File Photo - Afternoon traffic flows on Interstate 85 near the Beaver Ruin Road exit.
LAWRENCEVILLE -- Ed and Gail Gilcrease have seen the commercials. They have read the mailers and searched the Internet for more information.
Like many, the top concern on their mind this election season isn't a candidate or an office waiting to be filled. It's the transportation tax proposal that has most of metro Atlanta talking.
On Tuesday, voters will decide if Gwinnett and nine other counties will impose a 1-percent sales tax over the next 10 years to tackle some long-awaited transportation projects -- from widening roads like Ga. Highway 20 in Sugar Hill to building new rail lines in Atlanta.
Many business leaders have taken a strong stand for the idea, even contributing to an $8 million campaign because they believe it will not only improve traffic but will help make metro Atlanta more competitive in the corporate world.
But a growing mass of leaders from the Sierra Club and the NAACP to tea party groups have blasted the proposal, finding flaws in the regional approach, the list of projects the tax would fund and other aspects.
Days before the Tuesday's referendum, the Gilcreases listened to a debate and still came out undecided.
"I was thinking of voting against it until (the debate). Now I have to think about it," Gail Gilcrease said, describing the pair as tea party supporters who agree with the cries that the government doesn't deserve more taxes.
But with a growing traffic problem and few other solutions seeming likely in the near future, they wonder if this is the only opportunity to address the need.
"When I hear people talk about a 'plan B' that isn't defined, I can see us here in two years, four years, six years, and we'll have the same arguments," Ed Gilcrease said. "I just see this as kicking the can down the road."
In the past several months, leaders have shifted from wondering whether the public would pay attention to the proposal to making sure the lines at the polls aren't too long.
Gwinnett Elections Supervisor Lynn Ledford said she has no way to predict Tuesday's turnout, since early voting has dwarfed the usual primary season statistics.
Before last week's peak of the early voting, Ledford said nearly 4,000 people had filled out ballots, whereas the same time period in 2008 (the last presidential year) brought 300 to 400 people before the primary.
In the first four days last week, another 5,000 people cast ballots, although numbers were not available by press time for Friday.
Stephanie Callaway said she wanted to be sure to vote "no" on the referendum, so she journeyed from Loganville to the elections office last week, her last week of maternity leave before going back to work.
"I think it doesn't have anything to do with bringing jobs here," she said. "I know my employer doesn't care if it takes five hours for me to get to work, as long as I get there."
Lois Wyatt of Lilburn didn't want to reveal how she punched her ticket, but she said the issue was at the top of her mind.
"I think it's necessary, but I'm not real sure that some of the things they are talking about are going to work," she said, adding that projects like bike paths may not help traffic.
While plenty of people made up their minds early on the issue, the Gilcreases said they still had a few issues to mull out in their minds.
"When the government gets money, it goes out a lot faster," Gail Gilcrease said. "But I think there are a lot of good stuff to pay for with it."
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday.