Tanner unleashes regional transit bill

[private]Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville) finally introduced his long-awaited regional transit bill Tuesday (HB 930) that would reshape transportation services in 13 counties around Metro Atlanta.

The 77-page bill has the support of House Speaker Dsvid Ralston, which suggests that it will at least get a vote in the House.

There is similar legislation pending in the Senate, with both bills creating a new regional board to oversee transit planning in these counties: Cherokee, Clayton, Coweta, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding and Rockdale.

Tanner’s bill would, among other things, rename the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority as the Atlanta-region Transit Link, or “ATL.” That would enable suburban counties to participate in the regional system without being branded with the stigma of MARTA, Atlanta’s oft-criticized transit system.

HB 930 would establish a basket of new taxes to pay for transit projects, including a 1 percent tax on goods sold at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport and a 50-cent fee on all taxi and ride-hailing service trips.

The legislation in both chambers is evidence of how much the Republican majority has changed its attitude on the issue of mass transit, which was once derided by GOP lawmakers as a waste money.

“We cannot continue to grow in this region when we have companies telling us that they will not locate in an area that does not have mobility services offered to their employees,” Tanner said a Tuesday news conference.

© 2018 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: David Ralston , Kevin Tanner , mass transit , The ATL