MARTA Board approves sales tax extension

The MARTA Board of directors approved an amended contract that would extend a penny sales tax through 2057.
The MARTA Board of directors approved an amended contract that would extend a penny sales tax through 2057.

The MARTA Board of Directors Thursday approved a new agreement with four local governments that would extend a local sales tax by 10 years.

The amendment to the agency’s contract with Atlanta and Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties extends the penny sales tax paid by residents of MARTA’s service area through 2057. Under the existing contract, the tax is scheduled to be reduced to a half penny in 2047.

MARTA needs the so-called "15th amendment" to the contract to be able to borrow money to pay for capital expenses like new rail cars and station renovations. The extension would allow MARTA to borrow money for 30 years or longer.

The amendment also accounts for the Atlanta MARTA expansion approved by city voters in 2016. And it incorporates transit plans developed by Fulton and DeKalb that could lead to referendums in coming years.

With the MARTA Board vote, the four local governments now have 60 days to approve the amendment. Three of the four governments must approve it for it to take effect.

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