MARTA’s Board of Directors held firm Wednesday morning when they rejected Clayton County’s offer of a half-penny sales tax in order to become part of the regional transit system; MARTA officials have told Clayton County that a one cent sales tax would cover the cost of extended bus and rail services into Clayton County and that they won’t accept any less. MARTA has attempted to meet Clayton County half way by promising that one half of the revenues generated from the one cent sales tax would be placed into an escrow account to be used solely for Clayton County projects – something MARTA has never offered Fulton, DeKalb, or the City of Atlanta. Despite the offer, Clayton County Commissioners voted 3-2 on Tuesday evening, just a few hours before the MARTA rebuttal, to only offer a half-penny sales tax increase. Many Clayton County residents are outraged by the commissioners’ decision, saying that MARTA has done a lot to meet the county half way and that adding MARTA service to the county is essential to the increased well-being of the residents.
The three commissioners who voted again the full penny sales tax decided that increasing the sales tax to 8 cents would just be too great of a burden for Clayton County residents to carry, and that the increase would ultimately have a negative economic impact on the county. MARTA cited several reasons for holding firm to the one cent tax. One reason MARTA officials turned down Clayton’s offer is because all other counties and communities involved with MARTA have been paying a one cent sales tax for decades, and they might not appreciate the fact that Clayton would be added at a “discount.” MARTA closed it’s meeting on Wednesday by passing a second resolution that said MARTA would incorporate service in Clayton County if and only if a full one cent tax is raised to support the system expansion.Share