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MARTA may stop services on Fridays


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MARTA to face drastic cuts after bill stalls

By ARIEL HART

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Saturday, April 04, 2009

MARTA officials are bracing for drastic service cuts, after the General Assembly failed to pass legislation that would free up the agency’s access to its own money.

Shortly after the Legislative session ended at midnight Friday, MARTA General Manager Beverly Scott sat, exhausted and dejected, with her team of lobbyists.

“It’s Armageddon,” Scott said. “That’s what it is. My board’s going to have some very difficult decisions in front of them.”

Scott said that in order to fill an immediate gap of more than $20 million, her board would have to decide among severe options. One is stopping all MARTA service one day a week, probably Fridays.

A majority of MARTA’s funding comes from a sales tax levied in Fulton and DeKalb counties. With the faltering economy those revenues have tanked.

In Senate Bill 120 MARTA wasn’t asking for new money from the state, though advocates say it will need it.

Instead, the bill would have lifted a state restriction on how MARTA can use money it already gets. MARTA must spend half its revenues on capital expenses, as opposed to operating the system. That means it can’t touch $65 million it has sitting in capital reserves.

The measure passed the Senate, then surfaced in different bills as it got caught up in political wrangling over other transportation funding proposals. The House passed a bill that would have eased the restriction to 40 percent, but to do that House members stripped out a bill that the Senate wanted.

Scott put the failure down to “high politics,” not policy opposition. “It wasn’t about MARTA,” she said.

Transit riders are the ones who will pay first, and then the businesses where they work and shop, she said.

“It’s especially astounding in these economic circumstances,” said Lee Biola, president of Citizens for Progressive Transit. “It will have real personal consequences for people who ride MARTA.”

Scott said the MARTA board would make a final decision in June, and the cuts should be in place by September.

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This is a shame and a travesty. The Georgia legislature ought to be shamed of themselves. How can they let this happen?

Blame the Republicans , they are the ones who voted against Marta being to get what they had needed . We need to find out who the voters were and give them boot them out when they run for re-election !

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Blame the Republicans , they are the ones who voted against Marta being to get what they had needed . We need to find out who the voters were and give them boot them out when they run for re-election !

Two problems with that:

1. Ga is red all day long

2. nobody in the state gives a flip about metro atlanta. Not even the freaking govenor. He lives on west paces ferry. I hate perdue. He is a worthless piece.....

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Perdue wants to avoid special session on MARTA

12:39 pm April 7, 2009, by James Salzer

Gov. Sonny Perdue told reporters that his staff met with MARTA officials Tuesday morning in hopes of coming up with a solution to the transit system’s funding problems.

However, it doesn’t sound like he will go along with MARTA’s call for a special session to pass legislation to help the system.

“Certainly the governor can call a special session, but this is not the first time somebody’s bill has not passed and they’ve run to the governor’s office to ask for a special session,” Perdue said. “We will have to look at a lot of things. Special sessions are something we shy away from. We will do our best not to call a special session.”

The governor mentioned several times that MARTA made no effort to get him involved in passing legislation that would have freed up funding for the system. The bill failed.

“It’s always unfortunate when people who depend on MARTA have their service cut, and I hope they (MARTA) can find a way …. to make it through the end of the year,” the governor said.

Perdue said his transportation staffers and chief financial officer met with MARTA officials this morning “to see if there are other ways to resolve this. We want to make sure they are able to continue their operations.”

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