that don't have direct access to their workplaces via interstates or mass transit.
Moreover, related healthcare and technology industries- which enjoy a symbiotic relationship with these employers- represent one of the metro Atlanta area's biggest engines for economic development. At a certain point, traffic issues will stifle the growth of these generally prestigious, high-paying jobs, thereby robbing the city of tax revenue, job creation and the myriad benefits of a continual influx of highly-educated talent. With many T-SPLOST opponents focused on short-term prognostications of overall traffic relief in the entire metro area, it would seem the point is being missed. Supporters have a week to try and shift the conversation.