No ‘Chance’ for transit bill involving Fayette
Legislation that would have created a regional transit authority for metro Atlanta is officially dead, according to state Sen. Ronnie Chance of Tyrone.
Chance, who co-sponsored a bill acting as the floor leader for Gov. Nathan Deal, said the legislation was designed to make sure that MARTA and/or the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority didn’t get all the transit funds from the regional T-SPLOST sales tax, which was voted down two weeks ago.
“We were making sure we were being good stewards” of taxpayer money, Chance said, noting that the lead sponsor of the Senate bill didn’t even bring it up for a hearing in his own committee. The Senate proposal would have bypassed Fayette for inclusion on the RTA because the county doesn’t operate or support any transit initiatives.
A competing bill in the House of Representatives, sponsored by Democrats, would have required all metro counties to participate in the regional transit authority regardless of whether they have transit operations or not.
Chance said the legislation is also technically dead because all proposed bills expire at the end of each two-year term of the legislature, and a new term begins next year, with no special term expected to be called prior to January.
Fayette County Commissioner Steve Brown has been warning that the regional transit proposals are part of a bid by other parties in metro Atlanta to seek funding from Fayette County for metro transit. He has frequently cited shortfalls in the MARTA budget in particular and alleged that regional leaders want Fayette County to help pay for transit.
Chance flatly rebuked that concept.
“Commissioner Brown thinks there’s a conspiracy behind every action, and there is not,” Chance said.