Bill would let DeKalb vote on MARTA expansion this year

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A House bill introduced Thursday would give DeKalb County voters a chance to vote on a MARTA expansion as soon as this year.

Senate Bill 251 would allow the county’s voters to decide whether to levy a sales tax of up to .5 percent for MARTA. DeKalb could hold a referendum this year if the Board of Commissioners authorized it by June 30. MARTA would need to submit a list of proposed projects no later than July 31.

The General Assembly also is considering Senate Bill 156, which would allow DeKalb voters to decide whether to adopt a 1-cent sales tax for roads, bridges and other transportation improvements. That bill is scheduled for a vote by the full Senate Monday. If it passes, it would then be considered by the House of Representatives.

County officials have discussed both tax proposals with the DeKalb legislative delegation, though elected officials haven’t reached a consensus on the issues. The DeKalb House delegation meets Monday.

The DeKalb MARTA bill is part of a flurry of mass transit legislation. The House and Senate have already approved their own versions of bills that would create commissions to develop statewide mass transit plans.

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