The MARTA referendum
and what that should mean to you

Diana Ward | Avant-Youth

It means your future is at stake.

If you live in Gwinnett County, you’ve probably been hearing things about MARTA expanding to a place near you. Maybe you heard it on a local news station or from a friend? Either way it’s not just hearsay. It’s real and it’s coming down to a vote.

A referendum, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “the principle or practice of submitting to popular vote a measure passed on or proposed by a legislative body or popular initiative.” In this case, the referendum in question is whether or not MARTA should be extended to Gwinnett County. On Tuesday, March 19, 2019, everyone of the legal age will be asked to vote for it.

Gwinnett County already has public transit, but this referendum wants to connect it to MARTA so that it will provide people with a plethora of options for travel. Hundreds of thousands of people drive in to and out of the county in order to go to work every single day. However, the current transit system doesn’t completely connect to MARTA, the transit system currently serving Metro Atlanta.

This vote is important because it will shape the landscape and the future. The Atlanta Press Club held a discussion on the proposed referendum, where they talked at length about how important it was for millennials to get out and vote. And it makes sense when you consider the far reaching implications that this bill will have for young people in Atlanta.

Diana Ward | Avant-Youth
Diana Ward | Avant-Youth

Not only will MARTA’s extension hope to alleviate some of the pain caused by traffic on i85 for one of Georgia’s largest and fastest growing counties, but it’ll also give you more independence.

Think about it. All you need is a little bit of money and you can go anywhere that MARTA and your legs will take you. You don’t have to depend on parents, guardians, or friends to pick you up and take you where you want to go. If you currently use Gwinnett County Transit (GCT), you’ll want to vote positively for this referendum. 

If you’re working or looking to start working, a positive vote on this referendum will help you get to and from your job and interviews. Using Uber or Lyft can be really expensive, especially if you’re working for minimum wage. MARTA is cost efficient and helps our environment by minimizing fumes emitted by personal vehicles through mass public transit.

Some people may believe that having public transit in their city will diminish their city’s “value.” They think that a transit system will make their community look poor, but this belief just isn’t true. Major cities in New York, and even California, fully utilize public transportation and no one thinks of these places as poor. In fact, most people in New York don’t even own their own vehicle, but not because they can’t afford one. It’s just unnecessary when there are cost effective ways to get around town.

Atlanta has become the New York of the South, as more and more jobs pour in to the city and the surrounding areas.Why not support the booming population and follow in the footsteps of New York and California? Why not support infrastructure and, therefore, the economy?

Get out and vote.    

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