By a 43-8 count, the state Senate passed the measure that divides the state into 12 regions and will allow voters to decide what road and bridge projects will be funded. Local officials will determine which jobs will appear on the referendums. Approval will cost a 1% increase in the sales tax, and the bill was expected to be signed by Gov. Sonny Perdue.
Georgia’s transportation system, particularly its mass-transit network, has been struggling. However, it is unclear how the additional funding will affect outfits like MARTA. The voter-approved funds cannot be used to pay for operational expenses, but can be used for new projects.
A region can opt out of the sales tax, but will risk losing new state benefits, including some money for road and bridge work. Furthermore, the region must wait two years before being eligible for another regional vote.