If the referendum is approved next month, it will greatly expand Gwinnett’s transit system, adding four bus rapid transit lines and and seven bus routes along major corridors. It will add local bus service and expand paratransit availability, as well as hours for transit services. And it will extend MARTA heavy rail from the Doraville transit station to Jimmy Carter Boulevard.
Charlotte Nash, the Republican chairman of the county commission, championed the plan after voters rejected a 2019 proposal that would have allowed the county system to join MARTA. All three Republican commission candidates are opposed to the new plan, while the Democratic candidates all support it.
Muldrow said he thought this transit referendum looked “a lot different” than the one that failed last year. Pat Quigley, who voted against the resolution, said he though it was “a really dumb idea” for the party to take a position on the referendum.
“They didn’t really think it through, I don’t think,” Quigley said. “If the whole body had been involved, that would not be the decision, I’m quite confident.”
Alice O’Lenick, a Republican appointee to the election board, also voted against it. She said if the party wanted to take a stand, they should have done so before the primaries.
Joe Newton, who led last year’s push to defeat the referendum, voted for the resolution. He said MARTA is “astronomically expensive” and called it a health hazard as long as the pandemic is ongoing.
“I’m against bringing it up here,” he said. “It needs to be cut instead of expanded.”