Update from under the Gold Dome – Crossover Day at the State Capitol

Guest Column from Georgia Rep. Brett Harrell

Harrell explains why he doesn’t support the Marta Bill – “We can do better!”

Surviving Crossover Day
This past Thursday, March 7 was ‘crossover’ day, the day when bills typically must pass one chamber to be considered by the other – though nothing is truly dead at the Capitol until the last moment of the Session.
Highlights of a few bills that may not have made the news include:
  • HB 511 provides an innovative approach to mobility and public transit for rural and urban communities. The bill passed the House 159-11. I am grateful that Chairman Tanner accepted my argument and amendment to remove the new 50-cent per ride fee for ride-share trips. HB 511 contains No New Taxes and relies on appropriating from existing sales tax revenue the portion received from ride-share companies to fund various mobility and transit projects. Innovative pilot projects include ones similar to Gwinnett’s on-demand, app-based service.
    Click the picture to view the presentation of HB 511
    at 1:52:40.  My comments begin at the 2:16:12 mark.
  • HB 493 is another measure Chairman Tanner and I partnered on – the Private Permitting Review and Inspection Act to accelerate plan review and permitting by simplifying the local permitting process and allowing private-sector plan reviews. The measure passed the House 142-20.
  • HB 198 permitting a limited exception to the Certificate of Need (CON) process for expanding and locating new hospitals and medical facilities failed in the House 72-94. I voted YES as I thought the limited exceptions were valuable without harming our existing hospital network. HCA Eastside Hospital in Snellville contacted me in support of the measure.
  • HB 516 is a measure I introduced last year that Rep. Vance Smith took the lead on this year and passed the House 164-4 establishing a Structural Engineer (S.E.) designation for licensed engineers in Georgia. This is important as Georgia firms compete for projects outside our state where S.E. designations already exist.
We can do better – Vote NO on ratifying the MARTA contract
The MARTA Vote * Steve Brown
Click to watch video: The MARTA Vote by Steve Brown
You may read about the major provisions of Gwinnett county’s contract with MARTA here.
I would draw your attention to provisions that stipulate:
  • Gwinnett will make payments to MARTA based on contract and future amendments.
  • Gwinnett is not limited from using other revenues to fund transit.
  • MARTA will assume responsibility for current Gwinnett bus system.
  • The Gwinnett plan, as it may be amended, will serve as the basis for expansion.
  • Gwinnett will pay MARTA 29% of tax proceeds the first six years of the new tax, trued up with the actual costs at the end of the six-year period.
  • Gwinnett may be compensated for real estate the County owns and may be needed to implement the plan, however, MARTA is NOT subject to Gwinnett zoning.
  • MARTA will provide the ‘base‘ level of service matching service to existing members.
  • Gwinnett may purchase from MARTA a higher level of service.
I think we can do so much better providing public transportation alternatives to Gwinnettians. House Bill 930 permits Gwinnett to implement a transit program focused on our needs, tying into the ATL network and achieving all that the MARTA contract would except wasting over $1 billion on 4-miles of heavy rail. Let’s invest those dollars in a manner that will actually serve our entire county with lower cost, flexible solutions that may be delivered in half the time.
Let me hear from you

It has been my great pleasure to serve as your state Representative. Please contact me and share your thoughts and concerns.

My office address in Atlanta:
133 State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
(404) 656-5103
Thanks again for allowing me to serve,

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