State lawmakers gave Cobb County until 2021 to devise a special transit district where voters could decide to join MARTA.

Cobb County may get a two-year extension on MARTA vote

Cobb County may get two more years to decide whether it wants to create a special transit district where votes could join MARTA.

Just before midnight Tuesday, the state House of Representatives passed a bill that gives Cobb County until 2021 to devise the boundaries of a special transit district where voters could decide to join MARTA. But the Senate would need to approve the bill next year for the county to get the extension.

Last year, lawmakers passed legislation that allows 13 metro Atlanta counties to raise money for transit expansion. It included a provision that allows Cobb to create a special transit district for parts of the county that want it – without requiring other parts of the county to pay the tax or receive the service.

That provision is set to expire this year. But Cobb officials don’t want to hold a transit referendum until after the county’s next regular SPLOST referendum in 2020.

Cobb officials had asked for a transit referendum extension until 2022. But Senate Bill 365 – which passed the House Tuesday – would give the county only until 2021.

Meanwhile, the House also killed a provision that would have prevented Gwinnett County from holding another MARTA referendum until 2026.

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