After weeks of being bombarded with ads, rallies, and protests, the time has arrived for Georgians to vote on a penny sales tax for transportation projects. Approval of the 10-year, 1 percent sales tax increase would generate more than $7 billion for projects in the metro Atlanta area.
As voters head to the polls, Mayor Kasim Reed and State Senator Vincent Fort squared off one final time in an effort to sway people still on the fence about the T-SPLOST. Both appeared on V-103 and WAOK Radio.
Mayor Reed has taken the leading role in arguing for the transportation referendum.
"We've got 157 projects that's going to put people to work and that are going to get you home to your families faster. We've got to stop just surviving in Atlanta. We've got to stop treading water which is what we're doing right now," said Reed.
Fort has emerged as one of the most vocal critics of the referendum.
"The $7 billion is going to benefit road builders. It's going to benefit the people who are donating to the Citizens for Transportation Mobility because they want to get something out of it. I understand that. That's politics. It's the good ol' boy system at its worst," said Fort.
Some voters in the city said they were casting ballots in favor of the referendum.
"I think we're in danger of losing that. I think we need to get on top of this transportation issue. I think we need some jobs creation. So I voted in favor of it," said Atlanta voter Kathy Bremer.
Opponents believe their arguments will carry the day.
"Money is a problem everywhere else. I don't understand why throwing more money at the problem is going to solve the problem. It's not. It's just going to make us deeper in debt," said Cobb voter Amiee Adams.
Cobb County voter Arnell Pharr said she was still unsure which way she'd vote as she walked into her polling place.
"There's so many issues, so much debate, so much confusion – I don't know who to believe or who to trust, so I'm basically praying about my decision," said Pharr.
Opinion polls have shown a majority of voters against T-SPLOST, but with a light turnout expected, the decision will come down not to opinion polls, but who shows up to vote.
The polls opened at 7 a.m., and are scheduled to close at 7 p.m.