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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

MARTA Chairman: Fix transportation funding bill

MARTA Board Chairman Michael Tyler has joined elected officials in Fulton and DeKalb County in telling the General Assembly to fix House Bill 277, a piece of legislation that could generate billions in funding for new transportation projects — but nothing for the metro region's largest transit agency.

Tyler writes in a guest column at Saporta Report:

HB 277, in its current form, does not allow any tax revenues that would be received from the 2012 regional transportation referendum to be used for the operation and maintenance of the current MARTA system.

Unless sufficient local funding is provided for the existing MARTA system, it is a foregone conclusion that, under the New Starts Program, the federal government will not provide any funding for the creation of an expanded regional transit system.

We simply cannot allow this to happen. The necessity and potential benefits of creating a regional transit system are too great for us to squandar this golden opportunity to move forward. Now is the time for a new generation of Georgia leaders to rise above partisanship and parochial politics and do what is in the best interest of the entire region and state.

The passing of HB 277 was a step in the right direction. The leadership of the General Assembly, along with Gov.-elect Nathan Deal, must now work zealously to assure that HB 277 is modified to allow MARTA to receive funding from the 2012 regional transportation referendum for the operation and maintenance of the current MARTA system.

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