Eldrin Bell: Clayton County may be in a mood to join MARTA

Andre Walker, who is back in business at Blog for Georgia, is pointing us to a Clayton Daily News article that indicates Eldrin Bell is ready to see his county join MARTA.

First this bit of background from the newspaper:

In September, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), which is contracted to operate C-TRAN, reported that the county had underfunded the service by $1.3 million, and threatened to end its contract with the county if it did not meet the shortfall.

In an effort to close the funding gap, the Board of Commissioners has proposed the elimination of routes, the elimination of weekend services, fare increases, possibly doubling the cost of paratransit service, and a six-month, $1.75 surcharge on all one-way travel

At a Wednesday evening public hearing, the chairman of the Clayton County Commission said he thinks a 1 percent, additional sales tax may be the way out, in two senses:

“Once the citizens so provide for us a 1-cent sales tax, I would like to see us get out of the bus business,” Bell added. “That’s MARTA’s business. Let’s get MARTA doing it and make sure they are adequately funded, with adequate oversight.”

DeKalb and Fulton counties have been the only localities willing to be a part of MARTA. Clayton passed on the opportunity decades ago.

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122 comments Add your comment

Daedalus

October 8th, 2009
11:40 am

Clayton County shouldn’t join MARTA. They should give their tax dollars to Sonny and GDOT so more of metro Atlanta’s tax dollars can be used to build 4 lane roads in South Georgia.

Oh, that’s what they already doing? Never mind.

Clayton Resident

October 8th, 2009
11:48 am

Enter your comments here

Clayton Resident

October 8th, 2009
11:50 am

Why are Clayton’s commissioners hell bent on making the few homeowning tax payers they have left fund any type of public transportation? Have they talked to homeowners or even glanced over at the Clayton blog which at last count had 60 votes for CTran to GO & 14 for it to stay? I doubt homeowners/tax payers want MARTA to take over for CTran, this homeowning taxpayer wants all public transportation gone from Clayton county. Those who want/need it should move wherever public transportation is available.

Clayton commissioners the voting and tax paying public are watching your ever move on this issue. if you keep any type of public transportation in Clayton you will pay for that decision with your commission seat come reeelection time!

JimBob

October 8th, 2009
12:15 pm

Where and why were the other commissioners not there last night? Leaving Eldrin out to dry?

Bob

October 8th, 2009
12:15 pm

The commission can have my sales tax money for MARTA after they actually time the stoplights on Tara Boulevard, which was promised two years ago as part of a different sales tax and never happened. Or when the crime drops and the school board gets its accreditation back so my home is back above being worth 1/3 of what I paid for it.

Lichele

October 8th, 2009
12:26 pm

Bell is the Chairman of Clayton County and not the commissioner

diana

October 8th, 2009
12:28 pm

Residents can move to Fulton County if they need Marta..leave it OUT of Clayton County. We have ENOUGH problems already…or better yet BUY A CAR!!!

Get over it

October 8th, 2009
12:32 pm

Homeowners doesn’t equal taxpayers. It’s a sales tax – anyone who buys anything pays it.

m

October 8th, 2009
12:32 pm

Atlanta is run by morons, filthy rich morons.

Transit Rider

October 8th, 2009
12:32 pm

Hey Clayton Resident,
Why weren’t you at the CTRAN public hearing last night where every speaker spoke in favor of keeping and expanding CTRAN? I don’t think blogs have any legal standing but official public hearings do. And all the residents at that hearing can vote too and pay taxes.

Corey

October 8th, 2009
12:35 pm

Bob, Clayton County Schoool System regained its accreditation back in the spring. Where have you been? A one per cent sales tax is not a property tax. No homeowners will be taxed for public transit. Do you people read the article or just the headlines before commenting? MARTA collects a 1% sales tax in Fulton, Dekalb and Atlanta as part of its funding formula; they do not collect property taxes.

Walking Small

October 8th, 2009
12:35 pm

Right, diana! We don’t want those undesirables from DeKalb and Fulton infiltrating our little slice of heaven.

Peggy Sue Davis

October 8th, 2009
12:41 pm

Most homeowners and long-term residents in Clayton DO *NOT* WANT CTRAN/MARTA. It is only the self-serving politicians that do…

Fulton

October 8th, 2009
12:44 pm

Walking SMALL
I bet you purchased your little slice of heaven with the $$$ you made while working in Atlanta/Fulton County. Go Figure!

