Members of Atlanta's City Council say the city should look into MARTA taking over full operation of the streetcar after state officials threatened to shut the light rail system down.
At a transportation committee meeting Wednesday, council members grilled city and MARTA officials over how they’re addressing dozens of problems flagged by the Georgia Department of Transportation in a letter sent last month.
Councilman Kwanza Hall said that the city should let MARTA take full control of the system.
“MARTA's in the transportation business, so we should let the experts do it, make sure the funds are there, and send it in that direction,” Hall said.
Councilwoman Felicia Moore seconded the idea, adding that she’s often asked about MARTA’s role in the system’s daily operations.
“I think that we need to put on the table looking to see if it would make better sense for us to expand [MARTA’s] role,” Moore said, “or request by the city for MARTA to take more of an operational/maintenance role as it relates to this.”
The city and MARTA share responsibility for the streetcar, though the city is soliciting bids for a new private vendor. Currently, MARTA provides some daily oversight, but the city maintains and operates the system.
Both agencies testified an expanded MARTA role in streetcar operation was something worth considering.
Atlanta officials submitted corrective plans for 41 of the outstanding issues GDOT noted on Tuesday, which was the deadline GDOT had imposed. The city asked for a four-week extension on the remaining 19 items.
GDOT says it will take at least 10 business days to go through documents before it issues any conclusion.