Last minute push by both sides in transportation tax battle

8:39 PM, Jul 28, 2012   |    comments
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  • Anti T-SPLOST campaigners hit streets of DeKalb County
  • Pro T-SPLOST rally at Centennial Olympic Park

ATLANTA - It's been one of the most bipartisan battles in Atlanta history...on both sides.

With only three days left before the vote on an extra penny transportation sales tax, both sides hit the streets on Saturday.

Both sides agree SOMETHING needs to be done about metro Atlanta's traffic congestion.

The argument is whether a specific project list drawn up by local politicians will really do the job.

Backed by the Chamber of Commerce and nearly $7 million in donations, supporters held a downtown Atlanta rally Saturday afternoon, hoping to drum up enthusiasm for the T-SPLOST.

Centennial Olympic Park was packed with people, especially families, enjoying a day off.

But despite loud music and a party atmosphere, not many gravitated toward the T-SPLOST rally area in the shadow of chamber headquarters.

Metro Chamber President Sam Williams told 11Alive News he's not worried about several polls that show the issue losing by double digits.

Instead, he points to record numbers of early voters.

"One-hundred-thousand people have voted early or absentee who've not voted in previous primaries, so that's what we're seeing is new voters coming into the mix here," Williams added.

What nobody knows yet is how they voted.

Across town at a Communications Workers of America union hall, opponents put on "Vote No" t-shirts and headed out to canvass neighborhoods and businesses with flyers.

Although outspent nearly five-hundred-to-one, grassroots opponents are trying to make up the difference with shoe leather.

"David had five smooth stones and we're gonna use every one of 'em, because Goliath's gonna what? Take a fall," predicted State Senator Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta).

But Fort also warned opponents not to get too cocky about what polls are showing.

"The only poll we care about is the poll on election day, 7 pm, so we're gonna work just as hard as if we were twenty points behind," he added.

Back at the Chamber of Commerce rally, the group's president called the vote another defining moment for Atlanta's future.

"It's ironic that we're having this rally today, right in the middle of Centennial Park, which sixteen years ago hosted the Olympics, so I would say this is another one of our Olympic moments," Williams said.

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