Sometimes this is good advice. This is one of the times when it isn’t:
Gwinnett County has executed a contract for the provision of transit services, dated as of August 2, 2018. Shall this contract be approved? YES __ NO __
That’s it; that’s the entire question on the ballot.
There are, of course, reasons for that:
Ballot measures in Georgia and across the country have a history of being curiously composed or outright misleading and, considered in that context, Gwinnett’s question is pretty straightforward. But it makes no direct mention that the pending contract is with MARTA, the transit agency with a history of rejection by suburban residents. Or that it involves residents paying an additional sales tax until 2057. Or what those tax revenues will go toward, exactly.
All right, guys, give it to me straight:
A yes vote would be a vote in support of ratifying Gwinnett’s pending transit service contract with MARTA, allowing it to take over Gwinnett’s current transit services and greatly expand them — including a possible rail extension into the Norcross area.
A yes vote would also trigger a new 1 percent sales tax to pay for such projects. Purchases in Gwinnett are currently subject to 6 percent sales tax.
The new countywide sales tax would remain in effect until 2057 and garner billions of dollars. Collected funds would be remitted to Gwinnett County, which would then write checks to MARTA for projects and operations.
Three other counties — Fulton, Clayton and DeKalb — pay a 1-percent sales tax to support MARTA. (In the City of Atlanta, mostly in Fulton County, it’s 1.5 percent.)