One of the toughest tasks for government agencies is getting public input. And getting public input from a broad cross-section of citizens, not just professional activists or residents aggrieved in some fashion. Attend any city council meeting anywhere and you may notice a few things. First, it is likely to be fairly empty. Second, the people that do get up about a certain issue are probably directly impacted by that issue. They may be neighbors of a certain property or own an affected business. Unfortunately, there is often a dearth of attendees that are indirectly affected. This can happen with big projects that manage to still get by without making a whole lot of news, think a large business park, not the new Falcons stadium. This can also happen with traffic or planning studies. The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) knows this difficulty all too well. It’s hard to exactly nail down a reason, but the failure of TSPLOST certainly was a wake-up call for regional planners in getting input from as many stakeholders as possible.
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