The AJC has more here.
Taking to the well for the first time this session, Georgia House Speaker David Ralston in a rousing speech led the House to pass HB 277, a bill for transportation funding by a vote of 141-29. The Senate is still debating it now.
The bill would divide the state into 12 regions. A “roundtable” of local elected officials in each region would draw up a list of projects for the region, and could then submit the list to voters for their approval in a referendum, along with a 1 percent sales tax to fund them. No county could opt out of a region’s tax, but a roundtable could decline to hold a referendum in the region.
There is something for MARTA: a three-year lift of the restriction on how it can spend its money from sales tax revenues. The new tax revenues in the Atlanta region could not be spent on operations and maintenance in the current MARTA system, but it could be spent on operations for new MARTA projects.
Beneath the breakthrough was the reality that the new tax money would not flow until probably 2013. That and the moderate help for mass transit led to some dissent.
Update: The Senate just passed the bill 43-8.