This week the Senate Appropriations Committee cut about $329,000 from the ATL’s budget request for the remainder of the 2019 fiscal year. The full Senate approved the amended 2019 state budget Thursday.
Sen. Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, who chairs the appropriations transportation subcommittee, said the cut was not directly tied to the agency's spending on the new boardroom. Instead, he said senators believe the agency has enough money to make it to the end of the fiscal year.
But when asked about the boardroom, he said state agencies need to “squeeze their dollars.”
Tomlinson said he will continue to work with the House and Senate as they finalize the 2019 and 2020 budgets.
The General Assembly created the ATL Board last year as part of a bill that could pave the way for transit expansion in 13 metro Atlanta counties. The board is responsible for transit planning and finance in the region, and one of its first tasks will be to create a regional transit plan.
The agency’s first year of operations was supported by nearly $2 million in emergency funds from then-Gov. Nathan Deal’s office. New Gov. Brian Kemp’s amended fiscal year 2019 budget included an additional $491,361 for the ATL Board. That money would pay for transit planning positions and related costs.
The House of Representatives approved that funding request. The Senate reduced it to $162,025.
“They haven’t even spent the money they have, and they’re already asking for more,” Gooch said.
The House and Senate must now negotiate a final 2019 amended budget.