Chasing the deal on MARTA rail in metro Atlanta

A MARTA train makes its way north past Ga. 400 traffic near Sandy Springs on a typical afternoon rush hour. Ben Gray, bgray@ajc.com

A MARTA train makes its way north past Ga. 400 traffic near Sandy Springs on a typical afternoon rush hour. Ben Gray, bgray@ajc.com

Much of today was spent chasing down rumors of a MARTA rail deal that we’re told is on the verge of being unveiled – under the management of House Speaker pro tem Jan Jones, R-Milton.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed told us a week ago that things were happening on the topic – and he said it again today.

What we’re hearing about is a deal that would allow the city of Atlanta to levy its half-penny sales tax for MARTA rail expansion, for several decades. Some assurances would be offered to the mayors of north Fulton to make sure that their residents wouldn’t have to be inconvenienced by mass transit until they’re darn good and ready.

Legislation is floating about, but we’ve been unable to get our hands on it. If you have a copy, you know our email address.

Word was that the legislation was to be attached to Senate Bill 307, a measure authored by Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, in today’s meeting of the House Transportation Committee – but that did not happen.

The new targeted vehicle, we’re told, is S.B. 369, the fireworks bill authored by Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, chairman of the Senate Rules Committee. How can a MARTA bill be germane to a fireworks bill? Perhaps this section of the Mullis bill qualifies it:

…to amend Chapter 60 of Title 36 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to general provisions regarding provisions applicable to counties and municipal corporations, so as to provide for further regulations by municipal corporations…

The House Regulated Industry Committee takes up S.B. 369 at 2 p.m. Tuesday.


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