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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

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.



  1. tom watson September 15, 2010 9:54 am

    Cause lord knows NF can’t spare a penny. Geez, can’t they find a better way to vex people? Say, tollgates for kayaks on the Hooch?

    And you rec’d the press release 90 mins before the thing? Who’s doing PR for them?!

    Oh well; they’ll get outvoted by the rest of Fulton on 277.Report

  2. Mike September 15, 2010 12:18 pm

    Tom, the way I read this is that it is the entire county with the exception of the city of Atlanta. You can’t just single out NF on this one. Personally, I live in Fulton and am willing to pay the extra ‘martyr’ penny to do what’s right for the region. However, the mayors have a responsibility to their entire constituency and they are making the right stand here. The only ways around this are to amend HB277 (not gonna happen) or to dismantle MARTA (we shall see). Blame the appropriate party here. The Georgia General Assembly. I believe HB277 was drafted to do exactly this. Pit, Fulton and Dekalb leadership against MARTA in a battle for regional transit.Report

  3. Mark September 15, 2010 12:43 pm

    “Cause lord knows NF can’t spare a penny”

    Yes, because people only spend $1 on consumption…ever. “Just a penny,” HA! your logic is laughableReport

  4. Mike September 15, 2010 4:23 pm

    I just read an article in the AJC that the Fulton and Dekalb Mayor’s support an extra penny AS LONG AS Cobb, Gwinnett, and Clayton support the one cent sales tax and support creating a true regional transit system. They seem willing to compromise if these fools in Cobb, Gwinnett, and Clayton get their act together.Report

  5. Engineer September 16, 2010 7:55 am

    “Oh well; they’ll get outvoted by the rest of Fulton on 277.”

    And what if a project list never even reaches the ballot?Report

  6. jal September 16, 2010 8:18 am

    Very misleading article, as the Fulton County Mayors Association very much supports the regional transportation sales tax, they just want the other counites to share in the mass transit costs. See AJC for complete and accurate story.Report

  7. Happenstance September 16, 2010 1:11 pm

    Mayor Reed has a comprehensive plan that will cause the other counties and cities to embrace a regional transit system. The details will be release after the November election. So folks, don’t fret… The city of Atlanta will finally get a regional system we can all be PROUD of come 2012.Report

  8. CT September 17, 2010 8:43 am

    Well how, exactly, do the mayors expect to improve our infrastructure? I moved to Atlanta about a year ago and have almost lost my truck in some of the pot holes and I have a mid size SUV. I have also been told that DOT cant fix fences that are falling into the road way on the Northeast Expressway, putting drivers in danger. No one is going to miss a penny and we DESPERATELY need help. Atlanta has a form of public transit but the penny that is going to MARTA isn’t doing anything. For a city this size we should have a more developed subway system and all of the interstates should be connected (IE 400). I also think that all metro Atlanta counties and cities should pitch in, their citizens use our roads as well. WAKE up people we need help and either were going to pay for it today or were going to pay for it tomorrow but we really cant wait.Report

  9. Smell the Coffee September 17, 2010 10:54 am

    We need to finish the orginal MARTA plan as a first step. Contrary to systems started in SF (BART) and DC (Metro) at much the same time the Atlanta system was hyjacked by special interests – first in the suburbs now in the urban counties. We need to follow-up HB 277 legislation with technical changes in the next session – so let’s consider a bill that creates a successor transit agency to “MARTA” with the clear mandate to complete the system that was originally planned – with appropriate dedicated funding for construction, maintenance, and operations.Report


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