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Voters Unsure as Atlanta Prepares to Vote on Major Transportation Tax

Sitting in MARTA’s Peachtree Center Station on this past Sunday morning, Bianca Lambert waits for a northbound train to take her home to Midtown.

The 25-year-old moved to intown Atlanta from Snellville because she grew tired of planning her days around traffic. She’s willing to pay for both better transit to move around Atlanta — and yes, roads that would help people commute to the suburbs.

“I think that’s amazing,” she says.

Jim (he prefers not to give his last name) is the polar opposite. After Sunday church service in Midtown, the 65-year-old lifelong metro Atlantan — “I was delivered by Dr. Crawford Long at Crawford Long Hospital,” he says — waits for a southbound train to bring him home to College Park. Although MARTA is suitable for some trips — say, an out-of-the-way excursion for groceries in Doraville if he wants to get out of the house — he says more rail isn’t the answer to metro Atlanta’s notorious congestion problems and sprawl.

“We need some major road changes,” he says.

The question is this: Are there more Biancas than Jims in the 10-county metro region?

You’ve seen the billboards, collected all the mailers, and debated with your friends. Now it’s time to vote on the regional transportation sales tax and decide whether metro Atlanta finally builds more transit — and yes, lots of roads. Or we roll the dice and try again.

On Tuesday, July 31, voters across metro Atlanta will vote on whether they want to spend the next decade paying an extra penny on every dollar’s purchase to build more than $7.2 billion of transportation projects.

Bold-named supporters, including Mayor Kasim Reed, Gov. Nathan Deal, and business bigwigs, are lobbying for a “yes” vote. They say the tax — officially known as the Transportation Investment Act but bastardized as the “T-SPLOST” — will give the 10-county metro region, including Fulton and DeKalb counties, an economic shot in the arm, ease its notorious congestion, and support hundreds

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