A panel charged with developing long-term solutions for East Baton Rouge Parish transportation will recommend pursuing both a sales tax and property tax next fall, after legislation can be pursued next summer to create a special taxing district for the parish bus system.
For the past two months, the 17-member Blue Ribbon Commission, selected by the faith-based community group Together Baton Rouge and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, has researched ways to improve the Capital Area Transit System to make it both usable for riders of need and desirable for ?riders of choice? who already have transportation.
Among the recommendations finalized at the Thursday meeting is pursuing legislation to create a Capital Area Transit District that would include the majority of the parish. It would exclude the cities of Central and Zachary and some areas in the southeast part of the parish.
The district would include all areas within the Baton Rouge city limits and other areas currently and expected to be served by CATS.
Local sales taxes are statutorily capped, and the parish has reached its limit. But having a special taxing district could allow CATS to levy a sales tax.
Last month, the group said they expected to pursue the legislative changes in the current session in order to bring the tax to a vote this fall.
But the group has since decided to wait until 2012 .
“There just isn’t time in the current year,” said commission member Meg Mahoney.