Bill repeals MARTA’s 50-50 spending restriction

[private]A long-sought goal of Atlanta legislators – the repeal of the 50-50 spending restriction on MARTA – has finally been achieved with the signing of HB 213.

Gov. Nathan Deal put his signature Tuesday on the bill sponsored by Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Atlanta), Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus), and Rep. Pat Gardner (D-Atlanta) that changes the requirement for how MARTA spends the revenues generated by its one-penny sales tax in Fulton and DeKalb counties.

For years, MARTA was required to spend 50 percent of those revenues on bond payments and 50 percent on operating expenses. Fulton and DeKalb lawmakers have long tried to lift that restriction so that a larger percentage of the tax funds could be spent for operational purposes.

This year, with Democratic votes needed to pass a transportation funding bill, the Republican leadership allowed the passage of HB 213. The bill also makes minor changes in the membership of the MARTA board and requires periodic independent management audits of the transit agency.

© 2015 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Calvin Smyre , MARTA , Mike Jacobs , Pat Gardner , sales tax revenues