State leaders play a cruel, disrespectful game with MARTA

It is, at some level, a test of basic respect.

It’s also a test that the leadership of Georgia is failing, at least so far. Their refusal to date to lend a helping hand to MARTA in its moment of great need — a gesture that would not cost state taxpayers a single penny — comes across as callous and even oddly vindictive.

Tens of thousands of our fellow Georgians rely on MARTA for daily transportation. The transit system is as critical to their lives as streets and roads are to those Georgians who live in suburbs, small towns or rural areas.

MARTA customers use the system to go to work; they use it to get to school so they can educate themselves. They use it to check on the well-being of their elderly parents and grandparents; they use it to get to church on Sunday, to go to the doctor’s office and to bring home groceries.

And unlike every other major rail system in the country, MARTA provides that service with no financial support from state government. For decades, the people of Fulton and DeKalb counties have levied a one-penny sales tax on themselves to pay for the entire state and local share of MARTA’s construction and operating costs.

But like any governmental agency dependent on sales-tax revenue, MARTA has taken a dramatic financial hit. The agency’s operating budget faces a deficit of more than $100 million in the next fiscal year, even after scheduled rate hikes. If service has to be cut by roughly a third, as now estimated, MARTA’s basic mission would be threatened.

That story isn’t likely to win much sympathy these days, not with every state and local agency facing similar troubles. But while MARTA officials would love an injection of state aid, they have also asked the state Legislature and Gov. Sonny Perdue for something much easier to provide.

State law requires MARTA to spend at least 50 percent of its tax revenue on capital costs, such as equipment and new construction. No other major transit agency faces such a restriction. If that legal requirement could be dropped, even temporarily, MARTA would have the flexibility to shift money into its operating budget and at least soften the service cutbacks that loom ahead. It wouldn’t be a lot, but it would be something.

However, with just a few legislative days left on the 2010 calendar, it appears that even that minor gesture of respect and decency toward MARTA riders might be too much to ask.

Last week, the House Transportation Committee did raise hope by amending a Senate bill to give MARTA the flexibility it needs. However, that hope was brief. The very next day, Senate Bill 520 was pulled back into committee until it could be stripped of the MARTA provision.

Legislative leaders are still trying to hammer out a much-needed overhaul of the state’s transportation financing system, including provisions giving regions such as metro Atlanta the right to levy new taxes on itself for transportation. Conceivably, language addressing MARTA’s 50/50 restriction could become part of that last-minute deal-making.

At some point, a longer-term solution to MARTA’s fragile financing structure will also have to be addressed, but that’s a more complex issue best addressed another day.
For the moment, legislation giving MARTA more flexibility in how it spends tax money generated in Fulton and DeKalb counties and spent in the service of Fulton and DeKalb counties would be miracle enough.

376 comments Add your comment

Normal

April 20th, 2010
7:28 am

I used to think the State Government just couldn’t see the big picture. I’ve come to realize that they see no picture at all…

stands for decibels

April 20th, 2010
7:34 am

Tens of thousands of our fellow Georgians rely on MARTA for daily transportation.

But Jay, the people in charge don’t consider MARTA riders to be “fellow Georgians.” It’s really as simple as that, I’m afraid.

Road Scholar

April 20th, 2010
7:38 am

Normal: Especially when dominated by Repubs!

If these Bozo’s can’t get a bill passed to be voted on in 2010, then just adjust the statewide gas tax to inflation and get out of the way! While the statewide monies are managed by GDOT, the Regional SPLOST is voted and managed by LOCAL governments. Take your pick…just pass one or the other! The state elected officials need to be voted out if nothing happens on transportation.

stands for decibels

April 20th, 2010
7:40 am

Of course, those who work tirelessly to prevent any gas-tax funding to support mass transit never seem to consider that the more people you have in buses and trains, the fewer a-holes clogging up the street in front of you.

I’m not sure why that seems to elude some of the more mentally functional GOPers among us.

USinUK

April 20th, 2010
7:42 am

dB – dude … you’re on FIYAH! (especially your 7:34 and 7:37)

ty webb

April 20th, 2010
7:43 am

it’s racism…racism, I tell you. There, I got that talking point out of the way.

Normal

April 20th, 2010
7:45 am

USinUK,
From below…good answer :D

N-GA

April 20th, 2010
7:49 am

How can you criticize these honorable public servants? They’re real Hateriots!

