The Atlanta Regional Commission has released their 2014 “Metro Atlanta Speaks” Survey results, in which the Council for Quality Growth was a sponsor, and the biggest problem facing residents in the Atlanta 10 county region* is transportation, with 24%, rising from 21% in 2013, and surpassing the economy, which was the biggest concern of 2013, as well as crime, public education, human services, taxes, public health, and race relations. This indicates a shift that as people are feeling more comfortable in the economy stabilizing, they are now looking at transportation improvements to move forward. The results were also broken down by county, interestingly enough with Clayton County, who just passed a one-cent sale tax increase to fund transit improvements, as well as adding Clayton County to the MARTA system, with the strongest response of transportation as the biggest problem, and with the highest support to expand public transit.
Public transit remains a key issue, as 92% (up from 88% in 2013) ranked improving public transit as “very important” or “somewhat important”. Even by county breakdown, the idea of improved public transit is very important to the region’s future. This comes two years after the metro region voted down the T-SPLOST referendum, which would have brought in $7.2 billion for transit and roadway projects over the course of ten years.
In general, people ranked education in the county they live as better than public education in the region, with 53% of respondents saying public education is “excellent” or “good” within their county, while 37% said the same about the region as a whole. In addition, when asked “if you could move, where would you move?” 57% of respondents said they would stay where they are, while 17% said they would move to a different Atlanta neighborhood, and only 24% said they would move away from Atlanta.
One unusual result of the survey was the response to the best way to accommodate growth: the redevelop older areas option decreased from 2013, from 76% from 66%, while the option to continue to build new suburbs increased, coming up to 27% from 18%. This seems to be a troubling disconnect between the goals of a more expansive transit system and a desire to increase sprawl, which could have something to do with educating the public on issues pertaining to transportation, such as higher density development of exiting areas and the association of creating transportation within these spaces.
The Schapiro Group was the lead consultant for the 2014 survey. The Council for Quality Growth sponsored the 2014 effort, in conjunction with the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, and MARTA.
To see the full survey results, click HERE.
*The ARC 10 County Region includes Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, and Rockdale counties