The vandalizing of Atlanta streetcars two weeks ago served as the pickle on top of what can only be described as a crappy September sandwich for the nascent transit system. It's come to light that at the beginning of the month, the City of Atlanta and MARTA received a letter from the Federal Transit Administration, and it was hardly compliments and roses.
The AJC reports that the letter contained strong admonishments and listed at least half a dozen "critical issues" plaguing the system, including problems with suspended services in July, failure to "maintain contracts with vendors for maintenance services" and "significant leadership and staffing vacancies," among other concerns.
In response, Mayor Kasim Reed and MARTA director Keith Parker acknowledged the issues, while citing $1.5 billion in development spurred by the transit system and the estimated 600,000 riders it's attracted. (Hey, who doesn't like a free ride?) Another disconcerting facet is that, according to the AJC, the ongoing problems could jeopardize a new federal TIGER 7 grant worth $29.3 million — money Reed hopes to use to extend the Beltline's Eastside Trail.