Thrill of the Fight
Today will be another day for the record books for the fight. Today, there will be a hearing for Georgia Senator Brandon Beach’s MARTA Expansion Bill (SB 313).
I say it is a fight because it has been an absolute struggle for one generation to understand what another generation needs. I’m not talking about baby boomers vs. Millennials but more middle and upper class vs. lower class, car driver vs. alternative transportation, in-the-perimeter vs. outside-the-perimeter, and Atlanta vs. the rest of Georgia. If passing a marriage equality law and a healthcare reform act wasn’t enough to let the world know that we need to think about the brother man and the other man, I am pretty sure that transportation would also be another amenity that we would not be so selfish about.
Those currently against this revision are against it because they’re not getting anything in their district or that they were left out of the conversation, or that they don’t want free riders benefiting from the system. These claims are sophomoric and are shameful for someone who is supposed to be in an office serving “the people”. But hey, Donald Trump is a frontrunner for president. My permanent flight to Belgium is awaiting this election. This fight is not for a specific area of town. This fight is for THE REGION.
MARTA is a REGIONAL system. You may not think it because it doesn’t go to Marietta nor Norcross, but the plan before most of you little boys and girls could count to three was to send it to BOTH of these locations. Currently, buses connect to MARTA through their respective systems, but the transfers and headways are not sufficient for one to travel in a timely manner. Both bedroom communities depend on Atlanta for jobs and vice versa. Don’t ever think that any community in Metro Atlanta is not like another. We’re all one big ball of Atlanta, or at least that’s what you tell people when you leave the area. Not everyone knows where Lawrenceville is, but they know it’s a suburb of Atlanta. REGIONALISM.
To you that don’t care which way this vote blows, you might want to care. The same reason Mercedes-Benz moved here and NCR moved here could be the same reason your job may blow with the wind wherever else, IF they decide to keep you: The team didn’t like the climate and wanted a better option for their employees. In enters MARTA-not the only reason of relocation but the asset proved very worthy than the transit-rich New Jersey and the transit-poor Dayton, Ohio and now Gwinnett County. Think of the brother or sister that has to take two buses and two trains to travel a fraction of what you travel. Your annual airport trips on MARTA seem so meager.
For you that support it, come to the Capitol today at 1 PM and come show love. You are a big influence with the fight because either you need it to live or you cannot see others perish.
For you that don’t support it, imagine someone totaled your $55,000 E-Class and your only lifeline was MARTA. You would want it to be just as good as running around in your higher power automobile that we ALL constantly as taxpayers have to repair the roads that you run into the dirt. Maybe it’s time to put some money towards the emergency fund.
One more thing. Let’s look at this funding mechanism like a child’s growth. High-capacity transit projects aren’t built in a day. Nor is a child. Transit projects are expensive. Just like a child. They both need plenty of attention and maintenance, and when we don’t put money towards it, they are destined to fail. If MARTA fails, Atlanta fails. METRO Atlanta, that is.
Join the fight for Regionalism or leave.