Emory president throwing support for TSPLOST referendum

by: Tony Thomas Updated:

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ATLANTA - The push is on for supporters and critics of the so called TSPLOST referendum to push for votes.

Voters go to the polls in just two weeks.

One of the areas that stands to gain a big project, if approved, is the Emory university area and its president is pushing for approval.

TSPLOST funds would build a new MARTA line all the way from Buckhead to the university and would include five stations and miles of tracks.

Supporters of the TSPLOST referendum said extending MARTA rail service from Buckhead to Emory would have a big impact on the entire area.

The Clifton Corridor is packed with the Emory campus, the Centers for Disease Control, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and the veteran's hospital.

"It is not the sort of tax that Emory will be exempted, so we will pay it," university president Jim Wagner said. "I am not embarrassed to say or uncomfortable at all in encouraging people to support this for our sake, for the sake of the area and for the sake of the city."

If approved, residents in the 10 county Atlanta region would pay an additional one percent sales tax for the next 10 years to fund a $7 billion list of road and mass transit projects.

But support is shaky. A recent Channel 2 Action News poll found only 33 percent of metro Atlanta's support the plan.

"I don't believe it's the right thing to have right now," resident Laurline Allen said.

Sunday morning, state senator Vincent Fort spoke at four area churches about the TSPLOST vote.

"When grandma goes and gets that milk, she's going to be paying an extra penny. But guess what the big corporations have their motor fuel exempted. They are going to be using the roads, but they not going to be paying for the roads," Fort said.

The TSPLOST referendum goes before voters July 31. Early voting is already underway.