6:17 am April 22, 2010, by Henry Unger
It’s been a long time coming. But the General Assembly finally passed a transportation bill that could ease traffic congestion over the long haul.
Breaking a legislative traffic jam that has endured for more than three years, AJC reporter Ariel Hart writes that the General Assembly on Wednesday voted to allow referendums throughout the state on transportation funding.
Speaker David Ralston led the Georgia House to pass the bill, HB 277, by a vote of 141-29. The Senate passed it 43-8 shortly afterward.
Hart explains that the bill would divide the state into 12 regions. A “roundtable” of local elected officials in each region, working with an appointee of the governor, would draw up a list of projects for the region. The region could then submit the list to its voters for their approval in a referendum, along with a 1 percent sales tax to fund them. No county could opt out of a region’s tax, but a roundtable could decline to hold a referendum in the region.
If the bill becomes law, it also will probably ease the substantial cuts MARTA was facing, though it was unclear Wednesday night by exactly how much. It lifts, for three years, a restriction on how the transit agency can use its revenues from sales taxes, freeing up several million dollars for operations, Hart writes.
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