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Old 07-11-2015, 06:53 AM
 
9,922 posts, read 6,921,979 times
Reputation: 3022

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MARTA to make an $8 billion pitch to change the face of Atlanta | www.ajc.com

Quote:
...Over the next seven months, the people at MARTA will quietly button-hole local leaders and state lawmakers — top Republicans included — with the aim of building support for an $8 billion expansion of commuter rail that would transform the region.

The future of metro Atlanta could become startlingly linear — a single file of major economic development up and down what is now Georgia 400, built along a rail line that would link Alpharetta with downtown Atlanta and its airport beyond.

The biggest public works package in decades would have other elements as well. In DeKalb County, there would be a rail link to Emory University and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plus another line shooting eastward along I-20. Within the city of Atlanta, the Beltline awaits.

...

As passed by the General Assembly, H.B. 170 included a provision that allowed all 159 counties in Georgia to levy an additional one-cent sales tax for local transportation projects – through local referendums that can’t be held until 2016.

MARTA has approached officials in Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties with the idea of assigning a half-penny of those proceeds to the transit agency. Approval by DeKalb and Fulton alone would give MARTA an additional $175 million to $200 million a year.

Which could buy $4 billion in construction bonds. Which, Ashe and other MARTA officials are betting, could be matched by an equal amount of federal dollars, resulting in a spurt of construction that would last seven to 10 years.

The only problem is that the penny sales tax granted to counties comes with a five-year sunset. That’s no good for larger, long-term bonding projects, whether involving rail or roads. Nor would would a five-year sunset convince the distributors of federal dollars that the Atlanta transit expansion had long-term, local financial support.

MARTA, Ashe said, intends to ask the General Assembly to make a slight change in H.B. 170. First, state permission would be required to allow counties to assign a portion of that tax revenue to a transit agency. The life of that tax would also have to be extended – to 42 years, the life of the current penny sales tax levied in Clayton, Fulton and DeKalb for MARTA.

Ashe’s election year pitch: “We haven’t raised taxes, because the taxation authority already exists. It’s already state law. You just change to whom it goes, and how long it lasts.”

I asked the MARTA board chairman whether he has approached the governor with the idea. He has. “Our conversations with the governor and his staff encouraged us to seek authority from our members,” Ashe said.

One possible translation: If MARTA can demonstrate strong support for the idea from Democrats and Republicans in Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties, then the governor won’t slam the door on what could be a game-changing move.
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Old 07-11-2015, 07:20 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
5,243 posts, read 4,388,346 times
Reputation: 2723
The dream comes true?!?!?!?!



Ok, it's early but it sounds like AJC is mixing up commuter rail with HRT. It sounds like they are referring to all the projects they have been planning for a while now, 400 extension, Clifton, I-20 east, and even the Beltline. This is funding for existing projects, nothing new. I guess when I read commuter rail network I have visions of the Brain Train and I get way too excited.

Dunno if it's just me or the writing is just really bad and makes it sound like something it isn't -

Quote:
...with the aim of building support for an $8 billion expansion of commuter rail that would transform the region.
...along a rail line that would link Alpharetta with downtown Atlanta and its airport beyond
....But it is the proposed, five-station expansion of commuter rail into north Fulton County –
...A rail line thrust between Cobb and Gwinnett counties
Regardless, this would be great! Still wouldn't mind seeing some gambling money come transit's way rather than more taxes, but this would work. Banking on $4 B from the feds kind of sucks too. But with the good rep being strongly built by KP, there has been no better time than now to sell expansion of the system.

Last edited by tikigod311; 07-11-2015 at 07:51 AM..
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Old 07-11-2015, 07:28 AM
 
28,160 posts, read 24,711,424 times
Reputation: 9549
I am okay with it, as long as the taxpayer in Fulton and DeKalb doesn't get stuck with additional taxes on top of what we are already paying MARTA.
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Old 07-11-2015, 07:33 AM
 
Location: Sweet Home Chicago!
4,718 posts, read 3,240,069 times
Reputation: 5163
reminds me of a song, In the year 2525...
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Old 07-11-2015, 07:35 AM
 
7,153 posts, read 2,911,577 times
Reputation: 9849
Once the tax is on it will probably never go away! Don't trust politicians!
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Old 07-11-2015, 08:23 AM
 
Location: NW Atlanta
5,002 posts, read 3,489,781 times
Reputation: 2653
Quote:
Originally Posted by arjay57 View Post
I am okay with it, as long as the taxpayer in Fulton and DeKalb doesn't get stuck with additional taxes on top of what we are already paying MARTA.
I'd gladly pay an additional 1/2 cent if it meant $8 billion in capital funding for HRT expansion.
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Old 07-11-2015, 08:24 AM
 
Location: NW Atlanta
5,002 posts, read 3,489,781 times
Reputation: 2653
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tominftl View Post
Once the tax is on it will probably never go away! Don't trust politicians!
That's the point. It's not supposed to be temporary unless you want to shut down MARTA.
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Old 07-11-2015, 08:31 AM
 
Location: In your feelings
2,199 posts, read 1,493,937 times
Reputation: 2168
I'll give my support to any political leader who supports this. Considering how long Georgia has been ignoring Atlanta's transit infrastructure needs, $8 billion is a modest investment in catching up to where we need to be.
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Old 07-11-2015, 09:38 AM
 
650 posts, read 1,270,244 times
Reputation: 339
are ya'll blind to see, who this ONLY helps??


the construction companies...

building over priced highways and roads. at record high profit margins.
while only paying the men who actually build the roads, $9hr to $12hr.
while the construction companies pay its execs and shareholders great returns.

the people voted against the last projects.

now the govt, dont even ASK the people anymore. they just get the bonds, and make the people pay for it. (bonds, taxes, etc)




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Old 07-11-2015, 09:42 AM
 
7,708 posts, read 9,559,058 times
Reputation: 5683
Seems like an awfully high price tag for just a handful more stops. But at least it is something.
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