On Monday, June 30th, MARTA celebrated its 35th anniversary of combined bus and rail service. Several elected officials and area leaders were on hand including Senator Brandon Beach, Senator Steve Gooch, Fulton County Commissioner Liz Hausmann and Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul among many others.
Speaking at the event, Mayor Rusty Paul expressed how important MARTA is for his community. He claimed the Sandy Springs area wouldn’t have had the same success-one that is very much worth noting, having more high rise office towers than entire Southeastern cities such as Charlotte and Nashville according to Mayor Paul.
The featured speaker, Integral Group CEO and Fannie Mae Chairman Egbert Perry related MARTA’s past struggles and current state to an evolutionary pattern similar to that of animal species. By that, he meant the way Atlanta is evolving into a cosmopolitan city where residents are realizing the benefits of MARTA. However, for MARTA to fill its full potential, Perry said, the help of many is needed at the city, county, and state levels to help make better connectivity happen. He also expended his support for Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) to help necessary improvements and expansion possible by accomplishing in 5-10 years what can take 50 years with public funds.
The event, called “The Way We Rode,” also featured several bus models ranging from the historic 1950’s era to MARTA’s brand new 2013 XN40. However, not to be outdone was a long-time MARTA employee that joined the agency during the Nixon Administration. Asked to stand when CEO Keith Parker was at the podium, him along with the rest of MARTA’s employees were gratefully thanked and appreciated by Parker who claimed that without them, MARTA would not be what it is today.
MARTA CEO Keith Parker also expressed his optimism of the looming Clayton Commission vote that would take place the very next day. Hopefully his optimism plays out as his agency and Clayton County try and work out a November ballot measure before the July 7th deadline. To read more on that development, click HERE.
The Council congratulates MARTA on the anniversary and looks forward to another 35 years and beyond.