Supporters, opponents of referendum make final push - Dallas News |

Supporters, opponents of transportation referendum make final push

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With a crowd of supporters, Governor Nathan Deal and Atlanta's Mayor Kasim Reed stood together to voice support for the referendum. With a crowd of supporters, Governor Nathan Deal and Atlanta's Mayor Kasim Reed stood together to voice support for the referendum.

Both critics and supporters of the transportation tax referendum were out in full force on Monday in a last-minute push for votes.

Top supporters of the proposed transportation referendum tax were at the State Capitol on Monday, pushing for passage of the tax on the eve of Tuesday's vote.

The referendum resulted in some unusual alliances, including Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, a Democrat, and Republican Governor Nathan Deal, who stood together on Monday urging a crowd to say yes to the measure.  

"This is not a Republican issue, it's not a Democrat issue – it's a Georgia issue. A yes vote tomorrow is for the economic future of our great state," said Gov. Deal.

Approval of the 10-year, 1 percent sales tax increase would generate more than $7 billion for transportation projects in metro Atlanta.

"If we're going to make the decision tomorrow to treading water, and just surviving is not enough. That's not who we are as a region and that's not who we are as Georgians," said Mayor Reed.

Strange bedfellows have formed on the other side of the issue as well, with Tea Party conservatives joining up with the NAACP and Sierra Club to oppose the referendum.

"We don't want to be bothered with any more taxes," said John Evans of the DeKalb NAACP.

Opponents of the referendum have grown increasingly confident as public opinion polls continue to show the referendum is in jeopardy. Atlanta State Senator Vincent Fort was at MARTA's 5 Point Station handing out leaflets calling for a no vote on the referendum on Tuesday.

"We want them to vote no. We want to tell them to ask their neighbors to vote no, their family members to vote no, and so we can get back to the table and get a fair deal," said Fort.

Supporters say years of work, and extensive local input went into the proposal as to which projects are to be funded by the transportation tax.

"And without this referendum, we simply don't have the resources to ensure that Georgia has an adequate transportation network in the years to come," said Governor Deal.

A low turnout is expected on Tuesday.


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