House leaders were none too thrilled with MARTA’s level of cooperation as they tried to pass the transportation funding bill, HB 277, last week. On top of that, some representatives from north Fulton County said they were dismayed that north Fulton mayors didn’t get a certain voice on the MARTA board.
Now, MARTA officials may be feeling some of that heat, as lawmakers draw up legislation that would re-make the MARTA board – again.
House Speaker pro Tempore Jan Jones said that the legislation (an amendment to SB 22) would reduce the current MARTA board from 18 to 13 voting members, with three appointed by the state. The governor, lieutenant governor and speaker would each appoint one voting member to make up that three. In addition, the Department of Transportation commissioner and the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority director would have non-voting seats.
Jones said it was to ensure balance on the board and make sure Fulton and DeKalb taxpayers were protected.
According to a copy of the amendment, this is how the 13 voting seats would break down:
State – 3
City of Atlanta – 3
DeKalb County – 4 (at least 1 from north DeKalb, at least 1 from south DeKalb)
Fulton County – 3 (1 from south Fulton, 2 from north Fulton)
Jones pointed out that nearly all of Fulton County’s population lives in municipalities, so it only made sense for mayors to make the appointments. She also said it was about protecting taxpayers.
In an interview last week, MARTA CEO Beverly Scott said MARTA did not oppose HB 277, but that it treated MARTA with a “basic inequity,” singling out MARTA for restrictions it did not apply to other transit agencies.