From ajc www.theatlantic.com
MARTA directors found themselves handing out more than $62 million in contracts Monday while warning that the transit agency faces potential cuts in service if the state Legislature doesn't lift controls on its spending.
Board member Jim Durrett warned that if the Legislature doesn't permanently lift its requirement that MARTA spend half of the local sales tax money it receives -- its primary funding source -- on capital improvements instead of operations, then MARTA could be forced to "substantially reduce" service after 2013.
Because of the economic downturn, the Legislature had suspended the regulation from 2010 through 2013. Durrett said if restored, the rule will continue to "seriously restrict the authority's necessary flexibility to effectively manage its finances."
State Sen. Doug Stoner, D-Smyrna, said at a meeting last month of the Legislature's MARTA oversight committee, that the nearly four-decade-old regulation on MARTA spending should be lifted. "No other transit system in the country has this requirement dictating how it uses its money -- we don't require it of Gwinnett or of Cobb," Stoner said. "I've never heard any good justification why we have this rule. It is local money. It is not state dollars. Why shouldn't the local folks be able to make those decisions?"
full story at ajc