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Clayton MARTA expansion is vital for county, region

Vote yes - it's a worthy investment

Four years ago, C-Tran, Clayton County's public bus system, shut down because of budget cuts and political cowardice. Since then residents of the county, which has one of the state's highest unemployment rates, have had to find a ride, call a cab, or walk on busy streets. They've been cut off from jobs, school, and basic necessities of life. That can all change through the polls.

On Nov. 4, voters will have their final chance to say whether they want to pay a 1-percent sales tax to fund MARTA bus service and (someday) commuter rail. If approved, the levy would raise approximately $49 million each year to fund bus routes linking Riverdale, Forest Park, Lake City, Morrow, Lovejoy, and other Clayton cities to MARTA's larger system. Half that cash would be placed in a special fund that could be used to snag federal funding for commuter rail line starting in East Point and snaking south, first to Jonesboro.

Approving the 1% sales tax is a no-brainer. The bus service would help connect the county, giving it an edge on north metro Atlanta by laying the groundwork for the first true commuter rail line in Georgia. Its supporters say it could also jump-start development in the moribund area surrounding Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and boost the economy. On a bigger scale, a strong showing at the polls would send a message to the shortsighted, tranti-transit General Assembly that bus and rail isn't just needed, it's wanted, and potentially wake up other county leaders who have dragged their feet too long on realizing MARTA's true potential. Vote yes.



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