There’s been a lot of talk about TSPLOST in Atlanta lately. A proposed 1 percent sales tax to fund transportation projects throughout the 10-county Atlanta region goes up for vote on July 31.

Mark Toro, managing partner with North American Properties, which owns Atlantic Station in Midtown and the currently under development Avalon project in Alpharetta, has been an outspoken proponent of the referendum. We got a chance to sit down with Toro and hear more on his views.

Mark_ToroHS: You have been a high-profile advocate of the TSPLOST initiative. What are your primary reasons for supporting its passage? 

Toro: It is, without question, the most important initiative of this decade for our region. Much like the decision to support the Olympic games bid, Atlanta is being watched by other U.S. cities as we all compete for business, industry and jobs.

HS: What do you say to opponents who say they can't afford another tax?  

Toro: They can’t afford not to pay for the infrastructure that will keep us competitive in a global economy.  If there is a viable alternative that can be implemented to fund these mission-critical improvements, that can be deployed in less than five years, I haven’t heard it, and I’ve been listening intently.

HS: Are there any specific projects or general types of TSPLOST projects that you are particularly excited about?   

Toro: Transit projects, like the Beltline and the Northwest Light Rail, are significant to our region because they signal an acknowledgement by the citizens of this region that Atlanta has finally become a real city, with real trains that serve all population and business centers. 

HS: Where should undecided voters go to get detailed information about the initiative and the projects involved? 

Toro: They can visit www.untieatlanta.com and www.transformmetroatlanta.com.

HS: Atlantic Station has been the site of the BB&T Atlanta Open for the last week. When all is said and done, how much of a beneficial impact will the tennis tournament have on Atlantic Station? 

Toro: In a word, it has been epic, far exceeding our expectations.  A recent tweet said, “Atlantic Station welcomes the tennis world to Atlanta…and blows them away!”