Mayor Kasim Reed joined Leona Barr-Davenport and Thomas Dortch Jr. of the Atlanta Business League Tuesday for the 79-year-old business association’s official endorsement of the Regional Transportation Referendum on July 31, 2012. “I am tired of folks rooting against this region, especially when those on the other side of the debate haven’t put up a solution to our traffic and connectivity issues,” said Reed. “So I applaud the Atlanta Business League, which represents African-American business in our region, for really stepping up and supporting this referendum. They understand that if we don’t improve our competitive edge with job creation and wage growth, we won’t deal with our infrastructure issues or recover the thousands of jobs we have lost in this region since 2007.” Fulton County Chairman John Eaves; Michael Russell, CEO of H.J. Russell & Co.; and Nancy Flake Johnson, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Atlanta, also joined Reed and the league for the announcement. If the Regional Transportation Referendum passes on July 31, it is estimated that more than $7.2 billion will be invested over a 10-year period across the 10-county Atlanta metropolitan region with 15 percent going directly to municipalities. In addition to regional projects, the city of Atlanta is expected to receive more than $9 million every year for 10 years, or about $94 million total, dedicated for local projects. “The reality is the potential financial and economic impact for our communities is huge,” said Thomas W. Dortch Jr., board chair for the ABL. “We want our stakeholders to understand why the TIA vote is critical, how it will affect their day-to-day lives and the Black community as a whole, and how we will benefit if the TIA Referendum passes.” Dortch said at the City Hall press conference Tuesday, “We see the merit and value of the $8.5 billion TIA and as an organization we support it; however, we are also committed to ensuring the voters make a well- informed decision, whether they vote for or against TIA.” As a body, ABL accepts the plan is not perfect but believes the benefits are numerous and have the potential to improve the quality of transportation and life in our communities. Based on the limited timeframe, ABL will target large groups and organizations such as fraternities and sororities, professional organization affiliates, grassroots organizations, religious institutions and local colleges/universities students and alumni. ABL’s commitment to supporting passage of the TIA Referendum is reflected in the campaign’s tagline: “Vote for it. We’ll fight for YOU.” Dortch said, “Passage of the TIA Referendum only marks the beginning of our work. Beyond July 31, we will actively work to ensure promises are kept, opportunities are open and the needs of our communities are not just on the table, but are also heard and honored.” For more information, contact the Atlanta Business League offices at 404-584-6206.
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