Scott on cuts and capacity, Flowers leaves TIA campaign, and TIGGER funds power Laredo

4 Dec

It’s difficult to remember the last time MARTA was adding rather than subtracting service. For years now, bus coverage has been attenuated and train headways have crept into the double digits, all in an effort to address budget shortfalls. But in an interview concerning the agency’s ongoing three-phase audit, MARTA’s general manager Beverly Scott described just how badly attempts at “cutting our way” back into the black have undermined the system’s functionality:

“We are operating at less than 30 percent of our capacity,” she said. “We have the ability to run our trains every 90 seconds (at peak times, MARTA trains run about every eight minutes). We need to have travel times that are competitive.”

  • Also from The Saporta Report:

Another member of the regional team charged with generating voter support for next summer’s transportation sales tax referendum has disembarked. Communications Manager Liz Flowers resigned in mid-November. Glenn Totten, former lead consultant for the campaign, resigned in August.

  • Another MARTA tidbit:

MARTA’s Laredo bus maintenance facility is now the site of what the agency says is “is the largest solar canopy in Georgia and the second largest structure of its kind at a United States transit system.”  The structure was built with $10.8 million in federal TIGGER grant funding awarded in 2009.  It provides cover for 220 bus parking stalls, which are lit by solar-powered LEDs. Laredo operates 24 hours a day and the new canopy’s photovoltaic cells are producing “enough electricity to offset a significant portion of this facility’s annual electricity consumption,” MARTA said in a press release.

Officials at Laredo bus facility ribbon cutting

Officials and technology company representatives attend the Laredo facility's solar canopy ribbon-cutting. Photo courtesy of MARTA

In addition to reducing electricity consumption and producing light for nighttime work,  the canopy will provide shade during the day. It’s expected to reduce the temperature underneath it by “between 20 and 30 degrees” during the summer, decreasing the need for air conditioning and fuel use by idling buses.

See the photo at Metro Magazine for a better idea of the canopy’s size.

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