State Rep. Marin Calls for MARTA in Gwinnett County
(APN) ATLANTA — State Rep. Pedro “Pete” Marin (D-Duluth) held a press conference to introduced his resolution, HR 1033, asking the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners to work to ease the traffic congestion and listen to citizens’ demands to increase mass transit options.
Marin said he wants to continue the conversation to make sure Gwinnett County is not left behind on rapid transit.
Traffic congestion around Metro Atlanta and north on I-85 is usually gridlock during rush hours and is bad all the time.
“I would love to have a park and ride rail station at Indian Trail because the other day it took me one hour and a half to go nineteen miles to the Capitol,” Marin said.
Mass transit options are vital to ensure economic prosperity and economic development in the heavily populated areas of Gwinnett County.
The residents in Gwinnett want MARTA: A poll last year by Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce found sixty three percent of likely voters in Gwinnett County support the expansion of MARTA .
It is only some folks, mostly in rural Gwinnett who do not want MARTA.
Most polls show support for MARTA.
Rep. Marin envisions a MARTA rail line running from Doraville to Norcross, Gwinnett Place Mall, Gwinnett Center Arena, and an extension to Lawrenceville.
This would not only help alleviate traffic congestion in the area, but also spur economic growth.
MARTA is probably inevitable in Gwinnett County and most people realise that. Politicians are afraid to support it because it would require a one cent sales tax in Gwinnett County. They do not want to be labeled as raising taxes.
But that may be penny wise and pound foolish. A recent report by the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce found that for each dollar invested in transit, economic returns are quadrupled.
“I have over sixty thousand people in my district, and about forty percent are renters, who don’t always have a way to work,” Rep. Marin said.
Companies need workers who can get to work. If one does not have a car or if one spends hours in gridlock, they can’t get to work.
“I am testing the waters for a county-wide referendum. If nothing happens this year, I will bring it back next year. We will continue the conversation,” Rep. Marin said.
As APN reported last year, the Gwinnett Board of Commissions would have to approve putting the referendum on the ballot and the entire county voting for the MARTA extension.
That did not happen last year, in 2015, because of an education SPLOST referendum (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) that was occurring at the same time in Gwinnett County. The thinking was that it was too much to ask the voters to approve two sales taxes at once.
This year Gwinnett County may renew another SPLOST.
Meanwhile, another MARTA expansion bill, SB 330, authored by State Senator Brandon Beach, recently passed out of Senate committee.