At roughly the midpoint of the 2016 legislative session, a local lawmaker predicts a proposal to direct a half-cent transportation sales tax to MARTA expansion won’t win approval.
“It’s started a conversation, but I don’t think it’s going anywhere right now,” Rep. Tom Taylor (R-Dunwoody) told members of the Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber at the organization’s “Eggs and Issues” breakfast. More than 30 people attended the Feb. 17 breakfast at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia hotel in Dunwoody.
MARTA officials have proposed that state lawmakers designate for MARTA rail expansion half of the proceeds from a penny sales tax for transportation set to go to the voters in DeKalb, Fulton and Clayton counties for approval. The MARTA portion of the tax would continue for 41 years, officials say, and would pay for extensions of MARTA train lines north along Ga. 400 and into south DeKalb County.
Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) said the proposal has convinced some lawmakers that the state government should find a way to help support MARTA because of the transit system’s importance in attracting companies to invest in the metro area.
“People in DeKalb and Fulton have been paying for transportation since the inception of MARTA,” Millar said. “If you’re going to have regional transit, it should be paid for regionally and by the state. … The state needs to get in the game.”
Also, Millar said he had introduced legislation recently to eliminate the DeKalb County CEO position. Similar legislation has been introduced in the state House of Representatives. Millar said his plan also eliminates the commission’s two “super-districts.”