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Atlantic Station, crowds

Love and worry over tax allocation districts

By Guest Columnist CAROLYN BOURDEAUX, director of the Center for State and Local Finance at Georgia State University

As a city of Atlanta taxpayer, I have a “love-worry” relationship with tax allocation districts (TADs): I love some of the projects that Atlanta has used TADs to finance, but I worry about whether we are keeping a close eye on the cumulative impact of this and other economic development finance tools.

Fulton mayors meet

Fulton’s transportation stance nears consensus despite differences among mayors

Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves has been working for months to build consensus among all the mayors in his county on how to move forward with transportation funding.

At Tuesday’s meeting of Fulton’s mayors and county commissioners, the various political leaders moved a step closer to consensus – with the exception of Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle.

Georgia mountain stream

Ga. Water Coalition urges legislators to protect Georgia’s water

By Guest Columnist CHRIS MANGANIELLO, policy director for Georgia River Network

More than 150 conservation advocates from the mountains to the coast are making sure their voices are heard at the Capitol – urging legislators to cast votes for clean water. In the wake of the Flint, Mich. drinking water crisis, nothing could be more important than securing clean water for all Georgians.

MARTA train

Commentary: Time for region to be MARTA smart

Originaly Story on WABE by Maria Saporta

MARTA train

MARTA, which hasn’t had a major expansion plan in decades, would like a 40-year, half-penny sales tax in Fulton and DeKalb counties. (credit Wikipedia)

Here we go again. Another year. Another transportation debate.

This time, Fulton County wants a five-year penny sales tax for transportation.

The idea is gaining steam among the mayors of the various Fulton cities who want new funding — primarily for roads.

The exception is Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who wants funding to expand the city’s streetcar network — especially along the Atlanta BeltLine.

Meanwhile, MARTA, which hasn’t had a major expansion plan in decades, would like a 40-year, half-penny sales tax in Fulton and DeKalb.  It would help expand rail to Alpharetta, the Clifton Corridor, high-capacity transit to South DeKalb and possible investments in the BeltLine.

Both proposals have valid arguments. But both proposals are headed to a head-on collision where everyone could lose. Even Reed says voters are unlikely to pass both taxes.

There are few options to fund transit since the state constitution restricts gas tax revenues to roads and bridges.

Yet year after year, whenever new taxes are passed, roads get funded and transit gets left behind. One official described it as being “stuck on stupid.”

Let’s be MARTA smart for a change.