Monday, April 30, 2012

Transportation tax boosters 'disappointed,' 'dismayed' with Sierra Club opposition

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2012 at 5:47 PM

Citizens for Transportation Mobility, the business community's PR campaign pushing for the passage of a regional transportation tax in metro Atlanta, expressed "disappointment" and "dismay" late this afternoon after learning that the Sierra Club would oppose the measure. Via the group's release:

"We find it highly unusual that an organization charged with preserving and protecting our environment would oppose a transportation investment that has the potential to do exactly that," said Che Watkins, campaign manager for CTM. "The Regional Transportation Referendum holds more promise of relieving congestion and reducing air pollution than any plan in decades," said Watkins.

The organization, which advocates for more transit options in the region, cited "sprawl-inducing road expansion" as a major reason for its opposition. And yet, supporters believe the July 31 referendum provides unprecedented transportation options for metro Atlanta commuters, and holds the most promise for relieving air pollution, excessive tailpipe emissions and other environmental damage caused by traffic congestion.

"If the Sierra Club has its way," said Watkins, "more harm will be done to the environment as the state continues to fund roads to the exclusion of transit. This plan generates one-third of public funding in the region for transit," said Watkins. "Any organization that supports the environment would support this plan."

With both supporters and opponents of transit taking aim at the $8.5 billion project list, Watkins noted that "We've obviously achieved the right balance of both. The one-sided supporters on either side - roads or transit - must acknowledge that the region needs a healthy mix of both to relieve congestion and give commuters options to get to home and work quicker."

I'm disappointed that both sides in the debate haven't resorted to any name-calling. No talk of "corporate fat cats" or "Teva-wearin' tree-bark eaters." LAME.

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