Ga. lawmakers agree to transportation overhaul

ATLANTA - Georgia lawmakers struck a deal over a transportation overhaul that would give state politicians vast control over infrastructure dollars. But plans for a new one-cent sales tax to fund hundreds of road projects died.

House leaders back a statewide sales tax, while the Senate supports a tax that could be imposed regionally.

Failure to reach a compromise means problems for MARTA.

The transportation funding bill had been linked to a measure that would allow the Atlanta transit agency to dip into its reserves to meet a budget shortfall. MARTA officials have warned they may have to cut services to six days a week without the change. MARTA supporters have warned that could be disastrous for workers who depend on the rail line and for tourism in the city.

Separately, a transportation makeover, which passed the Senate 33-22, comes after heavy lobbying from Republican leaders who argued that granting the governor and lawmakers new powers over transportation funding would help transform a dysfunctional bureaucracy into one that is more accountable to voters.

But it didn't go as far as Gov. Sonny Perdue's original proposal, which would have replaced the 13-person state transportation board elected by legislators with a new agency appointed by Georgia's most powerful politicians.