Ga. legislature approves pair of MARTA bills

ATLANTA — The Georgia General Assembly has approved a pair of measures related to MARTA’s operations, and the bills await the signature of Gov. Nathan Deal.

House Bill 264 would suspend a section of the MARTA Act of 1965 that prohibits the agency from using more than 50 percent of its annual sales and use tax proceeds for operating costs. Should Deal sign the bill into law, the prohibition would be removed until June 30, 2019.

The measure would also increase the contract amount for which Board approval is required from $100,000 to $200,000, allowing bonds to be sold through negotiation without obtaining a waiver by participating local governments.

A second measure, House Bill 265, staggers the initial terms of office for the MARTA Board of Directors, and MARTA Board members in office on May 31, 2014 will serve until Dec 31, 2014.

“These bills simply provide more efficiency for MARTA,” state Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, said in a statement. “As we continue to move toward an efficient metro Atlanta transit system, the legislature must continue to implement initiatives that assist in the final goal of a worldwide recognized transit system.”

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