Local

New Taxes, Fees Would Create State Funding For Regional Public Transit

Rep. Kevin Tanner, R-Dawnsonville, said public transit around metro Atlanta needs to improve in order to continue attracting businesses
Credit David Goldman / Associated Press

Georgia lawmakers introduced a bill Tuesday that would use state funding to expand public transit around metro Atlanta.

State funds for a region-wide public transit system would come from two sources. One being a new, 1 percent sales tax on goods and services at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Savannah’s International Airport and a 50-cent fee on each ride in a taxi, Uber or Lyft.

Rep. Kevin Tanner, R-Dawnsonville, helped write the bill. He said it would let the 13 counties in the metro Atlanta region create their own 30-year special purpose sales taxes for transit.

He said that should help get the counties on board.

“One of the biggest concerns we heard was the money’s going to be used somewhere else,” Tanner said. “This money would be used locally so then the local board of commissioners would have to agree on the front end of where that money’s going to be utilized.”

The bill would also create a single governing body to handle planning. It would work with counties to decide how the state and local funding is spent.

Tanner said public transit around metro Atlanta needs to improve in order to continue attracting businesses.

“We cannot continue to grow in this region when we have companies telling us that they will not locate in an area that does not have mobility services offered to their employees,” he said.

Tanner said they must appeal to a new generation of employees looking for ways to get to work without needing a car.

The region wide transit system would be called “The ATL.”