Fulton County mayors to say “no” to regional penny sales tax for transportation

By Maria Saporta

The effort to pass a regional transportation sales tax has just become more challenging.

At 10 a.m. press conference this morning (Wednesday), all the mayors in Fulton County with the exception of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will stand on the steps of the Georgia Capitol and announce their opposition to the proposed sales tax.

In a media advisory that I just received, it states that the “Fulton County Mayors from the north to the southern end of the county, have banded together to express their opposition to a proposed one-penny sales tax for transportation that voters in the metro region will have the option of approving under House Bill 277.

The biggest reason for their opposition? Fulton County already is paying a penny sales tax to support MARTA. Their concern is that if the tax passes, Fulton County would be paying two cents for transportation with no assurance from the rest of the region that it would support metro Atlanta’s largest transit system.

As explained in this week’s Maria’s Metro column, HB 277 prohibits any revenue from the new penny sales tax from going to existing MARTA maintenance and operations. It’s the only transit agency in the state under that restriction.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the press conference because I’m on deadline for my column and stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. But I will try to follow this from afar.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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