MARTA: New Economic Forecast Predicts Further Decline In Sales Tax Revenue

ATLANTA — MARTA “stands to lose” hundreds of millions in sales tax revenues over the next decade on top of an already projected $1.2 billion shortfall, according to a new economic analysis from the Georgia State University Economic Forecasting Center, the transit authority.

This forecast shows “the urgent need for a new dedicated and reliable source of transit funding in the state and region,” MARTA said. About a month into the new fiscal year, MARTA is already re-evaluating its options to address a continuing shortfall in FY 2010 revenues, officials said.

“This new report is extremely sobering.  Unfortunately, we’ve continued to see a decline in sales tax revenue since the last forecast six months ago,” said Beverly A. Scott, general manager of MARTA. “We must commit to ensuring a viable transit system in metro Atlanta. This new economic report shows our region’s transit future is in serious jeopardy unless the region and the state take urgent action.”

The new sales tax forecast predicts that MARTA will see an additional $10.8 million drop in sales tax receipts in FY 2010, which will have a serious impact on the operating budget for the current year. The $10.8 million figure is on top of the $74.3 million in sales tax decline that had been previously forecasted in Georgia State University’s last MARTA sales tax revenue forecast report.