Transportation hanging, and Kasim Reed pushing

We leave you this evening with the GOP transportation funding bill hanging in both the Senate and the House.

A deal has been struck, and Republicans in the Senate are confident of passage. Confidence is less high in the House, where we hear that 20 or so Republicans will refuse to vote – and Democrats have been hesitant to vote on a measure that, they say, will do too little to help MARTA.

One interesting tidbit we’ve heard: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has been working the Fulton and DeKalb county delegations hard to persuade them to vote for the bill. Working against him is state Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta), who served as campaign manager for Lisa Borders in last year’s mayoral election.

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32 comments Add your comment

info

April 21st, 2010
7:27 pm

Don’t leave Jim! Mike Freeman just dropped out!

Scott

April 21st, 2010
7:37 pm

Lets see…it lifts the 50/50 split albeit for only 3 yrs, and allows some of the sales tax money to go towards “new projects” only…hmmm…its better than I thought we’d get

Chippy McLegislator

April 21st, 2010
7:42 pm

The Georgia legislature is determined to turn over our economic engine to places like Denver and Austin.

Jim

April 21st, 2010
7:58 pm

They are too worried about micro chips being put in your body against your will to vote on anything as trivial as transportation in GA. Disgusting. Keep voting these “conservatives” in and watch the state go down the toilet.

Sick of Republicans

April 21st, 2010
8:07 pm

The state is already down the toilet thanks to Perdue and the rest of the Republicans. Education is not one of their priorities and MARTA sure isn’t but with Jill Chambers having a brand new cadillac to run around in and probably doesn’t even know what the inside of a MARTA train or bus looks like in charge of MARTOC Committee, don’t expect anything good to happen.

Dump Jill Chambers

April 21st, 2010
8:33 pm

Stop Marta obstruction. Vote out Jill Chambers. Support Elena Parent, a new voice for Georgia.

http://www.elenaparent.com

KJ

April 21st, 2010
9:02 pm

Any bill will “do too little to help MARTA”, as long as they have the same crop of incompetent, apathetic employees running the place.

Do No Harm

April 21st, 2010
9:47 pm

A transportation funding fix seems so easy to the outsider, but the outsider does not have special interests to keep happy. That goes for democrats and republicans. Out with incumbents, in with something, anything.

Jason

April 21st, 2010
9:49 pm

KJ, MARTA rail is operated at a cost of $.27 per passenger mile. That’s the best in the country. It was the best last year and the year before and the year before and the year before…

If MARTA is run by incompetent apathetic employees like you claim and yet they’re able to run the most cost efficient subway in the whole country year after year, why mess with it? Apparently being incompetent and apathetic works!

Source: http://www.ntdprogram.gov/ntdprogram/pubs/profiles/2008/agency_profiles/4022.pdf
- National Transit Database of the Federal Transit Administration

P.S. Remember, those who bear false witness risk burning in hell for eternity. Think hard about your everlasting soul before making any more claims.

Rob Vinson

April 21st, 2010
9:59 pm

If Marta is so “efficient” then why are they broke? Seems to me they need to cut routes, lay off people, sell buses, and charge $10 per fair or $200 / month. Maybe that would get them out of the hole.

MIdtown voter

April 21st, 2010
10:34 pm

Rob, MARTA is the largest public transportation system in the United States that does not receive state funding. Not only that, but the state restricts how they use the money Marta has. If you tied one hand behind Chipper Jones’ back in baseball, he would struggle while at bat. When we tie one hand behind Marta’s back as Georgia does, the same is true.

Butch

April 22nd, 2010
12:00 am

Thanks midtown voter, you are right on the money. If I’m not mistaken MARTA employees are at the bottom of the pay scale, in a national survey. This is Very True!

Jimmy

April 22nd, 2010
12:57 am

The legislature SHALL financially compensate every last victim of Glenn Richardson’s bullying tactics or the LEGISLATORS STILL have no “ethics” – ABSOLUTELY NONE!. RICHARDSON had the GBI/CAPITOL POLICE/STATE PATROL FABRICATE CRIMINAL CHARGES against his MANY PERCEIVED “ENEMIES” and HARASS, INTIMIDATE, OR ARREST THOSE INNOCENT PERSONS! LIVES HAVE BEEN DESTROYED and YOU WANT TO MOVE FORWARD and JUST FORGET IT? ARE YOU ALL AS INSANE AS RICHARDSON??!!! YOU SHALL RIGHT RICHARDSON’S WRONGS!!! LEGISLATORS, YOU SHALL NOT AVOID THIS ISSUE, YOU SHALL FINANCIALLY COMPENSATE RICHARDSON’S MYRIAD VICTIMS. HE WAS ACTING AS A STATE EMPLOYEE and USING OTHER STATE EMPLOYEES TO RUIN THE LIVES of INNOCENT PERSONS, THAT MAKES THE STATE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL DAMAGES!!! GET BUSY, OR GET OUT of POLITICS – RIGHT NOW!!! EVERYONE IN THE CAPITOL KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING, BUT YOU COWARDS REFUSED TO SPEAK OUT, THAT MAKES EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU ACCESSORIES TO RICHARDSON’S TOTALLY EVIL ACTS!!! YOU LEGISLATORS ARE NOT ROYALTY, YOU’RE OUR EMPLOYEES!!!

