In a letter sent to the groups, Sheila Brown, chairwoman of the NAACP’s community coordination committee, said the T-SPLOST is “unfair to the poor, minorities and middle class.”
“It lacks the inclusionary language that is necessary to ensure fairness and equity in the distribution of contracts to small, minority and women owned businesses,” Brown wrote. “Further, there are no real guarantees that the thousands of jobs being promised by proponents of the referendum will go to the most vulnerable segments of our communities – the poor and middle class.”
The T-SPLOST is seeking to raise $8.5 billion in the 10-county Atlanta region to fund 157 road and transit projects. It will add a second penny tax to the one that DeKalb and Fulton counties have been paying for 40 years to help fund MARTA. Through 2009, the two counties had contributed $7.5 billion to the public transit system.
Brown said while the two counties have been paying a one-penny transit sales tax since the 1970s, the T-SPLOST referendum gives Cobb County a fully funded rail line while DeKalb County will only receive a partially funded rail line. A number of DeKalb residents oppose the new tax because south DeKalb County does not get a long-promised I-20 rail line to the Stonecrest area.
Voters can say yes or no to one percent tax on July 31. The polls open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day.