A Norcross man has started a movement to bring push for a 2016 vote on bringing mass transit to Gwinnett County. Jack Snyder is the founder of Gwinnett Needs Mass Transit, and he took the opportunity to address the county’s Board of Commissioners on Tuesday during the audience comments portion of their regular business meeting. You can view Snyder’s comments here. Snyder told the board, “We have citizens who need this mass transit to commute to work going down to Atlanta. We also have businesses that are desiring of having individuals capable of arriving to their places of work by using mass transit.”
Snyder promoted Gwinnett Needs Mass Transit back in July, when an op-ed he wrote appeared in the online Gwinnett Forum website. In it, he laid out the need for transit, and tried to debunk some of the myths regarding mass transit and MARTA:
The environment for mass transit has and is changing in Gwinnett County, and with MARTA. As businesses relocate to Georgia, besides the offer of tax breaks for the company, the area’s mass transit also becomes an important concern to top officials in those companies. They know their employees must get around easily.
Millenniums [sic] moving to the metro Atlanta area want good schools, parks, and easy access to major events in the area, and with that desire, mass transit is a deciding enticement.
Mass transit station locations are a factor in higher property values to those housing options located nearby. Relocating millenniums want housing that is close to those stations and they are willing to pay for it, thus creating those higher property values.
Meanwhile, Atlanta Progressive News reports that Gwinnett Democrats, in conjunction with the Sierra Club, are working to bring transit to Georgia’s second largest county.
We are losing jobs, people can’t get to jobs, and it’s holding the entire region back,” Ilene Johnson, Communication Chair, Gwinnett Democratic Party, told APN.
“Business are leaving like NCR; we spent a lot of money to recruit NCR and now they are moving into Midtown [Atlanta],” Johnson said.
“The biggest thing we feel is needed is a change in leadership on the Gwinnett County Commission and we are going to work to get that,” Johnson said.
The county already operates express bus service to downtown Atlanta, along with local bus service, the bulk of which takes riders to and from the Doraville MARTA station. County officials announced recently that they were planning to update the county’s short and long term transportation plans beginning later this year.
Commission Chair Charlotte Nash, who is expected to run for re-election in 2016, has indicated that the county should renew its SPLOST next year rather than hold a vote on expanding transit or on bringing MARTA to Gwinnett. In August, many in the county participated in the Great Exchange, an effort to foster conversations about possible transportation changes or improvements of any type. According to Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District Director Chuck Warbington, the results of that effort are still being analyzed, and a report will be issued in coming weeks.