Joe-number2

April 22nd, 2010
1:22 am

Marta is a JOKE! When I used both the bus and train to fly out of the Atlanta airport last year, I was shocked at just how badly the system is run. I checked the Marta website for the first bus of the morning and just to be on the safe side I called Marta to make sure of the time. Even though I was waiting at the stop fifteen minutes early in the 29 degree March wind, the first bus of the day, did not arrive. Then at the train station I simply could not understand how to operate the overly complex ticket vending machines. After several minutes a union Marta employee stopped talking on her cell phone and walked over to help me. As I ran to catch the train, I thanked her for helping me and she said, no problem it’s my job. Strange job I thought, standing there all day just to help riders operate a vending machine. At the airport gate I arrived ten minutes too late and missed my flight to Miami. What a nice feeling I had as I stood there thinking about the 20 minutes I spent standing in the cold waiting for the first bus of the morning that never came and then 5 minutes at the ticket machine. Someone may say that I should have allowed for more time but, I would have made the fight had the first bus arrived. I called Marta to first verify again the bus time, and then told the union agent what had happened. She quickly hung up on me. Four days later, back at the Marta airport station I watched one person after the other with a lost look on their face, not be able to operate the ticket machine. Then I heard the union employee posted at this station actually say to a man (It bees ok sir, nobody k work dat silly machine. Dat why eyes hea.) What a great first impression this must be for a visitor to Atlanta. Now I ask you, would a bank design a atm machine that no one could operate without a employee posted there to help them? Would they hire and post a woman at the airport station who speaks like an idiot? Gees Louse!!———-The Marta leaders boast that buses use natural gas, but they don’t tell you that these unites only get half the mileage of a gasoline bus. This requires the buses to travel back and forth to the fueling center twice as often, and of course two drivers and two buses to do the work of one driver and one gasoline bus. Now, just how energy wise is that??? And I can only imagine what a Marta bus must cost. The buses pass by my house day and night with hardly any one on-board. Often times there is only the driver. Yes, of course there are more at rush hour but, they are never near full. If you average all the times you might have three riders per trip. Marta is just one more government money hole, and a total failure!

Aaron Burr V. Mexico

April 22nd, 2010
1:42 am

The guy who was in favor of Marta provided a link Joe. Where’s yours?

Oh but because of YOUR personal anecdote we’re supposed to believe a REPUBLICAN? How can you believe anything a Republican is going to say about government when they HATE government? That’s like putting a criminal in charge of a prison.

BitterEXdemocrackkk

April 22nd, 2010
6:05 am

Jill Chambers has been a very effective leader. What you DONT NEED is yet another locally ingrained democrackkk coming in with big $$$ in her fist…Isnt it interesting that you have to read between the lines on her website to determine that she IS a democrackkk…strive to be smarter than the ORIGINAL party of SLAVERY wants you to BE !

Real MARTA Driver

April 22nd, 2010
6:50 am

I don’t care what happens to the MARTA riders as long as my $100,000.00 salary is not cut. Only a fool would strike when you are making the kind of money I make and I did not even graduate from high school.

Just Cook the Books

April 22nd, 2010
7:17 am

Starting in 2001, MARTA entered into complex deals to essentially make money off the federal tax exemption it gets as a public transportation agency. Such deals were popular among transit agencies and encouraged by the Federal Transit Administration, though the Internal Revenue Service fumed.

In the deals, MARTA leased its train lines and rail cars to financial firms that had little or nothing to do with transportation. The financial firms took the tax benefits, and immediately leased back the assets to MARTA so it could continue running.

MARTA officials said the profit from those deals — $119 million as of last fall, according to a state audit — was a different matter from the $18 million in net assets. They said that the profit had always been booked on MARTA’s financial statements.

The misinterpretation involved whether the trust was “irrevocable” — in which case no one could touch the assets in it and they would not be booked on MARTA’s balance sheets. The audit says MARTA and its advisers originally believed the trust was irrevocable. That assumption went unchallenged in yearly audits until the deals fell apart in the financial crisis, and MARTA staff and their accountants realized they could be unwound.

“It was with the collapse of AIG that this was recognized as not an irrevocable trust, because if it was you couldn’t unwind it,” said Ted Basta, MARTA’s chief of business support services. The insurance giant AIG was a partner in some of the deals.

