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Mayor Reed pledges to fight for T-SPLOST

7:48 PM, Jul 18, 2012   |    comments
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ATLANTA - As the clock winds down, the T-SPLOST debate is heating up.

And with only two weeks until election day, Mayor Kasim Reed says he's ready for a fight.

"If anybody wants to have a serious debate about this, you tell me where to meet them, I'll meet 'em anytime, any place and we can have the debate," he said during a passionate speech at City Hall on Tuesday.

RELATED: 11Alive Poll | T-SPLOST would not pass today

The mayor gathered with members of the Atlanta Business League as the organization announced its support of the transportation referendum. If passed, Georgians would pay a one-cent sales tax to help fund transportation projects. Supporters say the tax would improve traffic congestion in the city. Opponents believe there will be no change.

As Mayor Reed spoke, only yards away, members of the DeKalb County NAACP marched outside City Hall to protest T-SPLOST.

"It's not fair," said chapter president John Evans. "We've been paying for 30 years; they've been promising us this and that. And each time they make the promise and we support it, they don't come through."

During his speech, Mayor Reed challenged recent poll numbers suggesting T-SPLOST would fail. On Monday, 11Alive News released an exclusive poll that showed 48% of those polled were against the referendum, with 36% in support. Of those polled, 16% were undecided.

RELATED: Mayor Reed discusses T-SPLOST during live interview

Those numbers prompted the Mayor's office to release their own poll ahead of schedule. Their numbers showed a tighter race: 41% against, 38% supporting with a 3% margin of error that would put the race in a dead heat.

"So if you think your poll is right, I'll take my poll and your pollster and my pollster should pick a third independent poll and let them do a poll and publicize it on your television stations," Reed said. "I think it will show that it's dead even."

Senator Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta), a vocal opponent of the one-cent tax, joined NAACP members at City Hall Tuesday to speak with reporters.

"The T-SPLOST tax referendum will do nothing to change this exclusion of African-Americans from the state's transportation contracting if Georgia voters approve the tax," he said.

The T-SPLOST vote will take place July 31st. To see a list of specific projects in your area, click here.

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