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Privatizing MARTA makes no sense

In May, the AJC's Kyle Wingfield penned a multi-part opinion series about MARTA's financial woes. One possible solution the conservative columnist proposed was to privatize the cash-strapped transit agency's operations. MARTA board member Michael Walls, a labor attorney and former chairman, says Wingfield's idea might sound good on paper — but it would be neither feasible nor profitable in reality.

A recent column by Kyle Wingfield recommended privatization as a possible solution for MARTA’s financial problems. Wingfield claims that a private contractor would be able to operate MARTA with the same, inadequate funding sources while increasing service.

Wingfield’s sole rationale is that, since privatization has “worked” at other systems, then why not here?

Not so fast. All systems are different and must be evaluated individually. Beyond that, there are some fundamental reasons why it’s simply not possible for a responsible private operator to run MARTA’s bus service more frequently, efficiently — or profitably.



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