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ryanmckibben

Dedicated funding for Transit

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All of this talk of transit and development got me thinking, what would you (particularly residents of Atlanta) think of a dedicated funding source for transit?

Currently, Atlanta's slaes tax is 8%. In either March or May of next year, the 1% SPLOST that was approved 5 years ago to halp pay for APS constuction will expire and our tax rate will roll back to 7%. What if, instead, we keep it at 8% and dedicate the 1% to transit construction. The 1% increase for the sewer mess is projected to generate hundreds of millions of $. Whith that amount of money, we could build the Peachtree Streetcar, a streetcar on Ponce to connect Midtown to Va-Hi and maybe even L5, and still have money left over for a spur to Atlantic Station.

The mechanism for funding is open to suggestions as are the projects. Another possible funding mechanism is a parking tax. This would have the double benefit of dedicated revenue and discouraging the use of cars.

Thoughts? Ideas?

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teshadoh    0

I think it's coming to a head soon - talks have begun between the state, GRTA & ARC on how to develop a metro wide transit financial base for MARTA or any other transit service. The question is how to do this without anyone's toes being stepped on.

I would expect within the next year we hear something fairly concrete on how to resolve the inequity that exists concerning MARTA's financial support.

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monsoon    0

I don't think Atlanta has any choice it if wants to build more transit, IF it expects go get federal funding. The new rules for the New Starts program (for transit requests of more than $75M), limit the Federal part to 60% of the project. Realistically, it has to be 50% or less these days to stand a chance for getting a full funding letter from the Feds. As a result, unless the state of GA is going to pay for at least 1/2 of the transit costs in Atlanta, I see the local residents having to come up with a tax or something simlar to pay for the system.

Also the Feds will make a judgement about the fiscal viability of any system they are being asked to fund and systems that have a local funding option in place are going to move ahead of ones that don't. (ridership is also an issue). There is intense competition throughout the USA for very limited federal transit funds.

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johnatl    0

Ryan - That is a great idea!

monsoon - We already do pay taxes for MARTA. DeKalb, Fulton and the City have a dedicated 1% sales tax already in place. The problem is that it's set to expire in less than 30 years, so our bonding ability is rather consticted. This is a result of the "Big 3" being fed up with the fact that the State keeps plugging into the system with suburban bus systems, refuses to give MARTA a dime, and frankly - the residents of the aforementioned jurisdictions are sick of paying for all the rest of the Metro's access to the system. Something has to give. Ridership is not a problem - the trains alone carry over 225,000 riders a day as of now.

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Lady Celeste    58

I just don't understand why the 13 core metro counties can't all contribute 1% sales tax to a regional system. The name of the system is Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transist Authority afterall. If the 13 counties shared in the burden and added some help from the state, plus revenue generated by MARTA itself, then the system could expand nicely. GCT, CCT and CTran could all be folded into a combine system, with upgrades and additions to follow. Imagine the help MARTA would get from a 1% sales tax from just Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett.

Oh if only we had regional thinking politicians instead of "me me me" politicans!

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