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Unions Oppose Plan To Privatize Atlanta Public Transportation

A Georgia transit union announced Monday that they are opposing plans to privatize parts of an Atlanta-based public transpiration system.

Amalgamated Transit Union workers are protesting plans by the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) to privatize certain operations such as paratransit, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The local union president said the plan to privatize MARTA will lead to outsourcing jobs. In response, MARTA’s board of directors laid out their plans to achieve financial solvency while insisting that they have no intention of leaving their workers behind.

“Early next month, Atlanta may wake up to shocking news: the dismantling and selling off of MARTA, our public transit system, to private companies” Curtis Howard, the president of Local 732 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, tells The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“MARTA Board Chair Robbie Ashe, CEO Keith Parker and the MARTA Board of Directors are promoting this scheme as ‘progress,’ using fancy titles like ‘public-private partnerships.’ They say their goal is to shore up finances,” Howard added.

MARTA’s board of directors rejected this criticism, maintaining the changes are necessary.

“The MARTA Board of Directors and the agency’s leadership team have an abiding respect and admiration for the hardworking employees who have faithfully served the traveling public over the past four decades. To continue that legacy of public service, the sobering reality is that MARTA must fundamentally change the way it conducts business,” a spokesman for MARTA explained to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The spokesman continued, “The one-cent sales tax collected in the city of Atlanta and Fulton and DeKalb counties, which funds most of MARTA’s operations, is a volatile source of revenue that’s entirely beyond our control. Change is rarely easy, but it’s absolutely critical to our long-term success – even survival.”

The spokesman praised MARTA’s “prudent and aggressive steps to get its financial house in order.”

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