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09 September 2010

MARTA Must Die In Order For Regional Transit To Fly

House Bill 277, signed by Gov. Perdue back in June, created the Transit Governance Study Commission.

The 17-member panel brings together all the major players from GRTA, MARTA, Gwinnett County Transit (GCT), Cobb County Transit (CCT), the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and the state legislature with hopes of creating a truly regional mass transit agency for metro Atlanta.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Ariel Hart wrote, in her article, that state legislators may have "started demolition [...] on MARTA as it has existed for 40 years." [Hart, Ariel (2010-9-8). Transit patchwork under fire. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved on 2010-9-9.]

The Transit Governance Study Commission is tasked with examining the feasibility of combining all of the regional public transportation entities into an integrated regional transit body.

If this commission recommends that MARTA, GCT, CCT, GRTA and the now-defunct Clayton County Transit (C-TRAN) must come together, then Ariel Hart is right. MARTA, as we know it, is dead. But MARTA's death will also bring about the death of this unfeasible, piecemeal method of providing mass transit to metro Atlanta.

The Atlanta region does not need a dozen or so different bus systems all doing the same thing. It makes no sense, and it does not work. Each metro Atlanta county is bound to the fate of mass transit. We either unite or we fail. It's that simple.

State Representative Ed Lindsey was on point Wednesday when he said, "The status quo is not acceptable."

If MARTA, as we know it, must die in order for regional mass transit to fly, then so be it.

The commission's preliminary report is due by December 31, 2010. The final report, along with any recommendations and proposed legislation, is due by August 1, 2011. Listed below are the members of the Transit Governance Study Commission:

Criteria Member Details Email
4 Senators from the Atlanta Regional
Commission area appointed by the
Lieutenant Governor
Judson Hill R - 32nd district judson.hill@senate.ga.gov
David Shafer R - 48th district david.shafer@senate.ga.gov
Ron Ramsey D - 43rd district ronald.ramsey@senate.ga.gov
Steve Henson D - 41st district steve.henson@senate.ga.gov
4 Representatives from the Atlanta
Regional Commission area appointed
by the Speaker of the House of
Representatives
Ed Lindsey R - 54th district edward.lindsey@house.ga.gov
Pat Gardner D - 57th district pat@patgardner.org
Donna Sheldon R - 105th district donna.sheldon@house.ga.gov
David Knight R - 126th district david.knight@house.ga.gov
Chair of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid
Transit Oversight Committee
Jill Chambers
R - 81st district
jill.chambers@house.ga.gov
Chair of the Atlanta Regional
Commission
Tad Leithead
Chairman, ARC
tadl@mindspring.com
Chair of the Regional Transit
Committee of the Atlanta Regional
Commission
Kasim Reed
Mayor, City of Atlanta
mkreed@atlantaga.gov
Staff member from the Atlanta
Regional Commission selected by the
ARC Chair
Tom Weyandt
Director, Comprehensive Planning
tweyandt@atlantaregional.com
Executive Director of the Georgia
Regional Transportation Authority
Jannine Miller
Executive Director, GRTA
jmiller@grta.org
General manager of the Metropolitan
Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority
Beverly Scott
General Manager, MARTA
bscott@itsmarta.com
Cherokee Area Transit System (CATS) Jackie McMorris
Community Services Agency Director
jmcmorris@cherokeega.com
Cobb Community Transit (CCT) Faye DiMassimo
Director, Cobb County DOT
faye.dimassimo@cobbcounty.org
Gwinnett County Transit (GCT) Brian Allen
Director, Gwinnett DOT
brian.allen@gwinnettcounty.com