State Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Roswell, has filed a substitute to a bill that would let voters in DeKalb and Fulton decide whether to pay an additional half-percent sales tax for significant MARTA expansion.
The new bill filed Wednesday afternoon, SB 330, effectively replaces SB 313, which Beach filed on Monday. The two versions are nearly identical, Beach said. The only real change is some added language that requires development around new MARTA stations to be subject to local zoning requirements.
The main reason for filing the new bill was to correct what Beach said was an error in the committee assignment. The former bill had been assigned to the State and Local Government Operations Committee. As AJC columnist Jim Galloway pointed out earlier this week, that committee is chaired by Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, who has been a vocal opponent of MARTA rail expansion in North Fulton. Transit supporters privately worried that it would not get a vote in that committee.
Beach said he expects the new bill will have a first read tomorrow, and then be assigned to the Transportation Committee. Beach said that's where the bill always belonged.
"We definitely want to move it forward," Beach said.
"It’s a transportation bill, I’ve been here four years, and every bill we’ve done related to MARTA is assigned to transportation (committee)," he added.
To read more about MARTA's expansion plan and how it's faring in the General Assembly, see a list of story links below:
MARTA expansion bill faces tough climb: http://commuting.blog.ajc.com/2016/02/01/marta-expansion-bill-faces-tough-climb/
MARTA Chief presses for Atlanta transit expansion: http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/marta-chief-presses-case-for-state-support-to-expa/npzRY/
MARTA expansion: Will Legislature go for half-cent hike? http://www.myajc.com/news/news/local/legislators-pondering-a-marta-expansion-referendum/npK4H/