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There’s still time to weigh in on Renew Atlanta, TSPLOST priorities

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Until Thursday, that is

Newly installed bike lanes along Marietta Street in downtown Atlanta.
Newly installed bike lanes along Marietta Street downtown.
Jonathan Phillips, Curbed Atlanta

Renew Atlanta and TSPLOST, two major transportation infrastructure improvement programs that once promised nearly $1 billion in citywide upgrades, are now worth just over $500 million.

Given the funding restrictions, it’s imperative for local leaders and community members to meticulously handpick projects that should be awarded public dollars. (Even then, some important projects could fall by the wayside.)

And right now, there’s an opportunity to do just that.

Until Thursday, Atlantans can visit the Renew Atlanta/TSPLOST website to participate in a survey that asks which infrastructure improvements the city needs most.

The primary objective of the questionnaire is to determine which of three funding scenarios people think will best address the nearly $1 billion infrastructure backlog Atlanta is faced with.

Scenario 1 focuses on funding “complete streets” projects—upgrades that enhance transportation infrastructure to be safer and more inviting to pedestrians and cyclists.

This option calls for $81.7 million of the $540 million total budget to be allocated for such projects. Advocates for alternative modes of transportation say complete streets are vital to saving lives and shifting Atlanta away from the automobile obsession that fuels its chronic traffic problem.

The second option seeks cash primarily for “foundational investments,” such as road resurfacing ($82.3 million) and traffic communications system upgrades ($32.6 million).

That scenario also calls for $68.6 million worth of complete streets initiatives.

Scenario 3, the “max leveraged funding” option, would earmark some $60 million to fix and replace bridges, make roadway and intersection upgrades, repair busted sidewalks, and make street capacity improvements.

Also: nearly $67 million for complete streets projects.

Renew Atlanta and TSPLOST officials declared during a January community meeting it’s “loud and clear” that the updated project lists for the programs should incorporate the goals of Atlanta’s recently approved transportation plan.

That plan, approved by the Atlanta City Council in December, aims to decrease the amount of commuters who drive by themselves from more than 50 percent to 35 percent or less, which would require a boost in carpooling.

It could also create “cordon pricing,” which would mean taxing people for driving through certain parts of Atlanta.