Xavier Murray, who works long hours as a security guard, relies on public transit to get him where he needs to go. But soon, he might not be able to rely on the bus for the hour-and-a-half trip to visit his son. Starting this summer, Yvonne Cobb, a grocery store clerk, might need to block out three hours for her daily, six-mile commute. And Tiffiny Nash might have to travel two miles by wheelchair down a street with cracked sidewalks to catch a bus to her physical therapy sessions.
Atlanta's beleaguered transit agency is in deep shit. It needs the state's help to lift it out of a $120 million shortfall one that could result in 30 percent cutbacks to its already strained train lines and bus routes. The problem is, the state has never been too interested in MARTA's well being.
In fact, MARTA is the only major transit system in the nation that gets no funding from the state the product of an indifferent Legislature and decades of disdain for public transit riders. As a result, MARTA's image, service and bottom line have suffered.
If the state fails to intervene this time, MARTA's board is considering slicing into bus and train service in June. The cuts would be unprecedented. Wait times for trains could increase to as long as 30 minutes. More than 1,000 transit employees could be laid off. More than half of the system's 131 bus routes including some of its busiest could disappear. And nearly all the bus lines that survive most likely would have to be redrawn to make up for the cuts.
(Photo by Joeff Davis)
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One step forward, two steps back.
Hey "Here's Your Editorial", what does Dale Earnhardt Junior have to do with this article?