Outhouse GoKart

April 20th, 2010
7:49 am

All these crackers hate Marta and wont “help a brutha out”. Its that damn whitey I say…WHITEYS FAULT!!!

USinUK

April 20th, 2010
7:49 am

welp, ty … the first step to getting better is admitting you have a problem

stands for decibels

April 20th, 2010
7:50 am

UnU, I’m not on FIYAH, this is just the most clear-cut example of modern GA insanity I know of.

Regarding bus transit: Let’s see—you have a choice: a) fifteen people who don’t want to be driving, who are driving their individual cars, suvs, trucks and possibly motorcycles in front of you. Versus b) a bus that’s one-third full. And as long as we’re making this realistic, let’s assume the bus has modern cut-outs and shelters to pick up and drop off riders along most routes, so that this can be done without inconveniencing traffic quite so much.

What kind of moron chooses a)?

As for rail, it is absolutely, certifiably insane that Gold Line doesn’t extend at least as far north as Buford by now. A station could’ve been built adjacent to that historic downtown with minimal infrastructure impact (and with excellent multi-lane surface road access via P’tree Ind. Blvd just a short drive away). It still could, of course, and it probably will be one day, but not any time soon.

stands for decibels

April 20th, 2010
7:51 am

All these crackers hate Marta and wont “help a brutha out”

Not all. Just enough to get GOPers re-elected.

HDB

April 20th, 2010
7:52 am

The Republicans pride themselves of taking money FROM Atlanta and spreading it statewide….more often, to the detriment of the citizens of the Metro Atlanta area!! The Republicans in the state house don’t deem the citizens that use mass transit worthy of their support! It’s more than racial issues…it’s class..it’s politics…..and stupidity!!

TaxPayer

April 20th, 2010
7:55 am

They’re Republicans, Jay. Need you say more.

Peadawg

April 20th, 2010
7:56 am

Geeze, it didn’t long for the idiots(sfd, ty webb, Outhouse GoKart) to come on here pulling race into this. I’ll wait for the next blog. Hope y’all have a craptastic Tuesday morning.

TaxPayer

April 20th, 2010
7:56 am

Then again, it never hurts to remind folks that they’re also Dixiecrats.

ty webb

April 20th, 2010
7:57 am

UsinUK,
Well I certainly fit the mold of today’s rampant racist. I’m white, live OTP, didn’t vote for obama, can’t use Marta, therefore I don’t support Marta financially, I want lower taxes, I support enhanced interrogations, I haven’t seen any tyler perry movies, I pulled for Duke in the final four, etc. etc.

Outhouse GoKart

April 20th, 2010
7:58 am

Y’all white folks done killed CTran and now ya goin after Marta. Y’all up early drinkin that Hater-Aid.

AmVet

April 20th, 2010
7:58 am

Under this horrific GOP version of governance, Georgia and even the greatest city in the South, Atlanta, are destined to become even more backwards and destitute.

And yes, race is a big part of the MARTA equation. Always has been, and seemingly always will be.

joe matarotz

April 20th, 2010
7:58 am

“…that MARTA @$%! thing. It’s the subway to nowhere.” Lewis Black

ty webb

April 20th, 2010
7:59 am

Peadawg calling me an idiot, I wear that as a badge of honor. That guy is real smart.

Outhouse GoKart

April 20th, 2010
8:00 am

Thats just fact dawg. All the woes of the world seem to fall onto the shoulders of the evil white man and his imperialistic ways or the Repulicans.

Take you pic.

Gale

April 20th, 2010
8:00 am

My chronic question is: If the buses are usually half full, why don’t they buy smaller buses and run them more frequently? Wouldn’t a better schedule encourage more people to ride?

GoingBroke

April 20th, 2010
8:01 am

wow.. the race card.. played well and often in here. it only took two whole posts to drop to that level. nice..

stands for decibels

April 20th, 2010
8:04 am

Peadawg calling me an idiot, I wear that as a badge of honor.

Yebbut I got top billing. In your face, webb!

Seriously, you don’t see any economic benefit to having a comprehensive mass transit system tying our metro area together? You don’t see how that would attract businesses and talent to metro Atlanta? Furthermore, you don’t get that the more people riding mass transit means the fewer a-holes in cars in front of you?

