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MARTA: The Little Engine That Just Might

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Persistence paying off in legislative session

Pro- and anti-transit metro Atlanta state legislators are locked in an epic battle over the future of MARTA funding. After plans were derailed by the Senate, many pro-transit legislators took matters into their own hands, focusing on a way to bring the vote to those who want it — the majority of constituents. Now, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that those efforts have resulted in a compromise initiative that could channel funding to MARTA from the City of Atlanta, as was hoped would happen.

A bill that passed yesterday in a committee of the House of Representatives would allow for City of Atlanta voters to approve a half-penny sales tax to expand MARTA and another half-penny to fund non-transit related projects within the city limits. The legislation would then allow the rest of Fulton County to vote on a three-quarters percent sales tax to go toward transportation initiatives beyond just transit, including infrastructural roadway projects.

A major compromise, sure, but transit supporters are optimistic the new legislation will bring much-needed funds to MARTA while pandering to the anti-transit faction of North Fulton. While plans no longer include DeKalb County, officials indicate they intend to push a transit initiative in that county early next year.

With only two days left in the legislative session for the year, it'll take a lot more "I think I can" to turn the proposal into reality.