Poll of North Fulton Voters Shows Opposition to MARTA Expansion

Senate Bill 330 will receive a hearing this afternoon at a meeting of the Senate Transportation Committee. The measure, sponsored by Brandon Beach would allow the MARTA counties to levy a one half percent sales tax which would be used to pay for MARTA expansion. Should the bill pass in Fulton and DeKalb counties, it’s anticipated that MARTA would extend the heavy rail Red Line from its current ending point at North Springs to Windward Parkway. A light rail line would be built connecting the Lindbergh and Avondale stations, providing service to the Emory and Centers for Disease Control areas. Finally, a combination of heavy rail and bus rapid transit would connect downtown with Stonecrest Mall in south DeKalb County.

Reaction to the North Fulton heavy rail proposal is mixed. In Sunday’s Atlanta JOurnal Constitution, bill sponsor Brandon Beach of Alpharetta wrote an op-ed in support of the expansion, while Senator John Albers of Roswell wrote in opposition.

Residents in North Fulton appear to oppose the expansion. A poll of 500 active Georgia voters presented the following question:

Q1. The Georgia General Assembly is considering putting a voter referendum on the ballot to increase the sales tax in Fulton County by half a cent. The funds would be spent on building a new MARTA rail line extension into North Fulton.

I will give you the main arguments for and against the proposal, and then ask for your opinion of it.

The proposed rail line would become operational fifteen years from now in 2031, but the half-cent sales tax would be collected for the next 47 years.

Supporters argue that a new rail line is needed to relieve traffic and create new development.

Opponents argue that a new rail line wouldn’t even be operational for 15 years from now, yet the tax increase would be collected for the 47 more years even though studies show that the investment would not reduce traffic.

35.8% of those polled were in favor of the proposal after hearing the above question, while 58.6% opposed it. 5.6% were undecided. Among subgroups, the most support, understandably, came from millennials, but even that group was opposed 53%-41%. More than 68% of Republicans opposed the expansion, while Democrats were split, with 48% in favor and 49% against.

The poll, conducted on February 11th has a margin of error of 4%. Crosstabs are below.

[gview file=”http://www.georgiapol.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/MARTA-North-Fulton-Expansion.pdf”]

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Dave BearseCharlieJack FitzWill DurantThe Eiger (aka the NEOCON Hack) Recent comment authors
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John Konop
John Konop

We need more rail to increase capacity, we cannot fix the problem with just more roads. Looks like Senator John Albers is playing politics with no real solutions. I give Sen. Brandon Beach credit for dealing with the issue, verse Albers do nothing approach, and hoping the problem goes away. The problem with this issue is it will turn into jobs going away, if we stick with John Albers do nothing approach.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

John, where are the state four lanes or even adequate road improvements in Cherokee that Beach has going ? Access to his dream Marta stations are right down 140 and traffic has long been a mess.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Without substantial road improvements in North Fulton and neighboring counties involving access to new Marta stations with adequate parking – and for the most part little is on the drawing board – the answer must be NO.
Ironically, if huge access is part of the plan a lot of those close to the stations will vote no.

Yes or no, roads must be first priority to accommodate what already is.

The Eiger
The Eiger

I live within a mile of where the MARTA station will be at Holcomb Bridge. My household is a firm no for this. The traffic on Holcomb Bridge and the secondary streets around it are horrible right now. Putting another North Springs type station there will only make the local traffic problem worse and would be a horrible idea.

The Eiger
The Eiger

I find it interesting that women oppose the expansion by 10 points higher then men. I would assume that’s because women are more likely to not feel safe riding MARTA, maybe? That seems too high to be an outlier. This poll isn’t good for mass transit folks.

Will Durant
Will Durant

Why is it up to the Georgia Legislature to decide? If everyone is so adamant about local control shouldn’t they at least allow the locals to vote on it?

The Eiger
The Eiger

Well, looking at past votes on transportation referendums that’s where ideas go to die. Sure, let’s have a vote this year. It will fail 60-40 and politicians will wash their hands of the idea and nothing will get done. Or the state could come up with a real comprehensive transportation plan, grow some balls and pass it themselves. Nothing meaningful will pass by referendum.

