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Is Transportation Worth A Penny Sales Tax?

Kathryn Lawler, external affairs manager for the Atlanta Regional Commission, has two pieces of advice for all Georgians who plan to vote July 31 on the transportation special local option sales tax referendum.

First, she advised, “Get to know the list of projects.” Second, “Look at the list and compare it to where you travel in the region and decide whether it will help you. Don’t let anyone else decide for you.”

Lawler was the subject matter expert invited by AARP Georgia to tell members about the referendum in two special “teletown hall” conference calls hosted by AARP Georgia State Director Pamela Roshell on June 26. AARP Georgia has not taken a position on the referendum. But it believes voter education on the referendum is important.

For the referendum, Lawler explained, the state is divided into 12 regions. Each region comprises multiple counties. Inside each region, the question put to voters will be the same: Do you want to pay a 1 percent sales tax to pay for the projects proposed for your region?

Lawler fielded questions from callers and recommended several resources for voters who want to know more, including:

  • The My Voter Page on the Georgia secretary of state’s website. Visit the website to check your voter registration, see a sample ballot for your polling place for the July 31 election, request an absentee ballot, and learn about early voting times and locations. You’ll be asked to provide your first initial, last name and birth date.
  • An interactive website explaining projects inside metro Atlanta. Visit the website to see a list of the 157 projects that the sales tax would fund, if approved. You can click on an interactive map to see major project details and review project maps fact sheets by county.
  • A comprehensive website with project lists and reports. Includes the cost of each proposed project, for those regions outside metro Atlanta. Visit the Georgia Department of Transportation website to see the project lists, reports and cost of each proposed transportation project.

Additionally, for those not comfortable at a computer, Lawler offered her office phone number and email – 404-463-3296, klawler@atlantaregional.com – for more information.

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