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04 January 2010

Levitas Legislation Lets Local Communities Decide MARTA

DeKalb County state Representative Kevin Levitas (D - Atlanta) has offered Clayton County a lifeline of sorts to save public transit within its borders.

House Bill 900, which was first publicized by Creative Loafing's Thomas Wheatley, features a provision that allows Clayton County's board of commissioners to place on the ballot a referendum that would bring MARTA to their community [Wheatley, Thomas (2009-12-30). Rep. Levitas wants smaller MARTA board, ponders state takeover. Fresh Loaf. Retrieved on 2010-1-4.].

Here's the meat and potatoes of the bill:

The local governing body bodies of Clayton, Cobb, and Gwinnett County Counties may, any other provision of this Act to the contrary notwithstanding, negotiate, enter into, and submit to the qualified voters of Cobb County their respective counties the question of approval of a rapid transit contract between Cobb County the county submitting the question and the Authority, all in accordance with the provisions of Section 24 of this Act.

Essentially what the aforementioned section means is that if H.B.900 is passed, then it would no longer take an act of the legislature to submit a MARTA referendum to the voters. The Clayton, Cobb and Gwinnett boards of commissioners could decide to authorize such a vote.

It's a good idea.

This bill allows local governments to have local control over local issues. Let's hope this bill passes.