The Georgia House has passed a bill to privatize parts of MARTA. Facing a $30 million a year deficit, the measure would privatize its para transit bus service as well as back office functions within the next five years.
“MARTA is not an industry, it’s a government authority and frankly it can take some lessons from the private sector… so it operates more efficiently,” says bill sponsor Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Brookhaven).
Democrats complain it could cost MARTA federal funding.
“There is so much confusion over whether federal funds will be lost, it makes me feel very uncomfortable,” says Rep. Pat Gardner (D-Atlanta).
She also complains that the new general manager has not had enough time to make sufficient changes to the transit system.
Rep. Al Williams (D-Midway) blames the state for MARTA’s debt problems.
“MARTA is the child of an absentee father, that’s why he’s in the position he’s in,” he says.
The bill passed the House along party lines and now goes to the Senate.