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Ramsey: Transportation, transit, taxes on table at General Assembly
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There are three words Georgia State Senator Ronald Ramsey wants people of Rockdale to remember for the coming year: transportation, transit and taxes.

Georgia's roads and bridges infrastructure needs to be improved and there's a continuing effort by the state to take over the MARTA transit system in order to expand it to other counties in the metro-Atlanta area.

The only way to raise enough money to achieve either of these tasks is with a tax increase, Ramsey said to the Conyers Rotary Club Thursday afternoon.

"It's going to happen," he said.

Ramsey couldn't speak specifically on how significant the tax increase will be.

"I don't know what the study committee results are going to be, but the early indication (is) that in order to fund these initiatives it's going to require some kind of tax increase," he said. "We haven't seen what that is just yet. We should know within the month."

The state needs about $1.1 billion dollars to improve its infrastructure, and because of the Great Recession, the funds haven't been there, said Ramsey.

In regards to transit, Ramsey says that that's an important component to having a flourishing community. He would love to see a rail system that travels down I-20.

"For those of you that need to use I-20 in the morning to try to traverse through Rockdale and DeKalb (Counties) to get to Atlanta, you what the gridlock is like," Ramsey said. "Of course, with an industry like Baxter coming on out into Newton County and our ability to attract other industry, you have to be able to move people. You have to be able to get workforces to and from work and to our airport and back."

The plan the state is looking at is taking over the MARTA system, which only travels to areas in Fulton and DeKalb counties because they're the only counties that fund it. The City of Atlanta also contributes money to the MARTA system.

Ramsey says he's hopes that next year more progress will be made in this area and the state works to put together a statewide transportation plan.

"We lose millions of dollars annually, simply because the state does not have a transportation plan," he said.

Georgia's annually budget for fiscal year 2015 is about $20.8 billion. Of that, $856 million will be spent on transportation.