In the final hours of the 40-day legislative session, the Georgia General Assembly passed a transportation measure that will dramatically improve transit in metro Atlanta’s most populated areas. On Thursday, March 29th, the state House adopted the conference committee report on House Bill 930 with a vote of 155-19,  and a Senate vote of 48-6.

House Bill 930, sponsored by Transportation Committee Chairmen Kevin Tanner and Brandon Beach, creates the Atlanta Transit Linc (ATL) and  avenues to fund a 13-county regional transit system with local sales tax referenda. House Bill 930 was the product of work executed by the House Commission on Transit Governance Funding, established in House Resolution 848. The ATL board tasked with oversight responsibilities will consist of fourteen members total, including ten selected members from districts by local chairmen of each district, legislative caucus, and mayor selected from a mayoral caucus within each district.

The legislation creates a seamless, reliable form of transportation to the counties currently under GRTA’s jurisdiction. The 13-county service area includes the counties of Cobb, Cherokee, Clayton, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding, and Rockdale. Additionally, the measure allows for a referendum for the enactment of a 30-year local option sales tax levy in .05 cent increments up to 1%.

In anticipation of the bill’s passage, Governor Nathan Deal announced his intent to prioritize $100 million of the state’s bond package for transit, “In keeping up with the demands of a 21st-century economy and workforce, and in agreement with House and Senate leadership, we are allocating $100 million in bonds for transit funding. This investment will go a long way in reforming and addressing our transit system needs. Pending passage of a transportation bill I can sign, this funding will go into effect.”

As transportation is a long-time legislative priority for both the Georgia Chamber and Georgia Transportation Alliance, their legislative efforts in the passage of House Bill 930 include the research and development of policy recommendations for statewide transit and infrastructure, as well as the collaboration with the bill author, sponsors, and transportation committees.

The Georgia Transpiration Alliance is the state’s only organization dedicated solely to identifying and promoting long-term transportation solutions specifically connected to economic development and job creation. Through their affiliation with the Georgia Chamber, the organizations advocate for the development and promotion of public policies to improve the quality of life and business climate. Through this partnership and alliance with the Georgia Department of Transportation, and other key stakeholders in Georgia and in Washington, DC, the Georgia Chamber and Georgia Transportation Alliance increase economic opportunity and maintain the state’s commitment to environmental awareness.

As proponents of multi – modal transportation infrastructure investment, the Georgia Chamber and Georgia Transportation applaud the General Assembly’s bipartisan efforts in successfully passing the state’s largest transit bill in over 40 years. Georgia Transportation Alliance Executive Director, Seth Millican expressed his confidence in the legislation, “Transit equals economic mobility. Transportation and public transportation in particular, are critical components not just to creating jobs, but to getting people to those jobs.”

Georgia Chamber President & CEO, Chris Clark, emphasized the importance of economic competitiveness, “Transportation is not an end to itself, but rather a means to the end of economic development. We commend the leadership of Chairmen Brandon Beach and Kevin Tanner, and look forward building on this historical measure in our continued efforts to keep Georgia the #1 state in which to do business.”

Following the Georgia Legislature’s final approval, House Bill 930 will now be transmitted to the governor to be signed into law.

To learn more about House Bill 930, or to view The Georgia Transportation Alliance’s Seth Millican’s interview with Georgia Public Broadcasting, click here.

 

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