After several failed attempts, there appears to be a new financing mechanism for transportation projects.
AJC reporter Ariel Hart writes that the three-year push for transportation funding got big-time backing Thursday, as Gov. Sonny Perdue announced his support for a referendum on a regional sales tax. Perdue also said he would ask the Legislature to approve $300 million in borrowing for transportation projects statewide.
He said he hoped future governors and Legislatures would continue to pass $300 million per year in bond funding for transportation projects, for a total of $3 billion over 10 years.
For the regional taxes, the state would be divided into 12 regions, Hart writes. Each region would vote in 2012 on whether to approve the tax. A region’s citizens would be voting on whether to approve the 1-cent sales tax, and on the list of projects to be built with that money.
If the tax is approved, shoppers would probably start paying it within the following year. All the money raised from the tax would be spent on projects in the same region, Perdue said.
The Atlanta region would consist of Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Rockdale, Henry, Fayette, Clayton, Douglas, Cobb and Cherokee counties. Different studies have produced different estimates of how much such a tax would raise, but the Atlanta Regional Commission has estimated it at $790 million a year, said ARC Government Affairs Manager Catherine Brulet.
But the House and Senate will have to pass it before Perdue can sign it. Perdue is still working out the details with legislative leaders, and details have gummed up transportation funding legislation in the past, Hart writes.
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