Andy in Blairsville

October 8th, 2009
12:46 pm

As a former resident of the septic tank back in the 90’s, public transportation played a major role in destroying that county.

Now that I think about there isn’t a county in Metro ATL with public transportation that is worth living in. Remember how great Cobb and Gwinnett counties were in the 90’s? Now they are war zones just like Clayton County.

Oh well, sucks to be them.

Reality

October 8th, 2009
12:48 pm

MARTA is responsible for moving a large group of individuals from point A to point B. Exactly how that entices people to misbehave is lost on me. Please help me make the connection between people deliberately being thugish and public transit. Does MARTA recruit potential thugs? I’m still waiting. Geniuses, what is about MARTA that willingly encourages people to commit crimes. Enlighten me. Does MARTA have subliminal messages piped throught its public address system on the trains and buses? Maybe the local media paints that perception in your minds because whenever something bad happens if it is a mile or two from a MARTA station the local media mentions MARTA. The fellow that was killed a few years back in Buckhead after leaving a MARTA station was on bridge away from the station when he was attacked. The local media made it sound as if the man was in the station.

John

October 8th, 2009
12:52 pm

Why should I have to pay for bus service I don’t use? Let the people using the bus service pay the true cost.

say what?

October 8th, 2009
12:54 pm

NO MARTA no more C-TRAN in Clayton please. Eldrin Bell was the same person who thought that encouraging families with housing vouchers to rent in Clayton was a financial boon. Unfortunately, crime is the only boon from his misguided greed for those federal dollars. People came and people were willing to put there home on Section 8, and LEFT the county for Henry or Fayette Counties. Then we began hearing the cries for poor people need transportation to get to doctor appointments and to jobs. Transportation should have been a part of the moving to Clayton County equation. We now have C-TRAN which has to have fulltime POST certified Clayton County Police on the buses for safety reasons. These police should be out in the community protecting thousands, not on a CTRAn bus protecting a few 100.
If GA 85, Garden Walk, Tara Blvd,and Riverdale are any indication of the future with public transportation, then I want out. Hard working people may need the public transportation, but it is those grown unsuccessful, unproductive family members who they continue to coddle who bring down the community- any community in which they live. So before the rest of Clayton County looks like a reunion of Jonesboro North, Jonesboro South, Greensferry, McDaniel-Glen, and University Homes community- kick out public transportation..

How about following what Gwinnett or Cobb has rather than looking to poorly run MARTA for assistance. And while you are at it send Eldrin on a ride on one or two of the worst bus routes for a reality check.

JRS

October 8th, 2009
12:55 pm

Another star on Clayton County’s forehead! Lemme see…they ran the current transportation model into the ground, probably lining some pockets along the way, and now, let’s get the rest of the MARTA member counties to bail us out. Hmmmm, bailout. Seems to be a theme there…?

PJ

October 8th, 2009
1:02 pm

Seriously, you think someone is robbing your house & jumping on MARTA with all your stuff? Get over yourselves. Expanding public transportation is a great option that has so long been overlooked by our city. If it were as easy to use and convenient as in NY or Chicago, or so many places in Europe, we could transform our city into a real place people want to live, work & play.

DJ Sniper

October 8th, 2009
1:03 pm

The stupidity in this city regarding public transportation is mind boggling. This is why Atlanta is light years behind other cities on this issue. Our traffic is among the worst in the country, yet people who live here just refuse to come together and find a solution. In my opinion, this city is divided into far too many counties, and a lot of these counties want to run as their own separate entity. Hell, even within some of these counties, you have areas who want to be separate. This city needs to get a clue.

BW

October 8th, 2009
1:05 pm

This is a no brainer…a line through Clayton County, preferably a commuter line, would show good ridership. Obviously some security measures would need to be enacted but it would be a win for MARTA and Clayton County.

DJ Sniper

October 8th, 2009
1:06 pm

It also amazes me how people who are against MARTA always fall back on the tired excuse of “we don’t want thugs, criminals, etc in our counties.” These people act like their counties are already crime free. Not the case at all. Like PJ just stated, do you really think someone from Atlanta is gonna ride MARTA to Cobb, Gwinnett, or Clayton County and ride back with a stolen flat screen for everybody to see??? Give me a break.

jackie

October 8th, 2009
1:07 pm

Clayton County was a great community to live in before we got C-Tran. Criminals had a difficult time getting to our county and crime was much lower. With another mode of transportation such as Maarta, criminals will have another and quicker avenue of entering and leaving the county. We haven’t gotten a grip on our crime yet, so why make it easier for more to occur

Not A Thug

October 8th, 2009
1:13 pm

When you self absorbed people who slam public transportation get over yourselves and read what is being said, public transportation in this day is a necessity. A sales tax is NOT a property tax, it is a tax paid by anyone and everyone who purchases something. Heck you might even get people traveling from other counties to shop in your County and they will pay the sales tax on that purchase. Get over yourselves and realize not everyone can afford a car and all that goes with owning a car.

