Response to recent conversation

Atlanta Forward readers commented on last week's columns about the desperate public transportation situation in Clayton County and how it has hurt the local economy. Here are some select comments:

Transit Advocate: Joining MARTA would allow Clayton to raise more money for transit than ever before. One problem with C-TRAN is that it had to compete with other government services for its share of the budget. A one-cent MARTA sales tax would be outside the regular county budget and would provide a long-term source of money dedicated to transit. In addition to providing bus service, MARTA could build the Clayton portion of commuter rail between Atlanta and Macon. This affordable solution would allow passenger trains to share tracks with freight trains, as is done in many cities around the country. Rail stations in Forrest Park, Morrow, Jonesboro and Lovejoy would add value to walkable downtowns. Clayton County needs this. All metro counties need this. Clayton County can lead the way.

How they can do it now: Why is there no jitney bus system providing transportation? Several private bus lines run in DeKalb and Fulton along Buford Highway right now. Surely there is an entrepreneur somewhere who can make this work in Clayton County. Why wait for your broken-down county government to do it?

Mama Says: Public transit is a service best provided by government after government's other functions are funded, not as a term of endearment for the politicians seeking votes. The simple fact is that 98 percent of taxpayers should not be asked to pay more taxes so 2 percent can have a ride, especially when that very system burdens the coffers to the tune of $8 million each year. Just to put it in perspective, that's $80 million in the red over 10 years, folks. Do we really have that kind of money to throw at any issue?

Dusty: Sounds like the citizens of Clayton County need to put their heads together and figure out how they can solve this problem themselves. How about some car pools? How about a private bus system? If there are a great number of people who want to ride a bus, as indicated here, it seems like a bus line would pay. If so, talk to your country officers again. Crying in the wind about seniors and floor-sleeping workers will do no good. Use your head to solve your problems and not depend on someone else to do it for you. Then something good might happen, including self-determination and independence.

Just the Facts: C-Tran service was terminated because there was not enough paying customers to cover the expense of the system. If they would not pay then, why do you think they (citizens) will pay now?