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4/7/2009



Rail News: Passenger Rail

MARTA holds out hope for state funds


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The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) is urging Gov. Sonny Perdue and other state leaders to call a special legislative session to address transportation and MARTA funding issues.

During the 2009 General Assembly, which ended April 3, state legislators did not pass legislation to provide regional or state transportation funding, or lift restrictions on the use of MARTA's capital reserve funds. The authority has been lobbying state legislators for permission to access $65 million in its capital reserve account to fund a gap in MARTA's operating budget.

In the meantime, the agency will unveil a proposed FY2010 budget later this month that will include mandatory 10-day furloughs for non-represented staff, deferral of merit-based increases for non-represented employees, increased employee healthcare contributions, and reduced advertising and travel expenses.

Even with the cost-reduction measures, the agency is facing a $24 million shortfall in the upcoming fiscal year because of declining sales tax revenue. If the state does not approve additional funding or free up MARTA's capital funds, the agency will consider fare and parking fee increases, service cuts, headway adjustments and layoffs.



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