BW

October 8th, 2009
1:13 pm

Jackie…there’s no way you’re in favor our any public transit. Anyone who honestly thinks that criminals would steal your stuff and then ride MARTA back with it is a fool. Most of the people commenting on this blog aren’t even Clayton County residents just people with a grudge against Atlanta, Clayton County, MARTA, Eldrin Bell, C-Tran or all of the above. It must suck to constantly live in a perpetual state of fear, wetting your Depends diapers. Trying to argue with some of you is like arguing with the kitchen table.

Andy in Blairsville

October 8th, 2009
1:13 pm

I guess its just a coincidence that the counties with public transportation usually dominate the 1st 15 minutes of the local ATL TV news every night?

David

October 8th, 2009
1:13 pm

I’d argue that Clayton’s had crime before CTRAN was in place and that any correlation is coincidental.

John, we subsidize roads a lot more than transit in this nation. Lots of transportation money comes from general funds, not tied to the gas taxes. Is it fair people without cars have to subsidize your daily drive to work? Especially considering the lack of sidewalks and rail transit in this region.

David

October 8th, 2009
1:14 pm

The counties with transit dominate b/c they the 3 (fulton, gwinnett, dekalb) are around 2.5 million of the region’s 5 million people.

ATL native

October 8th, 2009
1:16 pm

When was the last time you saw someone rob a bank and get away on the bus? Whereas I do agree that the introduction of public transportation in Clayton County did help contribute to the downfall, not everyone who relies on it to get around is an “undesirable.” Some of those people actually have cars also.

There is no easy resolve to this, but I do think that those who utilize the service should be the ones to bear the burden of its cost.

BW

October 8th, 2009
1:16 pm

Andy in Blairsville…you know why there’s no crime in Blairsville? Because no one lives there!! Your opinion doesn’t even count…this is for Clayton County.

Roscoe

October 8th, 2009
1:17 pm

hey boneheads…the criminals drive in to Clayton County or already live there. C-TRAN and MARTA and whatever is not bringing them in or carrying them and your precious junk out of the county.

Public transit helps communities grow and prosper. That’s why international cities like New York and London and Paris and Tokyo have big systems – that and the challenge of moving millions of people around every day.

Whether you want to pay for it or not is the question. If you don’t want it, don’t vote for it. But then stop complaining about bad traffic – if there’s no bus, then everybody is in a car. Figure it out – 30 or 40 people on one bus taking up about the space of two cars or all of them out on the road…

Michael

October 8th, 2009
1:18 pm

I’m always tickled at how people in the Atlanta area think public transportation is the devil while the main freeways just sit clogged with people day after day. I know it’s such an extreme hassle to have to see the people who can’t afford automobiles, but people in New York and Washington seem to deal with it daily. For all the fears people have about being attacked by someone on a MARTA train, do you realize how much safer the train is than traveling by car? People die all the time in car accidents, yet a MARTA death is almost unheard of.

I now live outside the reach of where MARTA is needed, but I’d even pay my penny sales tax to get MARTA in Gwinnett since I work there. It would also be worth it to reduce all the car exhaust being spewed into the air for no reason.

BW

October 8th, 2009
1:22 pm

Those of you arguing for public transportation, I commend you, however, you’ve got to understand that most people making the crime argument thinks that all the minorities do it rob, murder, and make babies. How many people in Gwinnett and Clayton already drive to Doraville, East Point, College Park, or Fort Mac anyway to take MARTA to allow downtown, midtown, or Buckhead parking fees? More than you know.

The Carnivore

October 8th, 2009
1:24 pm

Lemme splain it to you Reality …

Lower income people (many of whom are thugs) cannot afford a car. So they take public transportation to see how the other side lives. When the public transportation stops in a nicer area, many of the thugs get off to check it out (are you listening Discover Mills?). They swarm around acting like fools and scaring the people who live nearby. When it happens often enough, the nearby residents stop going anywhere near the bus/train stop. Therefore, a large percentage of people within one mile of the stop are more thuggish than the surrounding population.

