1267 total votes.
LILBURN -- Dave Williams and Colleen Kiernan, foes in the debate over a regional transportation sales tax proposed for metro Atlanta, agreed on several things at a forum Monday in Lilburn.
Both said transit needs to be a part of the transportation solution. Both said the tax is not a total solution to congestion. And both agreed that the list of more than $6 billion in projects proposed for the funding is flawed.
But while Kiernan, the director of the Sierra Club, said voters should "vote no and demand better," Williams, of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce told the crowd of more than 100, "Do not let the search for the perfect be the enemy of the good."
The choice, a yes-or-no question on ballots July 31, has divided much of Atlanta. And with two weeks to go before the election, many of the attendees came looking for answers.
Kiernan said the proposal has brought a diverse coalition of foes because leaders failed to create a vision when they agreed on a "hodge-podge" project list for the region. Plus, increases to the state gas tax or other funding measures could be a better solution.
"It doesn't make sense to pay a tax on toothpaste. It does make sense to pay a tax on gas," she said, adding that many of the questions prepared for the debate were ones she wanted answered about the tax as well.
Williams, the former mayor of Suwanee, had to explain details from operations funds, which are included for new transit projects but not for the MARTA system, to oversight of the funds -- which would fall to a committee created by legislation.
He even fielded questions on specific proposals, including a complaint that funding would go to arts and parks in Atlanta's Beltline project, although he said that is not true. The only tax money earmarked for the project is for its transit components, he said.
The only project in Lilburn that made the regional list was for a small section of sidewalk on U.S. Highway 29. Williams said he was not familiar with the specifics of it, but said pedestrian options are important along major arterials.
The $8.5 billion in revenues the tax would bring in in 10 years, he said, would begin to bridge a $66 billion budget gap in transportation, and it would improve the business climate as well as quality of life.
"I think we need to boldly move into the future," he said.