Georgia Looking to Consolidate Regional Transit Agencies
A series of articles by David Wickert explains the growing political support for an overhaul of management and funding of mass transit operators in the state of Georgia.
In an article from early December, Wickerts reports that committees in the both houses of the Georgia State Legislature "are studying whether to consolidate local and regional transit agencies," with the idea that such structural changes could reveal efficiencies.
The second article explicitly states the incentive for the state's transit agencies to go along with the idea: "the prospect that the consolidation effort could produce long-sought state funding of mass transit operations in Georgia."
Georgia infamously provides almost no state funding to transit agencies. "This year the state provided $75 million for mass transit capital projects (like buses and transit stations)," explains Wickerts in the first article. "But with the exception of subsidies for GRTA commuter bus service, Georgia remains one of the few states that provides no regular funding for mass transit."
The second article also reports that the Senate Study Committee on Regional Transit Solutions released a final list of recommendations that calls for "'an all-inclusive solution in the area of transit governance and funding' that could be enacted by the General Assembly in 2018."
Astute observers of Georgia transportation politics will recall that the current efforts are only the most recent effort "to get the fractious Atlanta region to pull in one direction when it comes to fixing its traffic problems." Previous efforts, according to Wickert, have not resolved any of the state's regional transportation challenges, "like the failed regional TSPLOST campaign in 2012."