Transportation sales tax could jeopardize transit

There's a much-ballyhooed bill out there that would enable counties in the metro area to establish a regionwide 1-percent sales tax. The tax would be used for transportation projects.It sounds like a good idea, and has received notable backing from the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.

But at the very least, if the bill's language isn't changed before it moves it could prove more trouble than it's worth.

Rep. Jill Chambers, R-Atlanta, chair of the MARTOC Committee, is worried that the bill as currently written would allow the counties to invest in transportation projects that might jeopardize Georgia's access to precious federal transportation dollars.

The state must maintain a mix of mass-transportation measures in order to get the federal money. The bill could be a disastrous end run around rail and spell doom for Georgia's fragile record of air-emissions compliance.

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