Democrat demands special session for transit after Georgia highway meltdown

Democratic state Sen. Elena Parent took the surprising step of urging Gov. Nathan Deal to call a special session to pass a “meaningful transit funding bill” in the wake of one too many highway debacles.

There was no immediate public comment from the governor’s office, but suffice to say that he’s unlikely to take such a step.
Expect a new round of legislative debate next year over dedicated transit funding. House Speaker David Ralston and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle have both emerged as transit champions, and a lame-duck Deal might be more willing to stake his political capital on statewide funding for the projects.

Transit advocates came close in 2015, when $75 million in bonds for transit was used as a bargaining chip to earn Democratic support for a sweeping transportation bill. The new law, House Bill 170, provides about $900 million a year for road and bridge improvements, but it was criticized as an unnecessary tax hike by some conservative activists.

Still, the funding is a one-time commitment, and Georgia remains one of the few states that doesn’t provide regular funding for the vast majority of its transit operations. (The lone exception is the Xpress bus service by the Georgia Regional Transit Authority, which receives state subsidies.)

By the way, Atlanta’s spate of interstate disasters has prompted the photo- posted above – to zip around the halls of a certain Atlanta-based transit agency.

Insider’s note: This item was ripped and expanded from the Morning Jolt.

Reader Comments 0

71 comments
commonsensevoter001
commonsensevoter001

This region needs good, reliable REGIONAL transit. This entire region is suffering because of the ignorance that exists around how we're the biggest region in the country not to have a state-supported transit system. I have family in Denver where in the suburbs they've got transit better than even neighborhoods of Atlanta. They all voted to tax themselves, and they did so by wider margins than in the urban areas. We're the ones that are clueless, and need to wake up to the fact it's about time we talk about transit funding in Georgia. If an I-85 bridge collapse can't get you to see that, good luck to you! 

Mary Reynoso
Mary Reynoso

The whole state of Georgia needs to be addressed the roads are terrible, most need repair and congested areas need to be taken care of

Shameka Andrews
Shameka Andrews

I had no clue that there are so many idiots in the state of Georgia. There are so many people that do not live in the city of Atlanta or Fulton County but work in the metro areas that are negatively impacted by the infrastructure issues. I just don't understand how anyone could say that this is not an issue for the entire state.

Effie Jones
Effie Jones

How can the democrats demand anything from Georgia Tax Payers? You do enough damage already! You need to start cleaning it up! That will take a long time!

Erik Moore
Erik Moore

The state is 100% owned and RJ. By the GOP, aside from Fulton and DeKalb counties, the entire state is one huge GOP slush fund. What the hell are you even talking about?

Brenda Addison
Brenda Addison

A waste of time and space . Anything to get attention . Why don't you release the TRUTH about it and move on ? ? ? ?

Erik Moore
Erik Moore

Conservatives sure have no problem putting in less than they get back don't they. If Atlanta kept its tax revenue in Atlanta and did not have to carry the whole state, you would sure be singing a different tune wouldn't you?

Rusty Burnham
Rusty Burnham

Everyone around Atlanta has to carry Atlanta.....look it up

Erik Moore
Erik Moore

You were in the military? Doesn't get any more socialist than that. My taxes pay for your room, board, education, supplies, transportation, etc....

Joe Scarpaci
Joe Scarpaci

For all of the anti public anti transit people please tell me how you get to work? Do you walk? Ride a bike? Teleport? What pays for the road system? If you've use public transit any where how many big screen TVs do you see on the bus? ATL, Fulton & DeKalb have been carrying the burden of MARTA from the start! Our insane addiction to the car culture & blindness to the environmental damage is making thoughtful engaging discussion impossible! Atlanta is way more than ITP! From Athens to Carrolton, Gainesville to Lagrange, Ball Ground to Barnesville are all part of the megapolis we call Atlanta. More twelve lane highways is not the answer! We must swallow the NIMBY attitude or ATL will be the hole Ted Turner predicted thirty years ago.

