Roswell mayor blasts transit funding proposal

Roswell Mayor Jere Wood says he and 13 other mayors in Fulton and DeKalb counties will oppose the proposed transportation sales tax if the current list of projects is not changed.

In a letter to the regional transportation Roundtable Monday, Wood said the coalition of mayors objects to funding operation and maintenance costs for new transit projects for 10 years. Such funding will reduce the pool of money available to other road and transit improvements and reduce the need to form a regional transit authority, he said.

For more than a year now, a group of mayors in Fulton and DeKalb counties have called for formation of a regional agency to govern area transit. The mayors argue their residents have paid a penny sales tax to fund MARTA for the past 30 years, while other counties have benefited. By paying for maintenance and operation after construction from the tax, other jurisdictions would have less incentive to join a regional transit agency to share the cost of existing service, the Fulton and DeKalb mayors say.

"For more than 30 years, our citizens have paid a one-penny sales tax for regional transit," Wood wrote. "They are now being asked to pay an additional penny while our neighbors are only being asked to pay one penny. Our citizens will not vote for a tax that perpetuates this inequity for another 30 years."