Former Gov. Nathan Deal endorses Gwinnett MARTA referendum

By Amanda C. Coyne

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Former Gov. Nathan Deal said Friday that he wants Gwinnett County residents to vote “yes” for a public transportation partnership with MARTA.

Deal said adding more transit options — including heavy rail connected to MARTA’s Gold Line — is “what’s right for Gwinnett County.”

His letter of support came via email from the Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce. Deal, who departed office in January, is the highest-profile Georgia Republican to endorse the referendum.

Deal said public transportation is increasingly a key factor in attracting businesses interested in relocating to or expanding in Georgia.

“The Gwinnett MARTA proposal answers the call to address the gravest threat to Gwinnett’s future: traffic congestion,” Deal said in the letter. “As governor, I consistently sat across from CEOs who were considering a relocation or expansion in Georgia. In each meeting with a prospect considering the metro area of our state, the first two questions were ‘do you have transit?’ and ‘how far is this location from Hartsfield-Jackson Airport?’

“More and more, large, high-paying employers would not even consider locations within metro areas that don’t offer robust transit options for their employees. Despite its many offerings, Gwinnett wasn’t considered eligible by many of our 818,000 jobs we created over the last eight years in the state!”

Molly Bloom