Transportation tax at top of early voters' minds - CBS46 News

Transportation tax at top of early voters' minds

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

Voters headed to the polls in downtown Atlanta on Saturday. It was the first time Georgia voters could cast their ballots on a Saturday.

The big issue on the minds of many voters: the special transportation sales tax or T-SPLOST.

Mitza Martelly is one of the early voters who will help decide whether to raise the regional sales tax by one cent to pay for massive overhauls to the highways and rails.

"I chose for it by a slight margin," Martelly said.

Martelly vacillated but finally decided to vote for the tax increase.

"I believe overall it will help. I don't think it's going to be perfect, but I'm not looking for perfection," Martelly said.

Supporters of the tax contend the program would fix metro Atlanta's aging roads, reduce congestion and strengthen the region's spot as the economic powerhouse of the South.

"I think it'll be a down payment," said Tyler Blaze, who voted for the referendum. "I think it's going to help."

Blaze does not think the tax is the perfect answer, but he thinks it could help keep Atlanta commercially competitive.

"It won't be a one-off solution, but it'll be part of a solution," Blaze said.

Across town, Sen. Vincent Fort and a team of volunteers walked door-to-door in a southeast Atlanta neighborhood urging people to vote "no" on the final day the polls will be open, July 31.

"This in an unfair tax referendum," Fort said.

Taxpayers in DeKalb and Fulton would pay more than people in some other counties, Fort said. And he argued that the tax would add higher costs to the basic necessities.

"We shouldn't be putting a sales tax on people's food and medicine."

Other T-SPLOST critics complain government cannot be trusted to spend the money where it says it will.

Martelly said, however, the benefits outweighed her worries.

"I have enough faith they'll spend it close to what they say," Martelly said.

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