Atlanta mayor predicts victory for Georgia transportation tax

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Reed, who is a prominent surrogate for President Obama, dismissed public polling about the tax. He said a poll conducted by supporters of the transportation tax showed the proposal was only trailing 41-38 percent.

"It's an 800 sample poll, which is in the 3 percent margin of error, which means it's basically neck-and-neck dead even," he said.

But Reed acknowledged that support for the transportation tax in Georgia was on the decline. 

"I'll be honest. We didn't want to show our poll because the poll that we took before that was better," he said.

The Georgia transportation tax has become such a contentious issue that Republican U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) clarified recently that a statement saying he planned to vote for the measure was not a formal endorsement.

Florida Rep. Sandy Adams (R) has also made the Georgia transportation tax an issue in her member-versus-member primary with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) in central Florida. Adams has criticized Mica for saying during a fundraising trip to Atlanta that the money generated by the transportation tax could help Georgia attract federal dollars.

Reed said in his speech that the attention from other places was another reason voters in his city should pass the transportation tax.

"It's important that we pass this in Atlanta because people all over the world are watching to see what we're doing in Atlanta," he said. "Look in the New York Times, look in the Chicago [Sun]-Times, look in the Los Angeles Times, look in Barron's, look in the Economist. They are looking to see whether Atlanta is going to step up and solve a problem in a bipartisan way that nobody else in the Southeast has been able to take on."

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, has also supported the proposal.

If the transportation tax is approved by all 12 regions of Georgia that are scheduled to hold votes on it, supporters have said it will generate $18 billion for road and transit projects in the state.

Voters go to the polls on July 31.