Jerry Dyck
Jerry Dyck

It's a travesty if we don't look for better transportation solutions.. I don't care if you're a democrat or republican.. these traffic problems in Atlanta really need to be addressed, this should not be political and we should all demand improvements!!!

Sam Nicholas
Sam Nicholas

Amtrak gets a fed bailout nearly every year, because DC politicians in the upper NEast use it. GOP resistance to mass transit expansion will be the main reason why they will lose hold in the metro counties. Ppl are tired of the ever worsening traffic and inefficient buses. The bus lobby is strong in Cobb and if you follow the money from the bus corps you'll find out why the resistence to rail in Cobb.

Nelms Graham
Nelms Graham

Amtrak loses money every year. Time to either raise rates or shut it down.

Tracy Sample
Tracy Sample

Companies leaving Gwinnett County, cite lack of mass transit as their reason why. Our elected officials are finally waking up to this fact.

Larry Williamson
Larry Williamson

They don't need a special session. The moyor of Atlanta and the Fulton county commissioners need to figure out a way to fund it if they want it. Transit is a atlanta Fulton county problem. Not a Georgia problem.

Larry Williamson
Larry Williamson

No they are not. That is Atlanta's problem. If the people of Atlanta and the politicians of Atlanta want Marta they need to pay for it. The business people that come to Atlanta don't ride marta.

Larry Williamson
Larry Williamson

The travel problems you have are real. I go through Atlanta occasional. I sympathize with you for your problem. But it's not my responsibility to solve your travel problems. You have elected officials that need to do their job instead of playing politics and solve yours and their problem.

Jana Stokes
Jana Stokes

You stay in hick vile. You have know idea the travel problems here

A Ayodele Smith
A Ayodele Smith

If it wasn't for metro Atlanta (and Savannah), nobody would ever want to visit Georgia or locate their non-agricultural business here. We'd basically be East Alabama. So yeah, Atlanta's problems are "your problems."

Erik Moore
Erik Moore

Was it Atlanta's job to fund roads in Macon? No, of course not, but as a state we collectively maintain our roads. Remember, the metro Atlanta area makes up 85% of the states population, without Atlanta, GA is basically like Alabama or Mississippi....... You need is more than we need you.

Erik Moore
Erik Moore

The Atlanta metro area is 85% of the states population. If we didn't have to pay for the whole state then Fulton could be majestic. But us libs in cities pay for those that chose to live outside of the city. It's just like America. Blue states fund Red states. Without the collective blue money, the rural areas would still be dirt roads love. That's a fact. Your remaining 15% can't fund the rest of the state. As I said, you need us more than we need you. Without Atlanta, you are basically living in Alabama. It's ok, I know you bruise easily, you should go easier on yourself.

Larry Williamson
Larry Williamson

If Atlanta has 85% of the state's population atlanta can solve 85% of the transit problems all by itself.

Brandon Paxton
Brandon Paxton

Efficient public transit is essential to a major metropolitan area. If you want to keep the jobs coming, you must upgrade and maintain your infrastructure to stay competitive. Atlanta is tired of taking up the slack from nothing more than pathetic ignorance and blatant racism.

Joel Rea
Joel Rea

Don't expect much. This is Georgia, and we know who runs it -- republicans!

Nelms Graham
Nelms Graham

Georgia's finances are in the "Black", not the red.

Renee Rainey Johnson
Renee Rainey Johnson

Georgia's finances may be in the black but the state is in the red!! Traffic sucks, our infrastructure is falling to pieces and Governor seems to not care at all.. So yeah NOT SPENDING funds on the state to keep it up and running really sucks..

Erik Moore
Erik Moore

In the black because of the economic engine which is Atlanta....

