Published Sunday, July 29, 2012
From Staff Reports
The 100 Black Men of Atlanta organization has announced its support of the Georgia transportation referendum in the July 31 primary.
They are supporting both the regional project list for metro Atlanta, and those for the state’s other planning regions.
Coweta County voters will decide on a one-cent Transportation Local Option Sales Tax to fund projects in the Three Rivers planning region. Voters in the Atlanta Regional Commission district, including those in nearby south Fulton and Fayette counties, will vote on the ARC planning region proposal and projects.
The referendum proposals have been the topic for heated debate across the state.
“Traffic in Metro Atlanta is in desperate need of congestion relief. Atlanta residents have one of the longest daily commutes in the country – averaging over an hour round trip. Reportedly, more than $900 dollars per year is wasted on fuel and lost productivity time due to commuters sitting in traffic,” said representatives of the 100 Black Men organization. “Governor Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed have both agreed that one piece of legislation can create a better quality of life for Georgians, and now, 100 Black Men of Atlanta will support the same cause.”
“We have an opportunity to create jobs, save on commuting costs and improve the quality of life in our region,” said Greg Hawkins, chairman of the 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc. “Atlanta is a great city. This $18 billion investment makes us even better.”
On July 31, he said, the 100 will use their support base of corporate professionals, medical professionals, attorneys, entrepreneurs and other community leaders to help pass the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales and Use Taxes (T-SPLOST), a referendum authorized by the Transportation Investment Act of 2010 (Georgia House Bill 277), which allocates a one-cent sales tax to the state’s transportation and highway systems improvements throughout its twelve economic development regions.
“The positive impact on economic development and quality of life that this referendum will have is important to the future of the community we serve,” says Hawkins.
If T-SPLOST is passed in all twelve regions, the state of Georgia will embark upon its largest economic development endeavor, totaling approximately $18 billion over the next ten years, he said. With 157 projects already identified, the state’s economy will be stimulated with much-needed jobs. Parents will be able to provide for their families and individuals will become more self-sufficient. More over, less time stuck in traffic equals less stress and unwarranted health conditions, allowing quality time among friends and loved ones.
“The 100 Black Men believes the community cannot pass up this opportunity to make their vote count,” he said.
Board member and Immediate Past Chairman Milton Jones of 100 Black Men of Atlanta urges, “it is very important that we stand united to help build a better future for metropolitan Atlanta by voting to improve transportation and access.”
According to the group’s statement, voters play a central role in determining the fate of transportation improvements in their region. If T-SPLOST is passed, 100 percent of their money is used in their own local and regional areas. A citizens committee, comprised of non-politicians, will monitor annual audits to ensure accountability on spending and that all projects remain on time.