Kasim Reed offered up an enthusiastic endorsement today of legislation recently approved by the General Assembly that will allow city residents to vote this fall on a half-cent sales tax to expand MARTA.
“This bill allows us to go to voters for approval for what will be the largest expansion of MARTA in the system’s history,” Reed said in the statement. “Atlanta’s residents want transit solutions that offer access to full economic and social participation in the life of our city.”
If approved, the tax hike would be projected to raise nearly $2.5 billion over the next 40 years. That half-penny would be on top a cent sales tax already earmarked for MARTA operations. The legislation also sets up a referendum for Fulton voters outside Atlanta to consider a 3/4-cent sales tax for road improvements.
Here’s the mayor’s full statement:
I want to express my sincere appreciation for Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, whose leadership and hard work made this achievement possible, and Representative Calvin Smyre for his tremendous contributions.
I also want to thank Governor Nathan Deal, Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, Speaker David Ralston and the entire General Assembly for their support and collaboration on this legislation.
This bill allows us to go to voters for approval for what will be the largest expansion of MARTA in the system’s history. Atlanta residents have made their wishes known, overwhelmingly supporting the T-SPLOST, then voting by a margin of more than 80 percent for the Renew Atlanta infrastructure bond to upgrade transportation infrastructure. Atlanta’s residents want transit solutions that offer access to full economic and social participation in the life of our city.
By focusing on expanding the MARTA system through light rail along the Atlanta BeltLine and in other parts of our city, we will address last-mile connectivity, making this a transit system that works for everyone, for every day. Atlanta stands alone among major cities in our region with our heavy rail infrastructure. By adding light rail, we will build a system that will sustain our city’s growth for decades to come.
The City of Atlanta is the cultural and economic capital of the Southeast. I believe the passage of this bill will mark a turning point for our city – a point where we chose to take control of our future.