Setzler, who chairs the Cobb Legislative Delegation, said he and state Reps. Rich Golick (R-Smyrna) and Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) have filed House Resolution 1350 and the enabling legislation, HB 938, which would:
* Eliminate the TIA referendum set for July 31;
* Ask voters to amend the state constitution in November to allow for a regional transportation mechanism, thereby solving the question of whether the TIA is constitutional or not;
* Allow counties to band together in whatever combination they want through intergovernmental agreements and call for a transportation referendum;
* Allow counties to opt in to the proposed tax once their county commissions have ratified a transportation project list;
* Call for a July 2014 transportation referendum;
* Give counties the option to levy a fraction of a penny for the 10-year tax;
* Require the county or counties who are sponsoring a fixed transit system, such as light rail, to agree to pay for the ongoing operations of that transit system after the 10-year tax.
Setzler said he and other lawmakers have questioned the legality of the tax for years.
“I believe the TIA in its current structure is not constitutional under the Georgia constitution,” Setzler said, adding that there was broad consensus among General Assembly members in 2008 and 2009 a constitutional amendment had to be approved to address the transportation funding regionally. But such an amendment was never passed.
“Secondly, I believe any long-term regional solution needs to have an opt-in process,” he said. “(The counties) form the regions themselves, and arbitrary regions are not established by the General Assembly, and most importantly that it gives counties the power of self-determination. That’s paramount.”
The project list itself is also flawed, he said.
“It has transit projects for which there is no long-term funding stream, does not address traffic relief … and it provides a substantial subsidy of the existing MARTA system, which was specifically prohibited in the TIA law,” Setzler said.
By postponing the vote for two years to eliminate these flaws, metro Atlanta can see real traffic relief, he said.
Setzler said the proposal should not come as a surprise to lawmakers.
“Proposals like this have been talked about for some time at the Capitol,” he said. “This is very similar to the plan proposed by the state Senate in 2009, which received overwhelming support though the state senate. This concept is not a new one at the Capitol, but one that I think is essential if we’re really going to deliver traffic relief.”
As to whether Gov. Deal would consider Setzler’s proposal, his spokesman, Brian Robinson, said Deal’s policy is not to comment on pending legislation.