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Fate of Big MARTA Expansion Could Soon be up to Voters

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Gov. Deal signs law moving measure forward

Despite previous legislation that came skidding to a halt earlier this year, there may still be a large-scale expansion of MARTA in the not-so-distant future, with a light rail system along the Beltline playing a big part, too.

According to the AJC, Gov. Nathan Deal signed a measure Tuesday allowing the city to go after a $2.5 billion MARTA expansion by setting a referendum for a half-percent sales tax increase.

MARTA Board Chairman Robbie Ashe chimed in that the "lion’s share" would likely to go fund Beltline transit. The story goes on to say that in order to appease Republicans, the measure exempts DeKalb County and gives Fulton legislators the option to pursue a .25 percent sales tax for future transit.

Atlantans currently pay a 1-percent MARTA sales tax, so the increase would bring the tax rate from 8 percent to 8.5. Revenue would last through 2057, generating that aforementioned $2.5 billion, the AJC reports.

First things first, though.

The city council has to approve a project list and schedule the referendum for either this November or next. And, of course, it would have to get the green light from a majority of voters to move forward.