Bill restores DOT intermodal division; but helping MARTA – not so fast

A House committee that passed legislation to help MARTA earlier this week has since thought the better of it.  On Tuesday, while considering a bill (SB 520) to raise the state Department of Transportation’s program for mass transit and non-road projects to division status, it approved a suggestion by Rep. Pat Gardner (D-Atlanta) to add language to the bill to help MARTA.  The language would have permanently lifted a restriction on how MARTA spends its sales tax revenues. It would also have removed members from the MARTA board who represent the state, which doesn’t pay into MARTA operations, and counties that don’t either.  Fulton, Dekalb and the city of Atlanta, which pay a 1 percent sales tax to operate MARTA, would appoint board members.

That version passed the committee but didn’t get far.  It was sent back, and on Wednesday they stripped out the MARTA language. The bill went back to restoring DOT’s intermodal office to division status, and was passed again.  The division was apparently unwittingly demoted last year in a new law reorganizing the state’s governance.

15 comments Add your comment

Stephen Smith

April 15th, 2010
12:53 pm

Instead of passing tax BREAKS when our state needs MORE money, our public servants STILL REFUSE to see that investing in transit will INCREASE the flow of people – and their money – into metro Atlanta and Georgia. Every world-class city has trains or subways that SERVE people’s needs, and every successful transit system in this country is heavily supported by public funds. Until political leadership – influenced by business and economic leaders – INCREASES ITS SUPPORT of MARTA; including the expansion into Cobb, Gwinnet, DeKalb, and Clayton counties, the Super Bowl will NEVER come to Atlanta.


April 15th, 2010
12:59 pm

No wonder Atlanta does not get along with the state. Is there any explanation for removing the MARTA language? I mean other than racism, arrogance, and blatant incompetence.

professional skeptic

April 15th, 2010
1:09 pm

I knew the MARTA language sounded too good to be true.

Reasonable, perhaps, everywhere else on the planet, but too good to be true in Georgia.

[...] Removed from SB 520 Published April 15, 2010 Uncategorized Leave a Comment The House Transportation Committee has taken back the language it inserted to help MARTA in SB 520. The committee took the bill back and removed the language to [...]


April 15th, 2010
1:21 pm

somebody under the gold dome has got to step up with some common sense and make mass transit a priority if we are going to move into the 1980s / never going to happen / Atlanta a great third class city, in a third class state


April 15th, 2010
1:26 pm

This current legislature is the most backwards and ineffective group of politicians I have ever witnessed.

Trent Hastings

April 15th, 2010
1:32 pm

Erik Steavens is a unprofessional, lying, cheating, stealing crook. Unfortunately, he is the head of the Intermodal Division. No one in the industry trusts or respects him. Call your local representative and the transportation commission members to get him removed.


April 15th, 2010
1:35 pm

PDiddy – It seems like every year we keep saying that. Governance in this state is deeply flawed. Clearly, there are too many cooks in the kitchen, because nothing substantive ever happens on vital issues (transportation, water, etc.) We should follow Puerto Rico’s example and move to eliminate some of the seats in the House/Senate. If this is the best we can do, we don’t need them all. Send them home…


April 15th, 2010
1:44 pm

Again a chance for the state to move forward by supporting transit and because the hill billies in these counties outside the metro area don’t want to support MARTA we are right back in the same place. What is the point of the transit division if the ONE transit system that really matters gets no assistance. MARTA has been held up from being a truly great system because of racism of the state and really areas other than Fulton and Dekalb counties. Can you imagine having the current heavy rail system in the big 5 counties and commuter rail and express buses bring people into the city from the other couties? Having a network of 200 or more local routes connecting the area to rail? Buses every 10 to 15 minutes and trains every 5 to 7 mintues? That could all be possible if the rest of the metro area supports the system and even the state put in a little support. But yet again the same people that benefit from the metro area of Atlanta and MARTA are the same people trying to bring it down because they don’t realize it.


April 15th, 2010
1:44 pm

Kudos to Pat Gardner for the effort – I was under the assumption that Atlanta reps weren’t even allowed in the building.


April 15th, 2010
2:33 pm

Bryan, they don’t care if the state grows or dies, they only care about being reelected so they can get all the perks of being in office.

Having a broken MARTA means being able to use it over and over again as a campaign plank. In most of the state telling the voters that you kicked MARTA around is a good reelection strategy. If MARTA is successful, they’ll have to find some other softball to swing at.


April 15th, 2010
3:11 pm

Who is on this committee that striped the MARTA Language…THEY need to be removed!!!


April 19th, 2010
7:34 am

the problem comes in the way the districts are drawn… while more than half the people in GA live in metro atlanta, more than half the legislators are from rural districts… this prvents the urban legislators from doing anything as the rural’s block it as a waste of their money, complaining about how much of their taxes go to atlanta improvements, when the truth is that atlanta only gets about 80% of what they pay in taxes back in services, the other 20% help pay for the rural communities projects/services… hopefully after the census these lines get redrawn correctly and the metro area gets the voice it is supposed to have

[...] look at the legislation. And the provisions that would help MARTA avoid drastic service cuts? They were snipped. Call it a simple concern over legislative language, call it state lawmakers’ favorite [...]


April 21st, 2010
3:05 pm

Which House Committee was that, and who are the members?