If only out of not-all-that-enlightened self-interest, you ought to be wiling to pony up a teensy bit (say a small portion of GA gas excise taxes) to ensure some kind of economic viability going forward.

USinUK

April 20th, 2010
8:04 am

ty – who is tyler perry? why can’t you use MARTA when you go to the city? (hey, I was brought up in the shadow of the Big Chicken, I understand that you can’t use MARTA from home, but what about park and ride for games at the Ted and such?) we all would like lower taxes, but some of us actually believe in paying for what we use rather than running up debt …

Paul

April 20th, 2010
8:05 am

[[The very next day, Senate Bill 520 was pulled back into committee until it could be stripped of the MARTA provision.]]

Who pulled it back and what did they have to gain by stripping the MARTA provision?

stands for decibels

April 20th, 2010
8:06 am

And for all the pearl-clutchers who are going on about “playing the race card”, try growing the hell up. I’ve had heart-to-hearts with local residents about the sort of discussions that went on when Gwinnett Country was trying to bring MARTA northbound via referendum. I’m well aware of what motivated a lot of those folks.

USinUK

April 20th, 2010
8:09 am

“I’ve had heart-to-hearts with local residents about the sort of discussions that went on when Gwinnett Country was trying to bring MARTA northbound via referendum. I’m well aware of what motivated a lot of those folks.”

and I lived in Cobb when they voted on it – I’m with dB as to what motivated them to vote against it … and it wasn’t impact on Cobb’s green spaces …

Gale

April 20th, 2010
8:09 am

Is it really about race? It is about where people live and where people work, certainly. Why is it that a large number of blacks and other minorities live ITP, and a significant number of whites live OTP, but work ITP? Is the issue one of culture or circumstance? Do so many whites move OTP because they want more space? Do minorities stay ITP because they want to group together? Do whites move OTP to avoid the minorities? Do the whites even consider the commute when they move OTP while still working ITP? I’m not sure what the real problem is, but yes, I’m pretty sure race is part of the problem.

AmVet

April 20th, 2010
8:09 am

stands, haven’t you heard?

There is no residual bigotry in Dixie.

No suh.

None.

Not since at least 1964!

(These head up their _____ Dixiecratted Republiconned are really a hoot.)

Outhouse GoKart

April 20th, 2010
8:09 am

Stop hay-in…ya bunch of haters…STOP the Hate…Hate the HATE!!

Doggone/GA

April 20th, 2010
8:11 am

Gale…the racial imbalance in ITP vs OTP has almost everything to do with the “white flight” out of the cities, and into the suburbs, in the 1980s

GoingBroke

April 20th, 2010
8:12 am

“grow the hell up” the keyboard is mightier than the brain for some..

TaxPayer

April 20th, 2010
8:13 am

Why haven’t some Republican businessmen offered up private bus services in Atlanta and other cities.

NowReally

April 20th, 2010
8:14 am

I don’t believe that the state leaders should have control of MARTA at all, especially since most of the leaders live outside of the area that is serviced by MARTA. The people who should have the power over MARTA should be the Metro Area leaders who constituents might actually use the service. There would be more reason to think about the effect of MARTA cuts, if your constituents are going to be affected.

GoingBroke

April 20th, 2010
8:14 am

People live in the city center as economic need dictates. If you rely on public assistance for the bulk of your existence.. then it would make sense to live close to the source.

GoingBroke

April 20th, 2010
8:17 am

TaxPayer

April 20th, 2010
8:13 am

“Why haven’t some Republican businessmen offered up private bus services in Atlanta and other cities.”

Why does it have to be a republican.. why can it not be just a busiess person? To answer your questtion.. City transportation systems lose money.. so why would you want to start a business like that?

Mick

April 20th, 2010
8:17 am

I remember reagan used to ask the question,”are you better off now then you were 4 years ago?” That same question can be applied to georgia and florida ever since the repubs took control of the legislature and resounding answer is hell no!!!

Normal

April 20th, 2010
8:18 am

Race? Which one? NASCAR?, Formula One? Relay? Soap Box?, or Human?

Outhouse GoKart

April 20th, 2010
8:20 am

Perhaps if Marta were to operate their business more like a business they might find a more sympathetic ear. Alwasy in the red…always always always. Always needing mo money/have hand out…always always always.

Always not anyone responsbility…just need mo money…!!

