Thursday, November 5, 2009

Jill Chambers can suck an egg

I'm a bit late on this news, but MARTA has shown up Jill Chambers in solid fashion.  Chambers requested an audit of MARTA's complicated Lease-in Lease-out (LILO) transactions, and the audit came back saying that MARTA has made $119 million so far on the deals. 

Maria Saporta is right when she says:

This audit review should be enough to silence Chambers once and for all. She has made MARTA and the state jump through time-consuming hoops on her witch hunt for evil and wrongdoing.

And now it’s time for her to stop....

In fact, for the life of me, I don’t even understand why MARTOC exists in this day and age. Remember, the state of Georgia does not have any money in the game.

Unlike all the other major transit agencies in the country, the state shamefully does not contribute to MARTA’s operations, which puts our transit system at a major disadvantage...

Again, no other major transit agency in the country has to deal with this kind of constraint.
I said quite some time ago that while MARTA was not without problems, but that it was fundamentally doing the right things.  In the almost 11 months since I wrote that post, I haven't seen anything to change my opinion of MARTA's managment.

Chambers of course thinks MARTA just got lucky on the LILO deals:
However, she said federal pressure aided transit agencies such as MARTA in escaping fees on the transactions, and the other findings were not a vindication of MARTA leaders' decision-making.

"I’m not sure they knew what they were really voting on," Chambers said, describing the transactions as too complicated for the average person.
So if Jill Chambers can't figure these out,  The bottom line is that MARTA wouldn't need to engage in complicated financial transactions if Chambers and the legislature would let MARTA have access to all of its funds and would get serious about integrating MARTA with a regional transit solution.

I am about to dig into just how LILO transactions work with a 30-page pdf from Yale School of Management.  Hopefully I can do a better job of understanding these transactions than Jill Chambers.

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to know why she's not equally perturbed at all the money that travels to GDOT and is never heard from again. MARTA's operating budget is chump change relatively.

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