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23 March 2014

Dear Clayton County: Be Smarta, Join MARTA

Two years ago, a white boy from Cobb County tried to convince folks in Clayton County that joining MARTA would be stupid [Harper, Charlie (14 August 2012). Dear Clayton County: Quit Being Stupid. Peach Pundit. Retrieved on 23 March 2014.].

Today, this black man from Fulton County is urging his neighbors in Clayton County to be smarta and join MARTA.

Since the shut down of C-TRAN (Clayton County Transit) in 2010, metro Atlanta's traffic woes have only grown worse. Fuel prices keep increasing, as does the amount of time people spend in their cars getting from point A to point B. It makes good common sense for buses and trains to exist for the sole purpose of getting folks out of their cars and off the roads.

Four years ago, Clayton County had a chance to do just that. Four years ago, Clayton County had an opportunity to reduce the number of cars on Tara Boulevard, Hwy. 138, and Hwy. 85. Four years ago Clayton County had a chance to join MARTA, but they failed to act.

In 2010, Governor Sonny Perdue signed House Bill 1393 into law. Clayton County currently has a cap on its sales tax. Sales taxes cannot, by law, exceed 7% in Clayton County. House Bill 1393 removed that cap until 2012, giving Clayton County an opportunity to approve a 1% sales tax for MARTA. Unfortunately, within those two years, the Clayton County Commission took no action on submitting a binding MARTA referendum to the voters.

Fast forward to the present day, and you'll see Clayton with another chance to bring MARTA buses and trains inside the county's borders.

Governor Nathan Deal is poised to sign into law House Bill 1009, which gives Clayton County until 2016 to hold a referendum on joining MARTA. Once again, all it takes is the Clayton County Commissionm calling for the vote and placing it on the ballot.

MARTA can come to Clayton County, but only if residents there apply pressure to their local commissioners, saying they want MARTA in their communities.

Contrary to what others may write, Clayton County saying yes to MARTA would not make the life choices of 17 year old meth head look reasonable by comparison.

Saying yes to MARTA would be smart for Clayton County.