O’Hayer: Can MARTA survive another year without a transportation plan that includes some loosening of the restrictions that it faces on how it spends the tax revenue it gets?
Ralston: I’ve been trying to understand how MARTA got in the problem they’re in. I think that we have to have a better understanding of what brought us to this point before we know how to get out of the problem.
Oh OK. So let me get this straight. The House Speaker of the State of Georgia, which itself is dealing with a massive $4 billion+ deficit, doesn’t understand that during what is termed a “recession” that tax revenue declines because people stop buying stuff? Well, that certainly explains a lot.
O’Hayer: One thing that advocates say is, MARTA has had very little, if any, support from the state for years. Most major regional transportation systems have that from their states.
Ralston: I’m not sure MARTA has ever had very much support from the state. It was never designed to be state-supported. It’s an important part of a large transportation infrastructure in Georgia. But I think before we have any kind of serious discussion about how we right the ship, we need to find out how we got into the storm.
Silly rabbit, MARTA was never designed to be state-supported! In our infinite wisdom, we designed it to be funded purely by an ever-fluctuating 1-cent sales tax! What I want to know is why can’t a static transportation system adjust to erratic shifts in income??
O’Hayer: Is there time for that?
Ralston: Probably not this session. I mean, that’s going to have to be an extended discussion looking at all the things I’ve mentioned. And I think that would be a discussion that would take a lot of time. More than 40 days.
Yes, this is very complicated stuff. Might even take 40 years, it’s so dern complicated.