Thursday, October 6, 2011

Delay MARTA repairs, scale back new transit lines to keep GRTA's suburban buses a-runnin'? Hmm, let's see...

Posted By on Thu, Oct 6, 2011 at 9:01 AM

Pay close attention to this morning's gathering of a "roundtable" of more than 20 metro Atlanta mayors and county commissioners. It's most likely the last chance the group will have to make changes to a list of new road and transit projects that will be funded by a 1-cent sales tax voters will decide next year.

Here's a rundown of specific proposals the group will consider. Read the actual amendments to the list here. Several suburban counties have proposed cutting the amount of funding allocated to such ITP transit projects as the Beltline and MARTA along the Clifton Corridor to instead fund buses operated by the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority.

One of the more wacky proposals: Shifting more than $34 million that would help pay for repairs to MARTA stations and infrastructure — i.e. rehabbing elevators and escalators, beefing up platform lighting — to instead fund GRTA buses that shuttle suburbanites into and out of Atlanta. (We contacted Douglas County Chairman Tom Worthan, who introduced the amendment, to ask for more details about the proposal on Wednesday. We never heard back.)

That specific proposal irked at least one transit observer, who took issue with the fact that elected officials would consider letting the metro region's largest bus and rail system continue to deteriorate. Especially to fund a bus service that caters to suburban residents — some of whom might not necessarily be transit dependent. ("Shame on all of us for having no real protests," the source said in an email.)

The roundtable has until Oct. 15 to approve the list of road and transit projects that would be funded by the sales-tax measure.

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