Outhouse GoKart

April 20th, 2010
8:21 am

Im better off than 4 years ago…I guess it depends on ones decision making capactiy…or maybe not.

GoingBroke

April 20th, 2010
8:22 am

Mick
April 20th, 2010
8:17 am

that’s easy to say.. what have the repubs done in FL and GA that have made your life so horrible?

TaxPayer

April 20th, 2010
8:24 am

GoingBroke,

If city transportation systems lose money, then shut them down. Shut them all down and let people get to work as best they can. Let’s bring this to a head and maybe we’ll see some progress. By the way, I used “Republican businessmen” in my example because they would insist on it being profitable. The Democrat businessmen would surely have no issue with a public transit system so it would be silly to offer that option.

ty webb

April 20th, 2010
8:26 am

USinUK,
Sorry, but taking marta to the “Ted” is probably the biggest hassle. the train stops at five points and then you must transfer to a shuttle that then carries you to the stadium. Horrible planning by the city. The ted should have a stop on the train line. More people would use it for the games. When I said I “can’t use marta” I meant that Marta doesn’t service my area.

sfd,
“If only out of not-all-that-enlightened self-interest, you ought to be wiling to pony up a teensy bit” I am willing to pony up a teensy bit…everytime I use Marta. They can raise fares if they want to, and I promise to pay it everytime I ride Marta. By the way, kudos for the “not-all-that-enlightened self interest”. That’s so much more wittier than simply calling me an idiot.

USinUK

April 20th, 2010
8:27 am

OGK – “Perhaps if Marta were to operate their business more like a business they might find a more sympathetic ear”

but it’s NOT a business – it’s a public service. it’s not MEANT to be profitable, it’s meant to make the city more accessible for people who may not have transportation or who may want to lighten the load on the planet.

USinUK

April 20th, 2010
8:29 am

“Sorry, but taking marta to the “Ted” is probably the biggest hassle. the train stops at five points and then you must transfer to a shuttle that then carries you to the stadium”

oh, NOES!!! not a SHUTTLE!!!

oy.

and how is it I’ve read my fellow Bookmaniacs complain about the crowding on the Ted shuttle if not that many people use it???

Mick

April 20th, 2010
8:31 am

Goingbroke

My life is fine – repub legislature in fla. is too ideological and is willing to push off problems until next year. They rail against the stimulus but would be up a creek without a paddle if they didn’t get it. It all started with jeb and tax cuts, we were doing fine until he carpetbagged himself in.

stands for decibels

April 20th, 2010
8:36 am

I am willing to pony up a teensy bit…everytime I use Marta.

Hey, I am willing to pony up a teensy bit… every time I happen to have a kid in local public schools, I’ll pay that chunk of property taxes desginated to fund them.

Otherwise, the little ankle-biters can survive on someone else’s funding.

Gale

April 20th, 2010
8:36 am

If “white flight” happened in the 80s and I arrived in 92, then I only see the result. People talk of buying a bigger house with more space and that is certainly true. For the record, I live just OTP and work ITP. I don’t take MARTA because it would double my commute time.

TaxPayer

April 20th, 2010
8:39 am

Atlanta should buy up all the parking lots and start charging enough in parking fees to subsidize their own bus system.

ty webb

April 20th, 2010
8:41 am

UsinUK,
My point was that, at least for a braves game, Marta isn’t necessarily the fastest or most efficient mode of transportation. If the line went to the stadium it would benefit both marta(more fares), the braves(more fans) and the city.

USinUK

April 20th, 2010
8:45 am

ty – I agree that my frustration with MARTA was always that it went to the general area where you wanted to go, but not necessarily TO it. you know what I learned to do when I lived in DC and now that I’m in London???

walk.

TaxPayer

April 20th, 2010
8:45 am

Atlanta should convert all roads leading to the state Capitol to toll roads.

Outhouse GoKart

April 20th, 2010
8:46 am

Marta is not a business…its a mess, its disorganization at its best, its incompetence, its bad decision making, its stupidity, its gross wastefulness/mismanagement, its its its…Excuse after excuse after excuse.

Finn McCool

April 20th, 2010
8:46 am

We should run water like a business — $5 a gallon.

