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MARTA facing larger-than-anticipated budget shortfall


It looks like things are going to get worse for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) before they get better. The latest economic forecast issued for the agency last month by the Georgia State Economic Forecasting Center predicts MARTA's current fiscal crisis will worsen by an additional $10 million.

MARTA also will have a cumulative loss of more than $1.2 billion in sales tax revenue during the next decade, an increase of $588 million compared with a fall 2008 report, according to the center.

"This latest forecast truly underscores the magnitude and severity of the economic times that we are currently dealing with," said MARTA's General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Beverly Scott in a prepared statement. "There is no way MARTA can manage the continuing slump of this economy with our current resources."

Next week, the authority will hold a series of meetings to inform the public about the fiscal crisis, review cost-reduction and revenue-generation options, and elicit input. MARTA officials are considering whether to implement fare increases, hike parking fees and cut service to help balance the budget for FY2009, which begins July 1.

Last month, MARTA announced it faced a budget shortfall of $60 million in the current fiscal year.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/5/2009