ATLANTA — A new statewide tax on rideshare services, such as Uber and Lyft, would help fund public transit in Georgia under a much-anticipated proposal unveiled Tuesday.

The bill would impose a 50-cent charge on each trip, whether taken through a rideshare or taxi service. The proposal would also put an additional 1 percent sales tax on concession purchases made at the Atlanta and Savannah airports.

It’s unclear right now how much money would be raised for transit under the proposal, since rideshare services are not currently taxed and no historical data is available.

That revenue would go through a new agency called The ATL, which stands for Atlanta-region Transit Link. The agency would serve as the planning and funding agency for a 13-county region. Those counties would also be allowed to go to voters with a 30-year sales tax request to fund transit.

“The overwhelming majority of rideshare happens here in the 13-county metro region,” state Rep. Kevin Tanner, R-Dawsonville, who chairs the Commission on Transit Governance and Funding, said in response to a question about where the revenue from the rideshare tax would be spent.

“Forty-nine percent of the state’s population lives here. So most of it will be spent here,” Tanner added. “But the idea behind it is we have some urban centers around the state that have transit needs so the best that we can, we would like those monies to be appropriated back to those regions.”

House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said it’s time for the state to make a “serious investment” in transit, adding that it’s both an economic and quality of life issue, particularly for Atlanta.

Additionally, the state may also use bond allocations to support transit projects and expansions, Ralston said.

Jill Nolin covers the Georgia Statehouse for CNHI’s newspapers and websites.

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