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Transportation Tax Has Atlanta-Area Politicians Drawing Lines in the Sand

A half-cent sales tax measure, potentially headed to the ballot in November 2016, has mayors and city councils in metropolitan Atlanta seeking alliances and racing to establish funding priorities.
November 21, 2015, 11am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Jim Galloway reports that the suburban city of Johns Creek, located outside Atlanta, has acted in strong opposition to plans that would expand a MARTA rail line into north Fulton County. Earlier this week, according to Galloway, the Johns Creek City Council "with little warning and no public comment…unanimously passed a resolution opposing the expansion of a MARTA rail line…"

According to Galloway, the council's actions came in response to the mayors of Roswell and Sandy Spring, who have already begun to build an alliance in seeking funding for the rail line.

But there's the rub: the transit line would require funding from an as-yet unapproved half-cent sales tax—potentially scheduled for the ballot until November 2016. In an earlier article, Galloway notes the beginnings of the conversation about how to spend such a windfall, should voters approve the new tax. At a recent meeting of local political leadership, however, "all nine mayors present said they wanted the entire amount – several hundred million dollars raised over five years – spent on roads and bridges."

In effect, Galloway's reporting is tracking the beginnings of a political debate that will pit two sides in opposition to each other about how to invest funding for the future mobility of the Atlanta region.

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, November 19, 2015 in Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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