Stacey Abrams and Erick Erickson agree on something: MARTA in Gwinnett

By Jim Galloway

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

As we’ve reported, the Tuesday vote on a one-cent sales tax to bring a MARTA rail link into Gwinnett County, along with 50 miles of bus rapid transit, is likely to be a close one.

Early voting ended just a few hours ago. Go Gwinnett, the group advocating for the referendum, has just put out its closing messages – which address both sides of the political spectrum.Stacey Abrams, the former Democratic candidate for governor and future candidate for president, U.S. Senate or governor, has cut a 30-second radio ad for the cause, which we’re assuming will get broad play. A quick transcript:

“This is Stacey Abrams with a message for Gwinnett residents. On Tuesday, March 19, I urge you to go out and vote ‘yes’ to expand MARTA to Gwinnett County. It’s about more than just traffic. Economic mobility requires actual mobility.”

The more nuanced endorsement – a surprise, really -- comes from WSB Radio host and conservative pundit Erick Erickson. From the press release:

“I am increasingly in favor of increasing heavy rail transport systems,” Erickson said. “There’s no more land out there to add lanes to these interstates around here. We continue to have people come into Georgia … and very limited potential for surface transportation infrastructure growth.”

“If you want to be able to continue to drive into your office in Midtown, downtown Atlanta, Buckhead from the suburbs, we have to do something. Frankly, we spend taxpayer money to build roads, we can spend taxpayer money to dig tunnels and put heavy rail trains on to bring people back and forth to their work….”

Erickson’s message to Republicans is a very specific one:

“The demographics are shifting whether you believe it or not. If Republicans are going to have any say about mass transit in Gwinnett, this is the time to approve it. If you don’t do it know, it’s going to come back. If you want to be a part of the conversation in how the county embraces the future, vote yes on Tuesday. It’s time to support something like this. The alternative is 20 mph commutes both ways.”

Molly Bloom