No hope for Clayton County
If you’ve been following the local transit funding news then you’re aware that HB 277 gave the opportunity for Clayton, Cobb, and Gwinnett counties to join MARTA this fall. No one expected Cobb or Gwinnett to actually jump on the chance, since they have a history of being anti-MARTA, even though this would be the best chance of Cobb getting that shiny new light rail they’ve been talking about. However, some of us were hopeful that it would happen in Clayton County.
Following the death of CTran, groups of folks out there were trying hard to make this happen. There were a couple of major setbacks, the first of which being that the nonbinding referendum wasn’t allowed to be on the July primary ballot. The thought was that if the nonbinding vote passed it would show the county commission how important transit is to the residents. But then the election office said the governor signed HB 1446, the bill that created the referendum too late for it to be included in the primary. This is debatable.
That nonbinding referendum will happen in November, but the binding one, HB 277, most likely won’t, I’m calling it now. Not that I don’t want it to, not that it wouldn’t be incredible for the county as well as the region, but because no one cares enough.
The Clayton County Commission outright refuses to vote for transit, with the exception of Chairman Bell. The MARTA board has taken the stance that they won’t act on the bill unless the commission asks them to, which isn’t going to happen. ARC is keeping quiet because they prefer to put their pull behind the 2012 TSPLOST instead. And to put the icing on the cake, the county is so apathetic that they re-elected the two commissioners up this past July. So I have no hope for any new transit coming to the area besides the jitneys. Maybe in the next few years.