Home > Transportation > Blame elected officials for lack of transit in South DeKalb

Blame elected officials for lack of transit in South DeKalb

August 10, 2011

I am a big supporter of public transportation. When I was in my early teens growing up in Indiana, my mother bought me a pass for our local bus system. I was the only one of my friends who knew how to catch the bus. When we moved to Georgia, the first thing I did was buy a MARTA card. I learned more about this city riding transit than most locals knew who had lived here all their lives. When we bought our house several years ago, one of our desires was it be close to mass transit. It all was a matter of choices. Unfortunately in South DeKalb, public transportation choices will be limited to buses. No rail of any sort for those of us who have been supporting MARTA for decades. The roundtable, that is deciding what projects to include in next years tax referendum, scrapped any idea of a train system running into South DeKalb. Instead they chose to link Emory with the Lindbergh area, and extend MARTA up to Cumberland in Cobb county. I am in agreement with the roundtable that the Emory/Clifton corridor needs more than  buses, but to extend rail to Cobb is really a slap in the face for us long time riders and supporters of MARTA. Cobb, along with Gwinnett, and Clayton, decide decades ago that they did not want public transportation. Only recently have they embraced the idea that some public transport is needed. Now Cobb residents get to enjoy the spoils of an already in place system that was paid for by Dekalb and Fulton residents. But what is even more distressing is that one of the two elected leader that repesents the county on this roundtable was rather dismissive of any sort of transit choices in South DeKalb. Here is what CEO Ellis had to say:

Transit addresses traffic and belongs where there is the greatest concentration of people,

He should have added on to that “who will actually use it”. MARTA has done the needed studies to for rail service in parts of the I-20 corridor. They have shown that it is a viable project. They have done environmental impact studies, and have presented it to the public. The only thing that stood in the way was funding. Now that there is a possible funding plan, the rug is pulled out from under our feet. All of this is due to a lack of political resolve by the elected officials that represent us. This is just one of many times where our elected representatives have failed us. From quality of life issues to economic development, the county, our state reps and even our congressmen fail us at every turn. They do this because they know there will be few if any repercussions for their inaction.  The rally for rail that Lee May held earlier this week was well intentioned, but a little too late. That should have been done earlier in the process to let the roundtable know exactly where we stood. Much of South DeKalb has been written off as ignorant and unworthy of proper representation. Until we hold our elected representatives to a higher standard, we will continue to get sub-standard representation.

  1. August 11, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    I was in support recently, but now I am wondering

  2. August 11, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Here are two of the people you should be most furious with:

    Harold Buckley
    This guy has been DeKalb’s representative on the MARTA Board for over 20 years. He is in real estate and it’s questionable whether his service on the MARTA board is to represent the citizens of DeKalb or his own business interest. MARTA rail has not expanded one bit since this clown joined the board, and bus service has been cut dramatically. The one thing that has grown is the size of the MARTA administration.

    Rail down I-20 to Stonecrest is a no-brainer. Anyone who drives I-20 regularly, not just during rush hour, knows how congested this highway has become. Harold Buckley needs to get off the board ASAP. I don’t know why our always missing in action CEO Ellis allowed Buckley to continue on the board, when he’s accomplished nothing of substance for the county residents he alledgely represents

    Robert L. Brown
    The same Robert Brown that was chair of the Grady Hospital Board, and a DeKalb rep on the board, while it almost went down in flames, is one of the most inside of all insiders in the county. Somehow he weaseled his way to be DeKalb’s rep on the all powerful State Transportation Board. Just like Buckley, there are questions where his true loyalty is. Brown is an architect who’s used his insider status to secure contracts with the school system and other gov’t type agencies. Is he on the transportation Board to represent us, or to raise his profile as an architect?

    Brown has done NOTHING for transit in DeKalb, the third most populous county in the state. There is a whole lot of gas tax coming from Dekalb gas stations and residents, yet the Georgia Dept. of Transportation spends little of it here. They’re too busy building a 23 lane highway in Cobb (75 at 595) or considering a tunnel under downtown Atlanta (yes, a tunnel!).

    DeKalb desperately needs rail, especially down the I-20 corridor. What has Robert Brown done for us? Zilch. It’s time to show him the door. No more long-time insiders like Buckley and Brown. Let’s get in some fresh blood, people who are committed to represent DeKalb residents, not their own selfish business interests.

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