Maybe he envisions something like a state takeover of MARTA, and then hiring a company to run it, like all the north Fulton cities did with their local governmental services. Again, we have to assume that a private company could do the job cheaper and better - not an entirely unreasonable assumption, but if the car companies and airline industries are any indication, the American transportation industry isn't exactly a shining example of great private management.
Even if a private company did the job cheaper, they still need to get paid - I would be surprised if the government saved any money at the end of the day. This of course also assumes that the government keeps subsidizing MARTA with a sales tax, because otherwise the system doesn't make any money at all and how does the private management firm get paid? Maybe the Ox thinks MARTA will turn a profit if they charged $5 for a ride.
I actually think this suggesting is quite insulting to numerous folks. Listen, I think MARTA could do better in terms of board oversight, etc., but I don't think MARTA is in need of a wholesale overhaul like the DOT, the Fulton County Commission, or Grady Hospital's board is/was. MARTA has been run by nationally recognized figures (Beverly Scott is the chief of the American Public Transporation Association, and we lost Nat Ford to San Fransisco because he did a pretty good job at MARTA). Will a private firm magically find people who have better experience with transit mangement? Does the fact that these folks managed quasi-government organizations inherently mean they are stupid and ineffective? Again, it isn't like this is the Fulton County Comission, where a pack of trained seals could run a better meeting.
Also, MARTA responded to the economic crisis by trimming staff, freezing pay, and cutting services. I'm not sure how a private management firm would have been able to respond any differently - in fact, the private management contracts with the north Fulton cities have proven to be a problem now that tax revenues are down. I can't decide if the GOP's hatred of MARTA is about not believing government can be effective, or if it is about something else. An objective look at the organization, to me, suggests that it is run at about a "B" level. It isn't fantastic, but it does a pretty good job given its level of funding and the sprawling nature of the city.
Honestly, this idea is so stupid, no matter how I try and cut it, that Oxendine gets this year's first "Stupidest Idea of the Year" tag. Frankly, the "privatize the airport" idea was probably deserving, and it made me too angry to even post about it.
I think the base intention behind these sorts of privatization ideas is entirely malicious. That knee-jerk reaction is probably a result of growing up in the city and having a certain level of built-in animosity toward the suburbs. What I hear when someone suggests privatizing MARTA or the airport, I translate that into, "Fuck You." Given the state legislature's treatment of MARTA this year, can you really blame me?