John Guzzardo
John Guzzardo

To all of you screaming about "let it run like a business" think about this...if your bank is Wells Fargo or JP Morgan Chase, you have the FDIC, a government created and partially taxpayer funded corporation, to thank for your bank accounts not being vaporized. Wachovia died and Wells Fargo bought it on sweetheart terms with FDIC backing of the money. Chase purchased Washington Mutual as well as DOZENS of other small banks in Georgia. So spare me the "limited government" arguments: without government intervention in the 1930s most of you would be destitute because of Wall Street excess. Please stop being hypocrites.

Sean Kristian Miller
Sean Kristian Miller

Actually most economic studies suggested that the new deal programs only made the problems of the depression worse than they already were, and that the US didn't begin to rise out of it till post world war 2 pre Korean War. This was due to the fact that we were the only ones capable of producing anything while the rest of the world had their industries bombed into dust for the time being.

Nelms Graham
Nelms Graham

Socialism always works, untill you run out of other peoples money.

Joe Scarpaci
Joe Scarpaci

Sean the Great Depression was so bad that the do nothing Hoover administration had us at the edge of total societal collapse! There was true fear that our nation could not survive the next few months much less the decade. The programs that were passed did quite well until the mid 80's which then set up the Great Recession. The veteran bills passed at the end of WW2 & the massive works programs in the national defense highway system, NASA etc took advantage of our intact infrastructure as we rebuilt Europe & Japan. That's what made us the power house of world economy.

Tracy Sample
Tracy Sample

Sean Kristian Miller "This was due to the fact that we were the only ones capable of producing anything while the rest of the world had their industries bombed into dust for the time being." So there was nothing wrong with the New Deal per se, we just didn't have enough customers for our products yet.

Sean Kristian Miller
Sean Kristian Miller

Also you forget that we cut taxes a lot for what they were at the time, withdrew a lot of new deal programs, and weren't rationing things like food and toilet paper to pay for the war effort.

John Guzzardo
John Guzzardo

Fast forward to 1989 and the S&L crisis, then to 2008 and the Greet Recession. Without the FDIC, the United States would likely be fuedal.

John Guzzardo
John Guzzardo

Also, don't forget the REA (Rural Electricification Authority) and TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) DID help increase argicultural productivity. Do you really think electric companies would have actually invested money to electrify farms hundreds of miles away back then? Not a chance.

John Guzzardo
John Guzzardo

Joe Scarpaci Oh yeah, that MASSIVE socialist program involving federal funds called the Interstate Highway System, which was built initially for national defense to move troops and supplies from base to ports and airbases quickly.

Sean Kristian Miller
Sean Kristian Miller

I mean I wouldn't call the burning of crops during the dust bowl increasing agriculture productivity.

Rob Danner
Rob Danner

Where do the fares for transit go?

Brian Haulk
Brian Haulk

Spend it on roads not a Transit System that will only create More Crime and drain the taxpayer and Georgias Bank Account!

Nelms Graham
Nelms Graham

Hite Hubbuch Really, simply take a look at the crime rates for the areas of Atlanta that are served by Marta and compare those rates for those in the other areas not served.

Carol Wells Allen
Carol Wells Allen

What? The entire community benefits from mass transit. Less traffic, less wear and tear on roads, less wear and tear on personal cars, fewer traffic accidents (which results in decreases traffic jams, fewer accident related injuries and decreased car insurance rates), increased productivity/tax base/consumer spending (those wo cars are better able to find employment bc they can get to jobs, which means money in their personal pockets and the govt coffers), increased tax base and decreased unemployment due to increase in businesses moving to area as a result of strong mass transit, which translates into ability to hire needed employees (ex Mercedes Benz ( sandy springs), State Farm ( Dunwoody), multiple tech companies (midtown).

Erik Moore
Erik Moore

Midtown? The Highlands? Georgia Tech? Lindbergh? Buckhead? Huuuuuuge crime areas! So stupid.....

LaTosha Arnold
LaTosha Arnold

Soooooo the crime rate in Gwinnett is due to MARTA? Crimes can occur anywhere. BTW, Erik you're all over these comments!!! Love it!!!