Will Durant
Will Durant

I guess I fall back to wondering why the State should have any say over MARTA when they have no skin in the game. What these debates have fostered however is the belief by many low information voters in Hahira and Ludowici that their state tax dollars help fund MARTA. I personally don’t feel that the price tag is worth it for heavy rail to lower density populations but my opinion as a non-Fulton/DeKalb/Clayton resident shouldn’t matter. I do think that GDOT should encompass all transportation in the state, hence the name. Accomplishment of this ideal at this point is… Read more »

The Eiger
The Eiger

“I personally don’t feel that the price tag is worth it for heavy rail to lower density populations but my opinion as a non-Fulton/DeKalb/Clayton resident shouldn’t matter” I agree with that statement. My wife and I have made the decision to live in the suburbs for many reasons. What I don’t like is people saying I’m ignorant and backward thinking for making that decision. I don’t support the expansion of MARTA into my backyard for many reason the number one being it’s too costly and won’t help traffic as advertised. I don’t like the fact that people in Cherokee County,… Read more »

Jack Fitz
Jack Fitz

I would assume the women opposed polled higher in this because the amount of Chevy Suburban’s with family stickers and Salt Life decals that litter Holcomb Bridge 16 hours a day probably aren’t that forward thinking. In 15 years those little decals are going to be all grown up and living downtown in the big, bad Atlanta. Only thing is, they won’t be able hop on MARTA to come visit Mom & Dad, and they absolutely won’t be getting into their cars to spend over an hour to come home for Sunday dinner. Ce la vi. Also, that Landmark poll… Read more »

The Eiger
The Eiger

Sour grapes huh? You call it a push poll because it lists facts and asks what the person believes? That is no where near the same thing as the horrible poll done in SC with regards to McCain. Why don’t you take your forward thinking self and move somewhere within walking distance of a current MARTA stop. You obviously sound like you have no use to come to Roswell so you don’t need a MARTA stop here. Ride the bus that already comes up this way.

Will Durant
Will Durant

And then when those little decals have their own in the absence of wholesale changes to APS or the presence of an income worthy of tuition at Pace Academy, they too will have to trek to the ‘burbs.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Salt Life decals represent a very diverse population and reflect the very best in them. It is the only decal allowed on my vehicles outranking even Chief Osceola.

You might have spotted some wanna bes.

Jack Fitz
Jack Fitz

The question just felt skewed to take the poll taker towards an intended goal, which is clearly a NO vote. I just love Atlanta (all Metro, burbs and cities) and its frustrating when these geographical silos get built with such hostility towards mass transit. When you drive up 75N and see the huge elevated lanes for the Northwest corridor and then realize its not for mass transit its equal parts maddening and saddening. And APS is on the path towards significant improvements (just look at the Grady cluster’s Elementary/Middle schools, and in turn their property values) but if you wanna… Read more »

Will Durant
Will Durant

Sssssshhhhhh! Those huge elevated lanes along 75 are just glorified bus lanes. The toll thing was just an idea sold by the Bush/Cheney administration to make the idea palatable to wealthy Republican suburbanites.

Charlie
Charlie

Wording of the question: I’m going to tax you now, but there will be no benefit for 15 years. You’re asking a highly transient, non-native population. This is the problem with many political and policy oriented problems that we face. We want what we want now, we don’t want to pay for it, and we’re pissed that someone didn’t do something 10-15 years ago (before we moved here) to make our current situation better. It’s interesting that when I go to more rural areas of the state – many of whom have significantly less resources – they’re more than willing… Read more »

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

I would oppose Marta until…. for the reasons mentioned earlier but the position of moving on is a weak one. Georgia and the metro area is a prime retirement area. Not that it is such a lovely place but because it is increasingly where their support systems are. Jobs, kids jobs, speciality health care, living costs, access to the world, recreation…..and the family that will look in on them. Ask your retired neighbors why they are still here, Most will tell you they certainly had no intention of retiring here but…….and amazing how many moved here following their working kids… Read more »

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

Requiring the public pay to build private property for private profit years in advance of it serving the public hasn’t been a problem for Southern Company. It’s pocketed $500 a household and is counting.