AJC: mounting opposition in DeKalb for 1% transportation tax

This July, voters across the state will be voting for regional 1% sales taxes (much like SPLOST and ESPLOST) for transportation infrastructure — roads, transit, etc.

You’re going to be hearing a lot more about that.

The battle in the Atlanta region is shaping up to be a pretty simple one: roads vs. transit, car-dependent suburbs vs. transit-hungry neighborhoods nearer the urban core.

From the AJC’s Cracks grow in DeKalb’s support for transit tax:

The DeKalb NAACP has joined some politicians in opposing the proposed one-cent sales tax because the project list does not extend MARTA rail into south DeKalb.

Tax proponents say the opposition is shortsighted and that the tax-funded projects will boost south DeKalb along with the rest of the region.

DeKalb, along with Fulton and Clayton, are considered strongholds by supporters of the measure, with a poll last September bearing that out. The tax would raise $6.14 billion for a 10-county metro region, with more than half of it going to public-transit projects.

John Evans, head of the DeKalb County NAACP, said it is unfair that county residents have been paying a one-cent sales tax to fund MARTA, yet the biggest transit proposal in decades leaves off rail in the I-20 corridor despite years of planning for it. He said the group will campaign against the sales tax.

“We’re saying you have screwed us for years and we’ve paid all this money and you won’t even give us this rail to line to Stonecrest Mall,” Evans said.

If traditionally liberal organizations like the NAACP line up against the new tax, then it will be in serious peril.

Other commentators have noted that higher gas prices might also doom the tax, but I think the higher pump prices could put pressure on voters to take bolder steps to relieve congestion and extend transit systems.