Transit Sales Tax Hinges on Local Control in Suburban Atlanta
David Pendered reports on the central role of the politics of local control to the transit sales tax on the ballot in November for voters in Gwinnett County, Georgia.
"MARTA will be involved only because state law requires it – and the role is restricted to heavy rail," writes Pendered. "MARTA is equally explicit in stating that Gwinnett County will exercise control over MARTA’s functions in Gwinnett through intergovernmental agreements. These agreements will help address the fact that Gwinnett County does not have a representative on MARTA’s board – because Gwinnett voters have rejected proposals to join MARTA."
According to Pendered, the transit sales tax proposal is designed to keep the revenue raised by the tax out of MARTA coffers, funding instead projects and programs favored by local officials.
The possibility of a regional approach to transit funding and planning has buried previous transit funding sales taxes proposed to Gwinnett County voters, despite the best rhetorical efforts of transit advocates in the Atlanta region.
In response to that history of reluctance to send tax money to a regional authority, "Gwinnett County’s official educational materials regarding the transit proposal – Your plan, Your vote, Your choice – has an entire section that’s titled, Local Control," explains Pendered.
The county has done more—a lot more in fact—to highlight the local control embedded in November's ballot proposal, as shown by Pendered in the source article.