Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Will this transportation funding finally pass?

 Lost amid the election coverage is a new transportation plan being floated by leaders at the General Assembly.
The measure would be a two-part bill aimed at breaking a logjam that has kept transportation funding bottled up in the legislature for the last three years, even as business leaders clamored for action to relieve Atlanta’s worsening traffic congestion...
The first part of the legislation, targeted primarily at metro Atlanta, would allow counties to band together and float regional 1-cent sales tax proposals to pay for highway and transit projects in their communities. Each referendum would give voters a list of projects to be funded with the tax revenue.

Keen said the second piece of the package would establish a mechanism for dedicating a portion of future revenue growth in Georgia to transportation improvements. The proposal, which would be statewide in scope, would be aimed at swaying lawmakers around the state to support the metro-Atlanta component of the bill.
I am not sure how I feel about the idea of including specific projects in a referendum.  When the state was doing it last year, I felt like it was a lot like pork, and it caused unnecessary panic when bad ideas ended up in the list.  When it comes to local entities passing the legislation, I can see how it helps voters know what their money will be going for - presumably these individual referendum would get plenty of debate in county commission hearings, etc.  But the prospect of the Fulton County Commission trying to hash out a funding plan for local transit projects with Gwinnett and Cobb sounds like a horrible, horrible idea.

As always, it depends on what the actual bills have to say, and I need to know more before I can have a fully informed opinion. 

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