ProtectGeorgia.net
  www.protectgeorgia.net Sunday, July 27, 2014  

Funding Must Be Flexible to Make Transit a Success

You can take action on this alert by reading the information below and following the directions at the bottom.

Issue

Funding needs and sources for roads and public transit are different. Transportation funding must be flexible to support public transit.

Background

Georgia is falling behind in economic competitiveness and has missed out on billions of dollars in public transit funding.

Georgia regions need flexibility to catch up to other states that are building new transit.

Last year, HB 277 and HR 206 passed the House and Senate, but a conference committee was unable to reconcile the differences before the end of the session. Currently, the legislation would give each region of Georgia the tools and flexibility they need for expanded transportation choices.

Governor Perdue proposed a new transportation funding bill this year, but it contained a poison pill provision for transportation options like light rail, commuter rail and streetcars.

Federal transit funds flow only to transit projects that have the flexibility in funds to operate 20 years or more. The Governor's bill restricted funding to 8 years, which was later lengthened to 10 years. We cannot allow this provision to be inserted into HB 277 and HR 206.

One size does not fit all. Any successful transportation funding proposal must allow flexibility for MARTA, a tax levy period of 20 years or more and flexibility in choosing when to hold voter referendums on this funding.

Message To Be Sent To
Your message will be sent to each of the following targets:

Your State Representative
Your State Senator
Message
A sample message appears below, which you may edit before sending.

Keep transportation funding flexible


Dear Representative,

As one of your constituents, I am writing to ask you to expand our transportation choices and support public transit.

Georgia needs to catch up with other states in funding public transportation. As currently written, HB 277 and HR 206 would give regions the flexibility they need to build light rail, commuter rail, streetcars and other transit options. The legislation also allows regions to decide what time frame makes sense for the new transportation funding based on the kind of projects they need in their region.

I am worried that conference committee members could alter this good legislation. They may try to insert a 10 year time limit on new funding. Federal Transit Administration rules require us to show that we can operate new transit for at least 20 years before they will provide matching funds. Many states beating Georgia for rail funds have approved funding for 30 years or more of transit operations.

Help keep us economically competitive by opposing any changes that deny each region the flexibility to decide how long a new transportation tax should last.

Please support allowing the fourth penny of the motor fuel sales tax to be used for transit in addition to roads and bridges.

Also, please vote to support legislation that ensures MARTA has the flexibility in funding it needs to remain viable (SB 120) and gives Clayton County voters the chance to restore transit and join MARTA (HB 1393 and HB 1446).

Sincerely,

Your name and address here


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