This story has been updated.
State Sen. Vincent Fort, who is running to become the next mayor of Atlanta, says that Emory University’s petition to annex into Atlanta and its pursuit of a dedicated MARTA rail corridor will be unfair to black neighborhoods in the city.
Fort thinks a vote on the annexation petitions filed by Emory, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia Power, Villa International, Synod of South Atlantic & Presbyterian Church (USA) Inc. and the Centers for Disease Control, should be delayed. A vote on these petitions is expected as early as Sept. 5.
“This needs to wait,” Fort said. “It doesn’t need to be rushed through. This is a lack of transparency that I’ve never quite seen before.”
Emory’s pursuit of annexation is widely viewed as an effort to move forward with the Clifton Corridor Light Rail Project that would link MARTA’s Lindbergh and Avondale Stations and would service the Emory area. In November, Atlanta voters overwhelmingly approved a sales tax to expand MARTA.
Fort said there are other minority communities who need MARTA expansion, and they needed it before Emory began its push to join Atlanta,
“Not only is Emory jumping in line in the city of Atlanta, they’re jumping in line in front of a set of predominantly African American neighborhoods in DeKalb,” Fort said. “Emory is using its muscle.”
Atlanta Loop reached out to Emory University seeking comment and a spokesperson referred questions to the city of Atlanta. A spokesperson for the city of Atlanta said Fort is simply trying to drum up interest in his mayoral campaign.
“Sen. Vincent Fort is a failed candidate for mayor of the city of Atlanta,” the spokesperson said. “As his campaign spirals, he’s doing everything he can to remain relevant in the public conversation before he drops out of the race after failing to qualify. He has now gone to the length of fabricating falsehoods about the historic, once-in-a-generation opportunity to expand MARTA within the city of Atlanta over the next 40 years.”