Beach readies MARTA funding bill for introduction

[private]State Sen. Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) has finalized legislation that would allow Fulton and DeKalb counties to call a referendum on a half-cent sales tax to provide funding for the expansion of MARTA service.

Beach said his bill, which hasn’t been assigned a number yet, will get its first reading in the Senate on Tuesday.

“We haven’t expanded rapid transit in this town in 18 years and we’ve got to expand it,” Beach said.

The legislation, which has been the topic of heavy discussion for months, would amend a portion of last year’s transportation funding bill, HB 170, that allows local governments to enact a one-cent local sales tax for road construction purposes.

Beach’s bill would authorize the Fulton and DeKalb County Commissions to designate half of that one-cent local option tax for mass transit before putting it on a referendum ballot for voter consideration.

It’s been estimated that the sales tax proceeds, along with the federal matching funds they would attract, could generate up to $8 billion for expansion of the MARTA rail system.

“Voters will make that final decision,” Beach said. “This gives them a chance to invest in mass transit, up to $8 billion.”

© 2016 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Brandon Beach , local option sales tax , MARTA , rail expansion