At a called meeting of the Regional Transportation Roundtable on Thursday, January 13, Mayor Bucky Johnson of Norcross was elected chairman of the body and also non-voting chairman of the Roundtable’s Executive Committee. In those positions, Mayor Johnson will provide leadership and coordination to the process of creating a list of projects that could be funded by a Regional Transportation Referendum to be held in August, 2012.
With these new responsibilities, Mayor Johnson resigned as a voting member of the Executive Committee. His resignation cleared the path for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to fill the position of the Executive Committee’s fifth voting member. Mayor Reed had the next-highest number of votes for the Executive Committee at the Roundtable’s first meeting, held last month.
Mayor Johnson said that he believes the reconstructed Executive Committee better represents the make-up of the entire 10-county Atlanta region.
“While I am honored to have been elected to one of five positions on the Roundtable Executive Committee, I believe that it is more important to achieve better regional balance on the committee than for me to have a vote,” said Johnson.
The five members of the Executive Committee are Mayor Reed, Mayor Bill Floyd of Decatur, Mayor Mark Mathews of Kennesaw, Chairman B.J. Mathis of Henry County and Chairman Tom Worthan of Douglas County.
The law allows 12 regions throughout the state to vote on a 10-year, one-cent sales tax for transportation improvements. Before voters go to the polls, the Regional Roundtable will develop a list of projects that would be funded by the sales tax revenue so that citizens know exactly what they are voting on.
The next step in the regional transportation referendum process is for the Georgia Department of Transportation to create a “wish list” of projects based on the criteria approved by the Roundtable on December 17. The Executive Committee will then narrow the list of projects to those that can be completed with the amount of revenue the tax is expected to raise and can be supported by voters throughout the region.
That list of potential projects will be completed and presented by the Executive Committee to the full Roundtable for adoption by October of 2011. Once approved by the Roundtable, the project list will be presented to the public for review before the referendum in August 2012.
The regional transportation referendum, if passed, could generate an estimated $7 billion to $8 billion over the course of a 10-year period. In addition to regional traffic relief projects, local governments will receive 15 percent of the revenue raised each year for local, discretionary projects. This revenue may be spent on any local transportation projects or services the local governments wish to fund, and is not subject to the Roundtable-approved criteria.
The Regional Roundtable consists of the chairs of nine county commissions, the CEO of DeKalb County, one mayor from each county and the Mayor of Atlanta. The counties represented on the Atlanta region’s roundtable are Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale.