I almost spewed my coffee when I read this morning’s AJC article on Metro Atlanta voter approval of mass transit.
You know those Tea Partiers’ rants at recent public forums on the upcoming transportation sales tax referendum? The ones where they oppose the funding of rail transit lines on the grounds that trains are somehow “archaic” or that terrorists might want to pull a Snidely Whiplash and sabotage our choo-choo lines?
It turns out those hysterical tirades don’t represent the way most people in the metro feel about transit. According to the article, a recent poll reveals that:
- 51 percent of metro voters would vote for the referendum if it were held today
- In Cobb and Gwinnett counties alone, at least 48 percent were in support, with an additional 10 percent undecided
- 82 percent said it was important to do more to encourage everyone to commute to work by bus or train (coffee spew!)
- 57 percent of voters said they don’t agree an increase in mass transit means more crime in new areas
- 57 percent also said if the referendum passes, it is likely to reduce metro Atlanta’s traffic and congestion significantly
Bottom line: the public histrionics from fear-mongering Tea Partiers represent a minority opinion when it comes to transit. A fringe belief. My best guess to the reason why they had such a loud voice in forums is that these people are so rabid in their cause they gave up a work day (assuming they have jobs) to get to the microphone. Meanwhile, average metro Atlantans were busy being stuck in traffic.
Which begs the question: will the media (AJC included) now decide that they no longer need to give a platform to Tea Party anti-transit ramblings in every single news piece on this tax proposal? Time will tell.
Atlanta traffic photo from Flickr user wojciech.felendzer