With all due apologies to Nancy Pelosi, the state Legislature of Georgia late Thursday night passed a historic bill aimed at expanding commuter rail throughout metro Atlanta.
Now we’ve just got to figure out what is in House Bill 930. A brief and completely inadequate description:
— It allows for 10 districts to be created from 13 counties and referendums to be held to enact a 30-year local option sales tax of up to 1 percent.
— An “ATL” board would be created, consisting of 15 members, including 10 elected from those districts.
— That board will fall administratively under the Georgia Regional Transit Authority, but last-minute negotiations diminished the next governor’s authority over the body – a concession by the state Senate.
— The bill would permit Gwinnett County to join MARTA outright by referendum.
— A slower, more Byzantine system would allow Cobb County to approve commuter rail, and contract with MARTA.
Though he, too, is still poring through the document, Robbie Ashe, the chairman of the MARTA board, gave the legislation a passing grade: “We, MARTA, we the