The figures kept off of MARTA’s books included $465 million in assets (securities like treasury bills set aside to make lease payments) and $446 million in liabilities (the value of the payments MARTA would have to make) — or at least that was their value as of June 30, 2008.

That made for a net asset of $18 million on that date, but MARTA said that when allowed to run their full course the value of the assets and the liabilities would have exactly matched, for a net of zero.

State Rep. Jill Chambers, the chairwoman of the legislative committee that oversees MARTA, released the audit. She said it was disturbing whether or not the money represented liquid cash. “It’s value that wasn’t stated.”

The audit, performed by the firm Cherry Bekaert and Holland, called the mistake a “material misstatement.” MARTA pointed out that that firm has audited MARTA’s books for several years, and the mistake was only caught when the financial crisis caused the lease-back deals to implode. A message left with Cherry, Bekaert and Holland was not returned

frugal voter

April 22nd, 2010
7:22 am

I don’t understand how only the Legislature can determine how the revenue is split, currently at 50/50.
We, the voting citizens of DeKalb and Fulton, should be allowed to make the change as we see fit.
Until the State participates in the funding, the Legislature should stay out of our business.

Elena Fan

April 22nd, 2010
8:00 am

Bitter,
Jill Chambers constituents are tired of her. She will not be re-elected. Simple as that. She can attempt to smear Elena all she wants but we are on to her game. By the way, it does not matter if Jill wins or not. She is now vested and the citizens of Georgia will be paying her benefits for the rest of her life.
See ya Jill!

Shawn

April 22nd, 2010
8:08 am

Aaron….where is your link. All you had to share with us was your hatred and igorance. Your comment reveals you to be a none to bright partisan, a leach on the productive class. Why would anyone care what you have to say.

You Asked

April 22nd, 2010
8:31 am

I ride MARTA and the GRTA bus almost every week day. I prefer the service I get from the GRTA bus drivers (they are real pros and have a remarkable on time record given Atl traffic).

MARTA could be a lot better if they coordinated with the State and region more, but they do a pretty good job of getting people where they need to go inside the perimeter. Creating a real regional transportation authority in the metro area would go a long way towards expanding and improving public transportation. That would improve life for everyone including the drivers who won’t have to share lanes with as many cars.

Morrus

April 22nd, 2010
8:46 am

Vote out the incumbents and start over

@Morrus

April 22nd, 2010
8:57 am

“Vote out the incumbents and start over – SQUAWK!”
“Vote out the incumbents and start over – SQUAWK!”
“Vote out the incumbents and start over – SQUAWK!”
“Vote out the incumbents and start over – SQUAWK!”

Look, it’s another t-bagger parrot! Glenn Beck wanna cracker?

Negro apologist

April 22nd, 2010
9:37 am

Best way to improve traffic in Atlanta is to get rid of MARTA. Everytime I try to go somewhere one of those buses is clogging traffic. When I go around there are only two people riding the bus.

George Bush

April 22nd, 2010
10:09 am

you simply cannot have a city of this size without a transportation system in place …will not work people..we have to get something done !

Mark

April 22nd, 2010
10:30 am

You Asked:
MARTA can’t get coordinated with the State because the Republicans in charge of the governor’s mansion and the legislature want nothing to do with MARTA. They think MARTA should be turning a profit…just like all the roads and highways around the state do.

You Asked

April 22nd, 2010
12:11 pm

@ Mark

I know its easy to blame everything on the ebil wepubwicans but the problems started long before the GOP had a majority in the legislature and will last as long as the counties involved resist any further state influence over regional transportation policy. Sure they want state money but they balk at letting GRTA or other regional entities advise them on service and management. Its like a teenager telling their parents- just give me money and don’t tell me how to run my life.

Aaron Burr V. Mexico

April 22nd, 2010
1:21 pm

I’m sorry Shawn, but you’re under the impression I’m here to convince anyone of anything.

I don’t provide links, because anyone worthy of my time can already find them. Anyone stupid to think the thoughts they do about MARTA is in a cycle of self deception that no amount of convincing would ever break them of. When you are in a cult, only you can break yourself from the conditioning.

And the Republican party has by and large become a cult.

Aaron Burr V. Mexico

April 22nd, 2010
1:22 pm

Oh, and to answer the inevitable question….

Why am I here then?

Because I enjoy mocking the disgusting and hypocritical.

Lewis

April 22nd, 2010
10:08 pm

Why is it that Stacey Abrams is in the worng side of most issues?

Good Gubmit

April 23rd, 2010
12:49 pm

Jill Chambers just had 2 judgments against her in Dekalb courts in March. Subject was bad debts. If she can’t manage her own money, why should anyone trust her to manage taxpayer dollars? Look at the court records at
http://www.ojs.dekalbga.org/servlet/page?_pageid=60&_dad=portal30&_schema=PORTAL30

She also has a pending ethics charge getting ready to surface in the state house over taxes.

Elena is going to kick her butt.