USinUK

April 20th, 2010
8:46 am

dB – “every time I happen to have a kid in local public schools, I’ll pay that chunk of property taxes desginated to fund them”

hey, some of us will NEVER had kids – in public school or otherwise – but we recognize that paying for public school is a GOOD thing, that it creates an educated workforce and, hopefully, a better society. when I lived in the states, I paid those taxes gladly.

ty webb

April 20th, 2010
8:47 am

sfd,
nice, well said. I agree completely (with your 8:36)

is your point that marta is or should be entirely funded by taxes like our public education system?

USinUK

April 20th, 2010
8:47 am

“had” should have been “have” … but you know what I meant …

Finn McCool

April 20th, 2010
8:48 am

Oh, and postal service – let’s run that like a business, too. They’d have to compete with FedEx and UPS so that would bring their price down to, what $2-$3 per letter?

stands for decibels

April 20th, 2010
8:48 am

but it’s NOT a business – it’s a public service. it’s not MEANT to be profitable

I’ve every confidence that if drivers of individual cars/pickemups/SUVs paid anything like the actual cost of their carbon footprint for the priviledge of piloting said conveyances, they’d be incredibly profitable.

But they don’t, so they aren’t. So long as wars, future infrastructure costs to adjust to the effects of climate change and suchlike stay off the books, hey, it’s relatively cheap to drive!

jg

April 20th, 2010
8:48 am

I am so tired of this….MARTA spends thousands on these surveys – Lord knows how much on those stupid tvs on trains and busses…..corrupt escalator service…..raises rates….decreased service….bus cuts….and the people who do this DO NOT EVEN RIDE MARTA….all you are doing is making me work harder to get a car and sit in traffic with everyone else….

TaxPayer

April 20th, 2010
8:48 am

I would say that we should treat air like a commodity and sell it but the Republicans have already proven that they routinely go without it.

USinUK

April 20th, 2010
8:49 am

Taxpayer – “Atlanta should buy up all the parking lots and start charging enough in parking fees to subsidize their own bus system”

2 words:

Congestion. Charge.

you want to drive into Atlanta??? how about you pay for the infrastructure you use …

ty webb

April 20th, 2010
8:50 am

UsinUK,
you’re talking about Atlanta, probably the most pedestrian unfriendly major city in the US.

Finn McCool

April 20th, 2010
8:51 am

USinUK, what did you do now??

A woman has become the first person to be banned from buying or drinking alcohol anywhere in England and Wales

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1266298/Woman-person-banned-EVERY-pub-club-country.html#ixzz0le0UT9Zy

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1266298/Woman-person-banned-EVERY-pub-club-country.html

stands for decibels

April 20th, 2010
8:52 am

is your point that marta is or should be entirely funded by taxes like our public education system?

Entirely? of course not.

My point is that GA needs to get its head out of its backside, look at how other metro areas fund their transit systems, and do something similar, instead of continually playing to the cheap seats (and playing residents against one another.)

Of course you wouldn’t fund all of MARTA from gas excise taxes; you want to get a good chunk of revenue from good old-fashioned fares (which can be structured in such a way to give volume discounts, etc.–that part you DO want to run like a business, which MARTA tries to do. But yeah, first thing I’d do is get the stupid state Constitution amended to permit gas taxes to fund such efforts, given that there is a distinct quid pro quo involved in getting people out of private vehicles and into mass transit.

gotta go produce. Be back later.

USinUK

April 20th, 2010
8:52 am

ty – I used to work at the Capitol – that area is VERY pedestrian-friendly

USinUK

April 20th, 2010
8:54 am

Finneus – it’s a good start … the biggest thing is they need to crack the eff down on underage drinking …

professional skeptic

April 20th, 2010
8:55 am

I’m writing this from the MARTA train.

MAN, I love zooming out over the downtown connector, looking at the gridlock traffic I no longer have to sit in!

There’s a special place in hell for GA republicans who claim to be champions of small government, yet won’t allow local authorities decide how to allocate funds that are both raised and spent locally.

ty webb

April 20th, 2010
8:55 am

“is your point that marta is or should be entirely funded by taxes like our public education system?

Entirely? of course not.”

so your 8:36 was more like apples to oranges?

TaxPayer

April 20th, 2010
8:55 am

ty – I used to work at the Capitol – that area is VERY pedestrian-friendly

Why would anyone want to drive by babe alley. Walk. Walk slowly. Enjoy oneself. It’s the Republican way.

