MARTA close to resolving minority contracting dispute

MARTA is close to a deal to end a dispute with a minority subcontractor over its paratransit shuttle service for the elderly and disabled.

Gresham Transportation Services of Atlanta, the minority-owned company, says it's due a share of the paratransit work under a contract it had with the firm that took over the service for MARTA in 2016. That never happened, and Gresham later won an arbitration award from the firm that operates the service. But while it has recovered its costs and profit from that contract, Gresham has continued to press MARTA to get a share of the contract.

On Thursday MARTA CEO Jeffrey Parker said the agency is negotiating an agreement with Gresham, which he hopes will be ready by the MARTA Board’s February meeting.

“It was something I was hoping we’d bring to the board this month,” Parker told the board Thursday. “It’s just not there, in my perspective. It’s getting closer.”

A deal could end a contracting dispute that prompted a Federal Transit Administration investigation of MARTA. Gresham says MARTA has failed to abide by federal rules designed to ensure that minority- and women-owned businesses get a share of government contracts.

On Thursday, Gresham representative Jonathan Crumly told the MARTA Board he hopes the contract dispute will be resolved soon.

“We are ready to close this deal,” Crumly said. “We are ready to remove this stain and get this minority contractor back to work.”