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November Could be Pivotal for Diversifying Atlanta Transit

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In addition to a vote to expand MARTA, city officials could push for a half-penny for infrastructure

Thanks to a last-ditch effort by Atlanta legislators, city residents will vote on whether to fund an expansion of MARTA when November comes. But it's possible a vote that could bring pedestrian and bike infrastructure may also happen, according to the Saporta Report.

Under the final version of the bill that made it through the legislature, the City of Atlanta will have the option to ask not only for a half-cent tax for MARTA, but for an additional half-cent for general transportation projects. If it were to be proposed, and pass, the referendum could provide for funding for a large backlog of infrastructure projects including roads, bridges, and a good bit of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure.

Over the course of the next five years, the tax would have the potential to raise between $280 million to $370 million to bolster the city's public infrastructure, including sidewalks and bike paths.

That would be in addition to a $250 million infrastructure bond referendum that Atlanta voters overwhelmingly approved last year, which is meant to target a specific list of projects. But as officials acknowledged back then, even that much cash will make a small dent in the backlog of fixes and improvements the ATL is aching for.

However, many civic leaders aren't too keen to put both half-penny taxes up for a vote in the same year, fearing that they may derail each other, as Saporta notes. Whatever comes, the discussion the initiative is sparking is an encouraging sign that the city is taking note of Atlantans' desire for a more diverse array of options for getting around the city.

But we're curious to know how Atlantans feel about this. So pretend it's November right now, and cast a hypothetical ballot below for which way you're leaning ...