StJ

April 20th, 2010
8:55 am

Set up toll booths on all the roadways going into Atlanta and charge $5 per car, then give the profits to MARTA. That should solve the problem.

Steve

April 20th, 2010
8:57 am

Gale – that is precisely why I do not take MARTA either. On several occasions I have taken the bus that stops behind my building. I work at Peachtree Center and live approx 5 miles away in Buckhead. Between the bus looping its way all over the GA Tech area, terminating at Midtown Station, and me having to connect and wait up to 15 minutes for the short train ride to PTCenter, I don’t think it has ever taken me less than an hour. Going home was worse because I always had to time my arrival at Midtown just right in order to catch the bus. If I missed it, I could either plan on waiting another hour or shell out $15 for a cab.

I don’t see the MARTA debate as a race issue as much as I see it as a riffraff issue. There are plenty of people who ride MARTA of all colors who are just skanks and your average non-rider simply doesn’t want to be around them. The funny thing is, during a 10-mile ride on MARTA you might deal with one skank, you probably deal with at least three while driving that far. The people who clog the passing lane at 55 and give you dirty looks when you shine them to move, the ones who dart into your lane without a turn signal, and then ones who blare their horn at you when you don’t go the very moment the light turns green – these people are all skanks in my book. And the number of driving skanks in Atlanta is only going to get higher as traffic continues to get worse thanks to the continued lack of a viable mass transit system in Atlanta.

Cutty

April 20th, 2010
8:58 am

A lot of people speak so poorly of MARTA, but the CCT, GRTA, and those Gwinnett buses all rely on subsidies to operate. I live in Atlanta, why does my state money go to pay for suburbanites to get to their job (GRTA) in the city? Only in Georgia are there so many overlapping transit systems. I wonder why that is?

I do know that if MARTAs ridership had a lighter hue, the state coffers would open up like the Red Sea. But since those riders tend to vote more for those with a D after their name, screw ‘em.

Finn McCool

April 20th, 2010
8:59 am

No republicans on yet claiming this is further proof of total Democrat annihilation in November?

I give it 10 more minutes…mwuahahahahahaha

Outhouse GoKart

April 20th, 2010
9:01 am

Why not have all you “Pro-Tax Progressives” donate to Marta. Give from the heart to your precious symbolism of freedom and humanities kindness to humanity. How many of your are actually volunteering to spend your weekends or freetime assisting Marta with its woes.

All talk no action…typical democrats.

Finn McCool

April 20th, 2010
9:01 am

Better yet, push for GA-wide Wi-Fi so companies have another reason to let people work from their homes. It’s coming.

lovelyliz

April 20th, 2010
9:04 am

Why should politicians who have probably never ridden on any public transportation fund support MARTA when MARTA and its riders aren’t lining the pockets of said politicians?

ty webb

April 20th, 2010
9:05 am

Simple solution, Marta takes all their revenue and capital, and buys everyone living in areas serviced by marta, a schwinn or huffy. They then change their name to BARTA. It would be so much more efficient.

USinUK

April 20th, 2010
9:07 am

a schwinn or huffy

:lol:

only if we can get streamers on the handlebars and the straw-thingies that go in the spokes!!

thanks for the mental image of atlantans on banana seats holding on to chopper handlebars with streamers!!

Paul

April 20th, 2010
9:07 am

Followup from prior:

Here’s a panel discussion on the financial reform. Points are that Reps aren’t simply saying “no,” that the areas of disagreement aren’t that wide. Says not only Reps, but also the White House, did NOT want the $50 billion bailout fund the Congress put in and it will likely go away. Other point of objection (a reversal of Democrats’ position under Bush) is that the bill provides that Congress cede large blocks of power to the Presidency. It allows the Executive to take unilateral action with no input from Congress in future situations.

http://origin-drupal.foxnews.com/on-air/special-report/#/v/4157852/obamas-financial-overhaul-plan/?playlist_id=87624

BTW – guy on the left is Bill Kristol, a pretty ideological conservative. The other day he was objecting to the plan because it kept in “too big to fail” and Mara Liason (woman in the middle) shot back with “Oh really? So now you’re taking the position of Bernie Sanders and the far-left elements of the Democratic Party? I’d love to see Republicans make that case!”

Kristol looked like he’d just smashed into a wall and didn’t know what hit him. He hasn’t brought it up since.

