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Friday, June 29, 2012 - 8:00am

Proposed Tax Divides Transit Advocates

The vast majority of funds officials plan to spend using the proposed penny sales taxes for transportation will go toward highway projects.

That has advocates for mass transit and bicycles divided on how to vote in July.

Voters in 12 regions will decide whether to add a cent to most everything they buy to fund projects on 12 huge lists.

In the ten county coastal region, about 10% of the estimated $1.2 billion to be raised would go toward bus and bike projects.

Frank McIntosh of the Savannah Bicycle Campaign says, that's a fair percentage.

"We spent a lot of time trying to make sure the project list reflects the needs of every section of society," McIntosh says. "There ought to be ways for people to get around without always turning the key on their car."

McIntosh says, national surveys show about 13% of all transit is on foot or bike.

But, Georgia Sierra Club leaders are opposing T-SPLOST because they say, it would add to sprawl.

And Georgia NAACP leaders are opposing it because they say, not enough would go to bus and rail projects.

"It is heavily road-centric and that does nothing for the pockets of small businesses, particularly in the minority community," Dubose says. "We don't get a benefit."

But not all black leaders are opposing T-SPLOST.

The proposal has divided African-American state lawmakers.

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