Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal yesterday signed into law a bill that allows the city of Atlanta to pursue a half-cent sales tax to expand the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority‘s (MARTA) system.
Under the law, the city this fall can hold a ballot referendum that allows residents to vote on the sales tax measure, MARTA officials said in a press release.
The tax would generate an estimated $2.5 billion over the next 40 years for rail and bus projects within Atlanta city limits. The expansion would likely include a light-rail system in Atlanta’s Beltline area, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The new law marks a “great first step forward in delivering the kind of transit improvements that people have been telling us they’ve wanted to see for a very long time,” said MARTA General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Keith Parker.
The legislation also leaves room to negotiate with Fulton County for an additional quarter-cent sales tax for further expansion in that jurisdiction.
MARTA now will work with city officials to draft a proposed list of projects that must be approved by the Atlanta City Council.
Georgia Northeastern Railroad Co. Inc. (GNRR) is being acquired by SteelRiver Infrastructure Fund North America LP and two associated investment firms, according to a notice filed with the Federal Register.
GNRR operates about 106 miles of railroad between Marietta and Mineral Bluff, Ga. In addition to SteelRiver, the other applicants for the acquisition are SteelRiver Devco Holdings LLC (Devco) and SteelRiver Devco Holdings LLC.
The acquisition would include GNRR and its subsidiary, Blue Ridge Scenic Excursions. The firms intend to acquire the railroad on or after Nov. 15. Additional financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed in the notice.
GNRR owns about 48 miles and leases about 32.74 miles from CSX Transportation. The remaining miles belong to the Georgia Department of Transportation, including industrial, spur and other track, according to the federal notice.
SRTH is owned by Devco, which is owned by SteelRiver. SteelRiver is owned by a diverse group of U.S. and foreign pension funds, insurance companies and other investors. It is associated with several other entities, including PRD Midco LLC, which controls Patriot Rail Co. LLC, which controls 13 Class III railroads.