May 27, 2010
Meet Kyle Wingfield.
He needs to take my class in research.
Kyle writes for the AJC. He’s recently been writing a series on MARTA. Of course, we took notice. And of course, we must dissect his every argument. Starting with this article.
In this special nonsense, Kyle argues for the privatization of MARTA and how it can save MILLIONS of dollars if it were to privatize its bus service.
So why does this make good ole boy Kyle foolish?
You can’t privatize MARTA. Period. It’s a public entity that uses federal funds and therefore can’t be privatized. It’s against federal law.
Had someone done his homework, he’d learn the word he’s looking for in the case is outsourcing. MARTA can OUTSOURCE the operation of its bus service, but it can’t be made a PRIVATE entity.
Now that we have that notion out of the way, let’s take a look at his other points.
Kyle informs us that 11 of the 50 largest bus systems use this “outsourcing” model (that’s in quotations because he uses the word privatize, and he’s an idiot). These are cities like Phoenix, Las Vegas, Honolulu, and San Diego! Wow! That’s like SO important and SO like, a good argument for MARTA to jump on board too!
Except, Phoenix moves 133,000 a day, Las Vegas 167,000, Honolulu comes in at 1,700 and San Diego at 86,000. MARTA buses move 225,000 passengers a day. You want to compare a system that moves almost a quarter of a million people a day to one that doesn’t even move two thousand. That hardly seems like a bright idea.
How about you compare MARTA to our peers, Kyle? We’re up there with cities like Boston, San Francisco and Baltimore. I’m pretty sure those guys aren’t outsourced.
Finally, let’s take a look at the cost savings gained if we outsourced MARTA bus operations. Kyle estimates that MARTA would save $22 million a year, up to $43 million! Holy shit! Man, I wish I could run my finances like Kyle, then I’d be a billionaire or something!
If MARTA were to outsource their the operation of their buses, the company that would inherit the fun would also inherit the employees and labor contract. The number one expenditure of MARTA is salaries. Whatever company might win the bid and the contract, they can’t fire those employees or throw out the ATU contract, remember, those feds are some picky sons of a gun and those union members are protected. So the only cost savings gained would be the salaries of the handful of managers on MARTA’s side. The last time I checked, they weren’t being paid millions of dollars.
So Kyle, I do not accept your argument for privatization. Do your homework next time, buddy.