Cutty

April 20th, 2010
9:14 am

Take the toll money from 400 and LOAN it to MARTA.

Donovan

April 20th, 2010
9:15 am

It is what it is. Atlanta doesn’t want MARTA to be its transportation vehicle to work. Bookman paints a very sad picture with his pandering for the poor, the students, and the suffering but he is a liberal sounding like Pelosi, Obama, and Reid who can’t help themselves. Allowing MARTA to function in its own “flexible” way would be inviting the same scenario as when Grady was allowed to operate in its own flexible way. Sorry, Atlanta, donn’t blame the GOP. The state does not need another entitlement system for the poor and the wretched.

professional skeptic

April 20th, 2010
9:16 am

Outhouse GoKart

April 20th, 2010
9:01 am

Guarantee me that Georgia Republicans won’t try to confiscate that money as theirs, or slap restrictions on how it is spent.

I DO donate to the BeltLine foundation. If anyone else would like to, here’s the link! :D

Jones

April 20th, 2010
9:16 am

Bookman plays cruel game with AJC readers– Continuing to write/paste articles.

Outhouse GoKart

April 20th, 2010
9:17 am

The Pro-Tax Progressives should be reaching out to their neighbors, church members, local wino’s etc and volunteering to set up free taxi services for those in need.

Who will be the first? Cmon…hello……..anyone…………?

Peadawg

April 20th, 2010
9:17 am

Outhouse GoKart @ 9:01.

Me and another guy had this same type of conversation with someone(maybe sfd, I can’t remember) the other day. The jist of it was he doesn’t do it b/c he’s not mandated to by the government. If the government mandates it, he’ll do it.

CONSERVATIVE..DITTOhead.

April 20th, 2010
9:18 am

HEY YOU LIBERAL WHINERS………..THE $$$$ IS NOT THERE…..THERE IS NO MONEY TREE $$$$$$$ YOU IDIOTs

CONSERVATIVE..DITTOhead.

April 20th, 2010
9:18 am

HEY YOU LIBERAL WHINERS………..THE $$$$ IS NOT THERE…..THERE IS NO MONEY TREE $$$$$$$ YOU IDIOTs

CONSERVATIVE..DITTOhead.

April 20th, 2010
9:19 am

BOOKMAN HAS ABSOLUTELY NO CREDIBILITY…….none….zero….nada..

professional skeptic

April 20th, 2010
9:20 am

Donovan

April 20th, 2010
9:15 am

You’re a hack. I just took MARTA to work. Time for my 9:30. All you hateful MARTA haters who hate MARTA for the sake of hating it have a hatefully hateful hate-filled day.

Peadawg

April 20th, 2010
9:22 am

It was jewcowboy I believe, not sfd. Sorry for the confusion.

Mick

April 20th, 2010
9:23 am

**The Pro-Tax Progressives **

Yes, tax the churches – the free ride is over.

RW-(the original)

April 20th, 2010
9:23 am

But like any governmental agency dependent on sales-tax revenue, MARTA has taken a dramatic financial hit.

Kind of makes you wonder why we keep seeing stories about how the economy has recovered and consumer spending is way up. Journalistic activism at it’s finest.

/drive by

Atl Resident

April 20th, 2010
9:24 am

What the hell does race have to with this damn issue? To all those who don’t even ride consistently, shouldn’t even damn comment on this. The issue is the state could have helped MARTA months ago which has funds but the damn state legislators we vote for won’t give them immediate access. So MARTA is not all to blame, most of it is these lazy, spoiled, government officials, cause if MARTA stops most of its services, hell will break loose even the more while commuting on the roads.

Outhouse GoKart

April 20th, 2010
9:25 am

The Beltline…yet another ill-conceived idea that will be a financial bottomless pit.

USinUK

April 20th, 2010
9:25 am

Paul – the one thing you can say about Bill Kristol is that the man is consitantly wrong … and not just slightly wrong – wrong on an epic scale. about everything.

Call it like it is.

April 20th, 2010
9:27 am

“What cha want me to do………ride MARTA” Hosea Williams

TaxPayer

April 20th, 2010
9:29 am

If we just had the FairTax™ all of our problems would be solved. We would all sit around waiting for our monthly prebate check to arrive so we could hop on Marta and ride into town to cash our government check and buy government cheese. Socialism, the FairTax™ way.