Another MARTA board shake-up?

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.

29 comments Add your comment


April 27th, 2010
9:37 pm

Why should the state have ANY reps on the board. They give MARTA no money, yet want to have a very sizable voice. Hey Jan Jones…where’s that less government we hear you republicans like


April 27th, 2010
9:54 pm

Taxation without representation! The state wants to take my county taxes and “protect” me with someone (probably from a rural county) who is biased against transit and my county. I am not fooled. When the state starts giving tax dollars to MARTA they can have a voice.


April 27th, 2010
9:58 pm

Why 2 reps from N. Fulton, and only 1 from the south? More ridership is in the southern half of the county, and Jan Jones openly disdains Marta anyway.


April 27th, 2010
10:45 pm

There is more ridership in south Fulton but north Fulton has a much larger population so it gets more representatives. That’s how most representative government works.

I’m glad to see that the mayors of north Fulton don’t get to make direct appointments. Milton shouldn’t have the same representation as Roswell just because they’re both a city. Many more people live in Roswell than Milton.

The good thing is that the representatives from Clayton and Gwinnett would be gone. They’ve had a vote for decades while thumbing their noses at MARTA. Gwinnett even refused to remove their representative after he was found to have taken money from one of the bidders for the Breeze system implementation. Even the MARTA hostile legislature was siding against Gwinnett on that one. It wasn’t until the guy was arrested for not paying child support he was removed from the board by state law.

Three representatives from the state seems excessive. Even though they don’t contribute, one member from the state might be ok in order to help facilitate communication between the two entities.

The Cynical White Boy

April 27th, 2010
10:57 pm

I guess the Marta Executives were too busy getting their massages or working out at the health clubs (dues paid for by Marta riders and taxpayers) to worry about helping pass any legislation.


April 27th, 2010
11:12 pm

Last week’s transportation funding bill was a SHAM. It doesn’t help GDOT. It barely helps MARTA and won’t prevent extensive service cuts this summer. It doesn’t help express bus service which has a deficit next year. It doesn’t provide any new funding to enhance any transportation project for THREE YEARS…a sham bill.

Now they want to rewrite it already and center control of MARTA in North Fulton, North DeKalb, and the state. If we are going to fix transit in metro Atlanta, we need to do it in ways other than a power grab like this. If the funding bill was so great, why not let the transit governance study committee called for in the bill do its job instead of undermining it with changes like this?

Juan from CHI

April 28th, 2010
3:35 am

This is a joke. The state should change the board to 11 members. The state member should drop to 1 appointed by the governor. Why does the lieutenant governor and speaker of the house have a selection?

ATL better get the traffic/transit issue resolved soon. Dallas is already pulling ahead. They finish a new light rail line later this year. Houston also has plans for more light rail and they are looking a commuter rail. Do get left behind.

Road Scholar

April 28th, 2010
7:07 am

GDOT oversees the federal funds appropriated to MARTA. They deal with FHWA and FTA.

Skipped Town Scott

April 28th, 2010
7:13 am

The joke starts from the top. That would be the governor. Until Georgia can get over this fear of transit/MARTA/Atlanta city ‘liberals’, Atlanta and the state’s quality of life (unless you enjoy being holed up in your SUV in gridlock) is going to continue to degrade. I miss the Atlanta weather, but here in Maryland we are trying to add two new transit lines, the Red and Purple Line, unlike you Georgians who think you can pave your way out of traffic. nightmares.

Reid in EAV

April 28th, 2010
7:16 am


It’s as simple as that.


April 28th, 2010
8:23 am

Vote out the incumbents and start over


April 28th, 2010
8:25 am

Actually Road, GDOT’s only role with MARTA (other than the board seat) is safety oversight. Federal transit dollars flow directly to MARTA as the Atlanta region’s designated transit recipient (forgive the federal speak – it means that Federal transit dollars go directly to MARTA which then oversees their disbursement in cooperation with ARC to the other transit operators in Atlanta – Cobb, Gwinnett, GRTA). GDOT administers Federal transit dollars for areas with less the 200,000 and earmarks like those for commuter rail.

On topic – I think having the DOT Commissioner on the MARTA Board is fine if it helps facilitate cooperation, but political appointees from the Gov, Lt. Gov, and Speaker? Not until the state provides a similar proportional share of funding to Fulton, DeKalb and the City of Atlanta.

[...] stands next in line for the Grady treatment, according to the AJC, with an amendment to SB 22 poised to remake the Marta board. Again. House Speaker pro Tempore Jan [...]

