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Posts tagged with Georgia transit

Seems like everywhere you look, transit riders are feeling the squeeze from reduced or discontinued service. The cuts run deep in the Atlanta region, with C-Tran going dark this past March and MARTA announcing yesterday that it's cutting about 10 percent of its bus and rail service effective in September. Also, GRTA's express bus service will begin running out of funds next year.

While Atlanta is far from alone, the double-whammy of reduced sales tax revenues down and government budget cuts is taking its toll on transit across Georgia and the US. This picture says it all.

Courtesy: Funny Times

MARTA's Five Points station was the site of a rally Tuesday evening that brought together union officials, MARTA leadership, patrons and even the Rev. Jesse Jackson to raise awareness of the funding constraints that exist between maintaining existing operations and expanding service.

Against a backdrop of transit union workers donning t-shirts that read "Save Our Ride" -- and some wearing dust masks to decry the region's air quality issues, which would become worse without transit -- speakers made the case for greater control over transit dollars.

Facing reductions in service that could begin as soon as July 1 because of funding shortfalls, MARTA is asking for more flexibility in how it spends its money.

"It makes no sense," said Warren George, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, about the funding requirements. "It makes no sense to take a bus off the road and put 40 cars on the road."

"Public transit protects our environment," echoed Harry Lombardo, executive vice president of the Transit Workers Union of America. "A train or bus is the cleanest, greenest way to get from Point A to Point B."

Jesse Jackson offered up a good analogy: Atlanta has five major arteries (Cobb, Clayton, Dekalb, Fulton, Gwinnett). MARTA is the heart of metro ATL transit, but only two of the arteries have been working (Dekalb, Fulton), referring to the penny sales tax in those counties that subsidizes MARTA.

A grassroots virtual petition supporting transit nationwide, "Save Our Ride,"offers MARTA patrons a way to express their support for transit.

Transit union workers wore t-shirts at the MARTA rally to make the case for increased transit support.

Transit union workers and their families donned dust masks to call attention to the negative air quality impacts of reduced transit service.

Dr. Beverly Scott speaks at the Five Points MARTA station during last Tuesday's rally.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson took the podium to deliver an impassioned message about the vital role transit plays in Atlanta.

Attendees at the rally wore buttons encouraging support for transit by sending a text message.

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