Gov. Deal signs legislation to expand MARTA system

Written by Carolina Worrell
image description

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on April 26, 2016 signed S.B. 369, a landmark bill that empowers the City of Atlanta to hold a fall ballot referendum asking voters to support a half-penny sales tax to expand the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) system.

Flanked by key legislative leaders, local elected officials and MARTA Board Members and leadership, Deal inked the measure that was approved with bi-partisan support on the final day of this year’s Georgia General Assembly.

MARTA is now working with city officials to draft a proposed list of projects that must then be approved by the Atlanta City Council. If a majority of voters back the referendum, which could be held during the general election in November, the sales tax levy would generate an estimated $2.5 billion over the next 40 years for bus and rail projects within the city limits.

“I’m thankful for all the partners who came together to help MARTA in taking a great first step forward in delivering the kind of transit improvements that people have been telling us they’ve wanted to see for a very long time,” said MARTA GM/CEO Keith T. Parker after the signing ceremony.

“We’re thrilled and deeply appreciative for the support MARTA has received from both sides of the aisle on this legislation,” said Board Chairman Robert L. Ashe III. “We believe this could permit us to transform the City of Atlanta over the next generation.”

The legislation also leaves room to negotiate with Fulton County for an additional one-quarter of penny in sales tax for further expansion in that jurisdiction. While DeKalb and Clayton Counties were not included in S.B. 369, there is the potential for residents in those jurisdictions to vote on funding MARTA expansions in the future.

Categories: News, Rapid Transit, Regulatory Tags: ,