Gov. Sonny Perdue said Wednesday he was pleased that the Atlanta Regional Commission and MARTA have worked out a deal that gets the beleaguered transit system $25 million in federal funding to continue operations.
Through the deal with ARC, MARTA would receive the money, which is part of the federal stimulus package approved in Congress, and MARTA would pay for projects useful to the ARC counties with money the state says can be used only for projects, not operations. MARTA has $65 million in capital reserves.
The deal still faces some legal approvals, and might require the governor’s official OK, but Perdue said Wednesday he is all for it.
“It’s a good decision, a positive decision,” Perdue said at a Capitol news conference after an unrelated bill signing. “This is a good example by both entities of working together.”
MARTA would still likely face serve reductions under the plan, but not nearly as severe as the ones feared before the deal.
MARTA depends on a sales tax levied in Fulton and DeKalb counties for more than half its revenues. As the economy contracted, so did that income, leaving MARTA with a $24 million shortfall for the next fiscal year, and a $40 million gap projected for the year after that.
An apparent solution was left hanging in the legislative session that adjourned month.