House passes ‘transformational’ transit bill

[private]The Georgia house voted 162-13 Wednesday to pass what supporters call a “transformational” bill coordinating the development of mass transit services across the 13-county Metro Atlanta region.

HB 930 would establish a new entity, The ATL, the would replace the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority as the planning and administrative agency for transit services.

Voters in individual transit districts would decide whether to levy a local sales tax in that area as the price of joining the system. Other revenues would come from a 50-cent fee on taxi and Uber fares.

“This is truly a regional problem and we cannot continue to operate in silos,” said Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville), who chaired a special legislative study committee on regional transit.

“When opportunity knocks, be ready to open the door,” said Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus). “Let’s not stand in the way of progress. HB 930 is a real chance at progress.”

“This is good news for people who come here or are thinking of coming here,” said Rep. Christian Coomer (R-Cartersville). “This is one of the things they look for.”

HB 930 now moves to the state Senate.

The Senate voted 51-4 later Wednesday to pass its version of a regional transit bill, SB 386.

Senators also passed a related bill, SB 460, that authorizes MARTA to rebrand itself as The ATL.

© 2018 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: mass transit , Metro Atlanta