C Jae of East Lake

April 28th, 2010
10:52 am

I’m extremely confused by the relentless antics of Rep Jones with respect to the governance of MARTA. Considering the State provides ZERO funding for MARTA, I’m perplexed why there is this insistence that the State maintain a stranglehold over how MARTA operates. The area that Ms. Jones represents (along with others around the metro like Cobb, Clayton & Gwinett especially) have given little of any real consideration to being real participants in MARTA’s growth. They have instead done more fighting to keep MARTA out of their areas and now that gridlock is choking their streets more and more, setting up their own cottage bus routes piggy backing off of MARTA’s infrastructure. It’s sickening to watch how such a valuable resource has been under utilized and manipulated as political pawn. Instead of being an asset to draw business to the State, it’s a laughing stock. If the legislature is not careful they will drive more business north into the Carolinas.


April 28th, 2010
11:22 am

So, Jan…where are the rules for bus service in Macon, Augusta, Columbus…you get the point. Why is MARTA singled out for all this crap. Its time to FIRE Jan Jones, if not for anything, fire her for an awful hair style


April 28th, 2010
12:17 pm

If the state will run MARTA as well as they run Centennial Olympic park (compared to Woodruff park) I’m on board.

[...] course, would still contribute diddly to keep MARTA’s buses and trains operating. (Ariel Hart has the specifics here. Icarus from Peach Pundit thinks a bowtied political observer would be a nice addition to the [...]


April 28th, 2010
12:43 pm

I guess if you get far enough down on the list you can find a park!

The Georgia Dept of Transportation is in worse financial shape than MARTA. Much worse.

If the state will run MARTA as they run GDOT. It’s over.


April 28th, 2010
2:17 pm

Wow the state provides no funds and Jan Jones wants them to have more representation???? What is she thinking.

Oh I know she’s looking at the bang up job the State has done on transit. Why yes look what GRTA has done …JOKE…. GRTA runs a couple of buses that the state did pay a portion of but that ain’t much to show for 15 years of GRTA. And State Takeover again no state funding for transit in the Fulton and DeKalb’s MARTA, the engine of our economy, but state funding for Cobb Transit and for Gwinnett Transit in the form of bus routes operated by them and for Rockdale, Conyers and Douglasville, and others via GRTA buses and park and ride lots. But did they build a facility for all these buses in downtown Atlanta? NO. instead they clog the streets or use MARTA facilities. DID GRTA co locate a bus yard/repair facility in North Fulton with MARTA where MARTA needs one? NO they refused to even share with MARTA.

The State is political in their transportation decisions and not accountable as proven by Jan JOnes. They will be horrible at transit!!!!


April 28th, 2010
3:19 pm

Wait a minute. Just last week we were lauding Mayor Reed for saving MARTA. Now we see that North Fulton and the Republican leadership have found another way to politicize transit.

Was this the terms of a deal cut by the Mayor to get credit for saving MARTA? Or, was he naive enough to believe they wouldn’t find another way to screw us?


April 28th, 2010
3:22 pm

Marta will never be successful under Gov. Perdue, he and his buddies ride around in tax payers paid limousines, therefore they could care less about people riding public transpotation. GDOT does not have a clue, they continue to build on the highways, instead of considering a rail line, they are out of money as of now, and we the citizes should be ready for GDOT to ask us for more money for their concrete obsession.
If Georgia want to be a true metropolitan city we need a rail line for the state, not just citywide but we need leaders who can visualize a rail line in our future, our current leaders Sen. Chambliss, Gov. Perdue, this Ms. Jones can not see beyond the back seats of the cars they are given to ride around in. We the people can make them get the rail lines we need and want, after all we are the government, and we can make them hear us, or we can replace them but we have to work together, and not as a individual parties, a rail line will benefit everyone who’s tired of gridlock traffic, and the smog from the lock down traffic we face each and every day. Let’s work together to make Georgia a better state, and leave our future generation a better way to breathe with less smog, and a better way to get around.

professional skeptic

April 28th, 2010
3:23 pm

It appears that Madam Jones is doing her best to upstage Jill Chambers as the state legislator most hostile in her opposition towards MARTA.

Madam Jones: Why must there be so much state input, when the state pays nothing into the system? Please be more transparent with your views and intentions. As it stands, your actions appear nothing more than petty and antagonistic.

Raquel Morris

April 28th, 2010
3:31 pm

It’s obvious that Jan Jones has bad intentions. Why not say that of Fulton’s 3 seats, 1 must be from North and 1 must be from South? That’s how DeKalb’s would be distributed?

As with everything else done by Jan Jones, the only real interest here is in providing for her precious “Milton County.”


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