Mass transit bills advancing in General Assembly

Two bills would form commissions to plot a blueprint for Georgia’s mass-transit future.

Two bills would form commissions to plot a blueprint for Georgia’s mass-transit future.

Competing plans to develop a blueprint for mass transit in Georgia are advancing in the General Assembly.

On Thursday the Senate Transportation Committee approved Senate Bill 6, which would create the Georgia Regional Transit Council. Meanwhile, the House Transportation Committee held a hearing on House Bill 160, which would create the Georgia Commission on Transit Governance and Funding. The House committee expects to vote on the bill next week.

Both groups would study Georgia's mass transit needs and recommend specific long-term plans. Those plans would include how to govern and pay for a mass transit expansion in the Peach State.

There are significant differences in the bills, including the compositions of the proposed boards. Perhaps the most significant difference: when they would report their findings.

The House bill would require a report by the end of this year, making action by the General Assembly possible next year – before the next statewide General Election. The Senate bill's report would not be due until at least December 2018, and perhaps December 2019.