I’m sorry to have to be so blunt, but I do want to get your attention before you do something again to reinforce your perception among the rest of Georgia. It’s not that you don’t mean well, but bless your sweet hearts, sometimes you make decisions which make the life choices of 17 year old meth heads look reasonable by comparison.
There’s that whole issue of school accreditation. Then there’s the fact that you are still considering whether to re-elect a Sheriff who is still under indictment from his miserable single term in office. These are not exactly moves your local Chamber of Commerce uses to attract industry to your area. In fact, it’s the kind of stuff that causes home prices to drop as people to move away in droves.
So why do I bring up this unpleasantness? To keep you from doubling down on the stupid. It appears that you are about to try and join MARTA – BEFORE?!? the November elections.
Really now? Let’s help you take a step back from this ledge.
Thomas Wheatley brings us the rational in Creative Loafing:
“My primary goal and concern is to bring back public transit yesterday,” says state Rep. Roberta Abdul-Salaam, D-Riverdale, who’s working with Friends of Clayton Transit, a coalition of several groups, including residents, business owners, environmentalists, bus and rail advocates, civil rights groups and clergy, to bring back public transportation.
Abdul-Salaam and other supporters want Clayton County Commissioners to give voters a chance to decide whether they should pay an extra penny on every dollar to fund those routes — and potentially expand heavy rail or even build commuter rail lines. But Salaam stresses that county officials need to take action.
C-Tran, Clayton County’s local bus system, ceased operations in 2010 after commissioners voted against funding the service during a budget crunch, leaving thousands of straphangers — many of whom lacked access to a car — with few options.
OK, so you’ve established there’s a need. Now let’s talk about what you also have: Political leverage.
Right now, MARTA is the bastard child of Georgia transportation. It is a whipping post, structured to fail, with said failure to serve as a monument why transit should not be allowed to creep into lily white suburbs.
It receives no support from the state, but receives “oversight” in the form of restrictions on how much (or how little) of fare box revenue can be used to fund operations and maintenance. As such, the system remains cash strapped by design, choked of the ability to correct many known inherent flaws, all the while serving as something corrupt suburban public officials can point to when they need a scapegoat to redirect the ire of an irate public searching for examples of public corruption.
Nothing would please Republican leaders right now more than the county with the highest concentration of African Americans to join the system as it currently exists – broken, underfunded, and handcuffed – without having to address any of these inherent flaws.
Do not fall into this trap.
Fulton and DeKalb counties are attempting to use the defeat of T-SPLOST to generate equity for their taxpayers who have built the system’s backbone over the last 40 years. If you choose to join this system before much needed changes are made at the state level, you are throwing away their leverage, and your own.
If you join now, Republicans will be able to continue to scapegoat MARTA without change, noting that “the people of Clayton were willing to join the system as-is”. There will be no state funding. There will be no lifting of the capital expenditure minimums. And there will be less of a chance that MARTA rail will ever see another county in the metro area.
Clayton County has a real need for its citizens to have transit options. To accept MARTA as it is will permanently have MARTA sitting at the back of the bus when it comes to regional transportation priorities, however.
Be patient Clayton County. Hold out for a better deal.