Friday, October 23, 2009

State control of MARTA? No thanks...

Okay, I'm sure you expected that my reaction to the idea of a state takeover of MARTA would be, "No."  However, I did try to give the idea a chance.  For one thing, I think Rep. Fran Millar's approach is a million times more productive than any other approach I've seen from the state level:
...to compound the problem, we have now been told by Georgia State University that MARTA will probably be short $85 million in sales tax receipts for fiscal 2010 and over the next decade could be short $1.4 billion. In other words, MARTA cannot be financially viable in the long run with only Fulton and DeKalb as its source of primary funding.... 

This is our one chance to get away from a department of highways and have a meaningful department of transportation. With this new MARTA financial data, any reasonable person must conclude that Fulton and DeKalb can no longer carry this burden alone.
I like Republicans at the state house who are interested in actual solutions, as opposed to morons like Jill Chambers.

My problem is less with Atlanta "losing control" of MARTA or anything like that, but rather that I don't think the GDOT is the right place for MARTA to end up.  MARTA needs to be a regional system, which logically suggests a regional management agency.  GDOT is a state agency with a broken power structure, whose transit program is in disarray, with entirely too many connections to rural road builders.  All the reasons why I disliked the state-wide transit funding idea still exist in Millar's scenario.  Anything that lets rural legislators have a say over MARTA won't end well.

I would be more amenable to a truely regional transit agency.  Clayton County is shutting down its C-Tran bus service, one of the heaviest used bus systems in the metro area.  Cobb County has its own bus service, as does Gwinnett.  Seriously, let's go ahead and combine all this and set up a regional transportation agency that is funded with a regional sales tax.  Use the sales tax to fund transit, as well as all the other transportation needs for the metro area.

I have absolutely no problem with the realization that a regional transportation agency would probably lack the focus on Atlanta that you get now with MARTA.  I have no problem with suburban counties sharing the governing power for MARTA, since they'd actually have something to do with the service (unlike Jill Chambers).

1 comment:

  1. i have never understood why neighboring counties thought it would be a good idea to create their own transit agencies that connect to marta, and in clayton county's case contract marta to run their service. if all of the counties just grouped together and funded the whole combined agency together, there would be an insane amount of revenue to build up new bus and rail lines for the entire metro area.

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