Clayton County public transportation now in voters' hands - CBS46 News

Clayton County public transportation now in voters' hands

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A last-minute deal was reached between Clayton County Commissioners and MARTA, to provide public transportation to its nearly 260,000 residents.

Tuesday night, Clayton County Commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of a half-cent sales tax, but the MARTA Board rejected the contract. Other counties partnered with MARTA are on a long-term 1-cent sales tax contract.

The MARTA Board immediately passed a counter offer where half of the 1-cent sales tax would be set aside in escrow to be used to plan, design, and build a high capacity transit option.

That kicked the ball back into the Clayton County Commissioners' court, and they did not have much time to decide what to do.

Working on the belief the commissioners and the MARTA board needed to have a contract done no later than 120 days before the November elections, the counter-offer was essentially a final offer.

Missing one member, the commissioners met Saturday morning and after a brief discussion of the contract, and a potential alternative contract, the board voted to accept MARTA'S counter-offer and apply the full 1-cent.

In November, residents in Clayton County will have the final say, but many are confident that vote is just a formality.

"I would predict, if I was a betting man, that this measure passes in November by 70-80 percent," said Jeffrey Turner, Clayton County Commission Chairman.

If the deafening cheers that erupted when the vote results were announced are any indication, he could be right.

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