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Transit Funding!

April 14, 2010

I know, you’re probably getting sick of me prattling on about funding for MARTA.  All you really read this blog for is my stories of getting attacked by homeless dudes or the Boob Tap.  You even like the stories of me getting hit on, repeatedly.  But I started this blog as an advocate for transit, and by golly I’m going to MARTAgeddon and Draconian y’all til death.  Or at least until we get some money.  I’ll let you bet amongst yourself which happens first.

But there may be some hope on the horizon.  Let’s take a look at our playing field, as it stands on the morning of the 36th day of the session.  That gives us four more days, so maybe like two weeks.  Who knows.  They may need a break, I don’t know how these things work.  I would probably need a break.  I spent one day at the capitol this session, I’m good until next year.

Anyways, so what we have on the table are:

HB 1393, sponsored by the awesome Rep. Roberta Abdul-Salaam.  This bill would remove the tax cap on Clayton County and would allow them to vote to pass a one cent sales tax for transit funding.

HB 277, a regional transportation bill (TSPLOSTs) which would allow regions to pass a one cent sales tax for transit funding and creates a 2020 Transportation Trust Fund Oversight Committee.  This one is in a joint transportation conference committee which consists of a bunch of republicans from outside the Metro region.  Why there are no Metro Atlantan reps on that one amazes me.

SB 39, again, another TSPLOST bill.

SB 120, Sen. Doug Stoner’s bill to reduce the 50/50 restriction on MARTA.  This bill, written last year, is still in the House transportation committee.

SB 285, same deal, reducing the 50/50 restriction.  Also still in the House committee.

SB 520 passed out of the House transportation committee yesterday, so this one looks promising.  Along with removing the 50/50 restriction, this bill would also restore the public transportation office to the Department of Transportation, which should help transit statewide.  It would also rearrange the MARTA board.

I think that has us covered.  I think we need to show overwhelming support for HB 1393, HB 277, and SB 520.  Basically, I’m just picking SB 520 because it seems like the more substantial bill of the 50/50 ones.  What we do need, however, is for Clayton County to get transit, the 50/50 restriction to be lifted from MARTA, regional input on project lists, and funding for transit that has a flexible sunset provision (because you can’t receive funding from the feds for transit that isn’t funded locally for a minimum of 20 years).  So e-mail or call your reps, and the folks on that joint transportation conference committee and give your support for MARTA!

You can find out who your elected officials are here.

And those conference committee folks are listed out here.

Remember, transit isn’t paid for at the fare box, it needs support from the state and local governments.  It’s a joint effort, folks.  How can Georgia expect MARTA to go on it’s own when no other large transit system in the nation does?

(PS – Like how I worked in that role call of my favorite blog posts?  I hope you read them.  All.)

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