Panel seeks advice as it studies Georgia’s transit future

A legislative commission is seeking professional help as it studies the future of mass transit in Georgia.

On Wednesday the House Commission on Transit Governance & Funding approved a request for proposal seeking a consultant to study the Peach State’s mass transit needs. The commission plans to select a consultant in September.

House Speaker David Ralston has asked the commission to study ways to integrate mass transit into Georgia’s statewide transportation system. The effort could pave the way for regular state funding of mass transit operations – long sought by transit advocates.

The chosen consultant will recommend short- and long-term investments in mass transit, as well as a governance structure to oversee the system. In metro Atlanta, an alphabet soup of agencies – MARTA, the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, Gwinnett County Transit, CobbLinc – provide various mass transit services. Some lawmakers believe consolidating those agencies might yield better, more efficient service.

The House commission – a group of local and state elected officials and representatives of various transportation agencies – is expected to study such issues for the next year and a half. However, with the consultant’s help, it may identify some interim measures that could be taken up by the General Assembly next year, according to Rep. Kevin Tanner, the commission chairman.

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