Even as voters head to the polls on this election day, supporters and opponents of the controversial transportation tax are still hoping to sway undecided voters.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed took part in a heated debate with his former ally at the state house, State Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, in a live appearance on radio station V-103 Tuesday morning. Reed, a former state senator, is a strong supporter of the tax, known as TSPLOST. Fort strongly opposes the tax.
The ballot question essentially asks voters in metro Atlanta's ten-county region whether they're willing to pay an extra penny on every dollar they spend in the next ten years to pay for a variety of transportation projects.
"This is the biggest investment that has been made in MARTA in more than 20 years that was not made by the federal government," said Reed.
"The problem is," countered Fort, "people in Fulton and DeKalb are going to be double taxed."
"Just to say that we'll be double taxed is misleading and inaccurate," retorted Reed.
The mayor said the tax currently paid by citizens of Fulton and DeKalb counties cover the operation of the nonprofit Grady Memorial Hospital, a regional trauma center, as well.
"The fact of the matter is I don't trust (Georgia Gov.) Nathan Deal to do the right thing by MARTA, by the people of Atlanta," said Fort.
Reed said that even though he and Deal are not of the same political party, they both see eye-to-eye on the need to improve transportation in the region in an effort to attract more businesses and more jobs.
"I respect Sen. Fort very much," said Reed. "But (civil rights activist) Joseph Lowery is voting for this. Ambassador (Andrew) Young is voting for this."
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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