By David Pendered

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed told DeKalb County’s Chamber of Commerce Monday that the planned transportation sales tax must be approved to ensure the region’s economic vitality in the future.

The transportation projects are part of about $14.5 billion in public infrastructure projects that are planned or underway, Reed said.

Taken in total, the projects represent such a major investment that competing cities never will be able to overtake metro Atlanta as the top region in the Southeast, Reed said.

“If you concentrate that kind of spending in an honest, ethical and appropriate type of manner … you’re talking about a region that is on its way back,” Reed said.

“We’ll have more infrastructure [investments] than any other city, other than New York,” Reed said. “Charlotte, Orlando, and any other city can forget about it if we’re spending that kind of money.”

Reed also urged the 150 or so members present, which chamber officials said is double the usual attendance, to support whatever proposal is approved by the roundtable. He urged members to oppose critics who may call for the proposed sales tax to be defeated because it does not deliver enough to DeKalb.

Reed delivered his remarks to the monthly luncheon meeting of the DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce.

Then Reed rushed to downtown Atlanta to join the Executive Committee of the Atlnata Regional Transportation Roundtable on debating various road and transit projects that have been earmarked for funding with $1.64 billion in anticipated revenues from a 1 percent sales tax that is to be on the ballot in 2012.

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written...

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