That is the link between thuggish behavior and public transportation that you somehow do not see, or more likely are choosing to ignore. We live 2 miles from Discover Mills and my 17 year old daughter would rather drive 8 miles to the Mall of Georgia or 8 miles to the Regal at Pleasant Hill and Medlock Bridge to see a movie. The behavior near the Discover Mills movie theater scares her and her friends at night.

See how it works now?

JoeSchmo

October 8th, 2009
1:26 pm

Poor Eldrin does not know what he is talking about.

Clayton is currently at their maximum allowable limit for local sales taxes. There is a limit of 3% that any county can impose in sales tax. They would have to give up one of their sales taxes; SPLOST, Education SPLOST, or LOST and implement a sales tax for MARTA.

BW

October 8th, 2009
1:28 pm

Surrounding Discover Mills?? You mean the one down the street from Sugarloaf Country Club?? Please…go to your county commissioners and ask them to tax you for additional law enforcement!!

Kevdawg

October 8th, 2009
1:33 pm

Andy, that’s because the majority of the population lives in this area, not becaue there is a transit system.

To Jackie and all the other Clayton folks that want to stay in a silo, your problems are not transit related, but in your inability to encourage and provdide development opportunities to increase your tax base and outside investment.

Problems are much deeper than having six bus routes. Also, see where these riders are going before you throw stones. They are going to Fulton and DeKalb where there jobs are.

David

October 8th, 2009
1:35 pm

I guess I didn’t realize the 1 mile area around Midtown and the Buckhead transit stations was “thug.” I guess people shouldn’t buy the 200 – 500 k condos there.

BW

October 8th, 2009
1:40 pm

Maybe some of these people should go live in Blairsville with Andy so they don’t have to see any more “thugs”

henry county

October 8th, 2009
1:45 pm

Clayton County is a DUMPSTER….always has always will…..

Andy in Blairsville

October 8th, 2009
1:45 pm

BW I used to live in that septic tank of county for the better of 15 years so I know a lot more than you think.

And your right, aside from one missing looney chick its nice not having to deal with the murders, rapes, robberies, illegals, traffic and smog of Metro ATL. A major drug bust up here is 3 grams of coke and it makes the front page of the weekly paper.

As a matter of fact one of the ATL TV channels advertises its local news up here on FNC via cable under the theme of what we are missing if we don’t watch ‘local’ news each night but like everyone else up here we could careless about all the crime in ATL.

B'ville Boy

October 8th, 2009
1:48 pm

Why is it when the Politicans don’t have enough extra money to pay for their county projects, they want to add another penny sales tax so everybody has to pay for their bad accounting? I remember when I lived in Clayton County it had the lowest sales tax in the state and they used that fact to lure people to shop there. Now they have no reason for anyone including their residents to shop there.

BW

October 8th, 2009
1:52 pm

Andy my parents have lived in the county since 1994…I went to high school in the county. Granted Jonesboro was slower to change than Forest Park but I do realize that the demographics began to shift radically at the turn of the century and absolutely contribute to the perception. That being said, the southern part of the county is still nice going all the way to Lovejoy. This is where the county’s tax base is…many people drive into Atlanta for work everyday and could use an alternate method to the hour to hour and a half minimum commute. I do hope this is not a demographic issue with you and only a role of government or effectiveness of public transit argument but it sounds like the former.

CommonSenseRules

October 8th, 2009
1:56 pm

It seems as though from the school system through the police department there’s precious little that Clayton gets right, anyway. Bus service run by MARTA could only be an improvement.
p.s. about the people getting “the government they deserve…”, those who actually vote in Clayton may want to think a bit harder about their choices.

We dont want you

October 8th, 2009
1:58 pm

What makes you Clayton County trash think ATLANTA wants you?? Please stay in your slums, with no schools, where you belong. Atlanta, Fulton County, etc. do not want you here.

BW

October 8th, 2009
1:59 pm

Except water and the their portion of the airport CommonSenseRules

BW

October 8th, 2009
2:00 pm

LOL…those undesirables were from Atlanta from the first….it’s called gentrification idiot

itamazesme

October 8th, 2009
2:02 pm

@We Don’t want you – I am NOT trash – been in clayton my entire life and ummm…I love atlanta but you do realize that a majority of the slum areas – rest in the heart of your beloved city

itamazesme

October 8th, 2009
2:03 pm

BTW…I think it would be great to expand C-TRAN and expand the rail system. Fear of the unknown breeds ignorance.