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TSPLOST gets county-level push
by Noreen Lewis Cochran
ncochran@neighbornewspapers.com
July 02, 2012 06:24 PM | 1962 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Elected officials from Clayton, DeKalb and Fulton counties showed support for an $8.5 billion transportation special purpose local option sales tax, appearing on the ballot in 10 counties July 31, at a press conference Monday at advocacy group Untie Atlanta’s downtown headquarters.

Fulton County chair John H. Eaves acknowledged divided support for the 1-percent tax between the northern and southern parts of the county.

“The bottom two-thirds of Fulton County — Atlanta and south Fulton — are supportive of it,” he said. “I think with that support in Atlanta and south Fulton County, it will overcompensate for the less supportive parts of north Fulton.”

Campaign strategist Kevin Ross said Fulton doesn’t even need to pass the referendum for it to be enacted.

“We strongly believe, based on the information available to us, that we can win this election based upon the 10-county area even if an individual county or two votes a majority no,” he said.

District 6 DeKalb County Commissioner Kathie Gannon said she would have, at one time, voted no.

“I started out on this road to the [Transportation Investment Act] on the other side,” she said. “I looked at this and said, we’re paying a penny. I didn’t feel comfortable. But then I looked at the investment that DeKalb, Fulton and Atlanta made in MARTA and realized why would we give that up? Why would we watch that investment go down the drain as MARTA stays where it is?”

Clayton County chair Eldrin Bell said he also values public transportation.

“Given the fact we lost our bus system totally — and I voted against that — I have been passionate from the outset,” he said. “That is the No. 1 project with $100 million in it and a portion of that set to leverage the federal government for $12 million more.”

Upon hearing Eaves’ comments, Sandy Springs resident Dick Farmer said there may be more support in north Fulton if $10 million to widen a street between Roswell Road and Ga. 400 is taken off the table.

“My concern with the Hammond Drive project is it has no local or regional utility. It’s tremendously expensive. It is essentially a road to nowhere,” he said. “This should not be on there and if the price of getting the populace to support this is to remove it, well, so be it.”

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