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MARTA Expansion Bill Faces Confounding Committee Fumble

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Apparently the legislative drive to expand MARTA opened with a big fumble (this has been your obligatory football metaphor). Proponents of rail expansion introduced a bill that would allow a referendum on a half-penny sales tax, but sent the bill to the wrong committee. Instead of running uphill, legislators decided to take the ball and move to another field (wow, this is pretty easy!).

State Senator Brandon Beach of Alpharetta submitted Senate Bill 330 last week, which was nearly identical to the first bill submitted, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. However, SB 330 is in the friendly Senate Transportation Committee instead of the potentially obstructionist Local Government Operations Committee.

The latter committee is headed by John Albers of Roswell. Albers has said he believes adding MARTA to a transportation referendum would effectively kill the funding initiative, so he is advocating roads-only transportation funding. That's all despite an October poll that showed 73 percent of Fulton and DeKalb's registered voters are in favor of MARTA expansion.

On top of that, 49 percent of those polled said they would oppose a roads-only referendum so either side has within-the-margin-of-error power to tear down the other.

· Growing MARTA: A gaffe, and perhaps a game-changing poll [AJC]
· Study: Atlanta Needs to Step Up its Transit Game Now [Curbed]
· Perkins+Will Architect Talks Globalism, ATL's Perks & Flaws [Curbed]
· Residents Petition Legislature to Get MARTA Line Built [Curbed]
· Sandy Springs Unveils Ambitious Development, Transit Plans [Curbed]