Tuesday is MARTA Day at the state Capitol, and the battle over the financially strapped agency has grown.
Here’s the time line to date:
— Seven days ago, MARTA passed out a memo to lawmakers, warning that unless the transit agency can devote all cash raised by a sales tax toward operations, it will have to significantly reduce service. Rail traffic could be included — “either certain days or times, or entire lines altogether.”
— Days later, state Rep. Jill Chambers (R-Atlanta), chairman of the Legislature’s MARTA oversight committee, responded by ordering up a 2 p.m. Tuesday subcommittee hearing and ordered MARTA bookkeepers to appear. Chambers wants to talk about the agency’s financial practices — and to ask questions about raises given last year to managers.
— Last Friday, state Sen. Doug Stoner (D-Smyrna) countered with an 11:30 p.m. Tuesday hearing by a Senate Transportation subcommittee, to give MARTA General Manager Beverly Scott a preemptive forum.
— Today, Chambers sent out a breakdown of raises given out by MARTA last year, which she says total 14 percent. MARTA spokeswoman Andrea Coleman says her people are reviewing the list “to confirm its accuracy.”
— And finally, Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga), the Senate Transportation chairman, announced today that his full committee — no mere subcommittee — would convene to hear Scott speak about “the gravity of fiscal situation at MARTA.”
“We wanted to give her a broader platform,” Mullis said.
All of this, just to decide who will command tomorrow’s headlines and video. Students of media management, take note.