New lobbyists soon will help MARTA look for the state’s help in closing a projected $130 million budget deficit. The transit agency’s chief legislative overseer refuses to meet with them, but MARTA officials seem OK with that. They’re after bigger game. The lobbyists’ pitch to MARTA, led by Ellen Williams Reynolds, offers a plan to connect with key House and Senate Republicans. And the lobbying team includes a former executive of the Georgia GOP and the husband of state Human Resources Commissioner B.J. Reynolds.
MARTA board members who vote to hire a $160,000-a-year lobbying firm could lose their seats come 2010. So says state Rep. Jill Chambers, the transit agency’s chief nemesis in the Georgia Legislature. As chairman of the MARTA Oversight Committee, she fired off an e-mail over the weekend threatening to eliminate the seat of any board member who supports the contract when the board meets Tuesday. Board chairman Michael Walls terms Chambers’ saber-rattling “outrageous.”