Tuesday, January 28, 2020

DeKalb commissioners delay vote on MARTA amendment

The DeKalb County Commission on Tuesday unanimously (7-0-0) deferred until next month action on a 15th MARTA contract amendment. Clayton and Fulton counties and the City of Atlanta are part of the agreement.

The amendment would allow "the collection of additional half penny and extension of time for the collection of the full one penny MARTA tax."

Commissioner Larry Johnson said the agreement would bring "much-needed assets into our areas of South DeKalb."

"We're not where we want to be, but we're not where we used to be," said Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson. "People need to know how expensive it is to maintain MARTA." She said that the amendment is independent of the idea of rail service to Stonecrest.

The amendment has been criticized by activist Ed Williams, who says "anybody who supports or extends the current MARTA contract and its amendments should be removed from office."

"Fifty years after the Civil and Voting Rights Acts, MARTA wants to deny citizens their right to vote in a referendum to extend the sales tax as the law requires. DeKalb and Fulton, and the City of Atlanta have been members for almost 50 years. What do we get for it? MARTA offers us more debt, no more transparency, no referendum, no new project list, no new train stations, and less control of our sales tax or investments," Williams wrote in a commentary for the Atlanta Daily World web site.

DeKalb County Commissioner Jeff Rader noted that the county's deadline for action is February 17 and failure to vote would be considered a sign of "disapproval."

Clayton County has delayed a vote on the amendment until Feb. 4.