Hours after last week’s I-85 bridge disaster, Fulton County Commissioner and mayoral candidate John Eaves emailed supporters touting his experience in transportation matters and knocking Mayor Kasim Reed’s response.
“We need leaders who have a vision, not those looking for solutions used during the 1996 Olympics,” Eaves wrote. “We need leaders who roll up their sleeves to develop robust public policy, not people who roll up to a scene because there are cameras.”
PAST COVERAGE: 85 disaster quickly becomes political
On Wednesday night, Reed clapped back.
“It’s not like it was an outdated plan,” he said. “We shut down Atlanta for two weeks during the Centennial Olympics. That’s the closest example we’ve had. Some people who are not responsible for running anything made jokes about referring to MARTA. I think MARTA has been responding nicely.”
We talked to Reed briefly during the red carpet stroll that preceded an advance screening of Atlanta-filmed “Fate of the Furious.” It’s No. 8 in the “Fast and Furious” franchise, to be followed by at least three more.
“I just hope they keep coming back to Atlanta to shoot,” Reed said.
The movie, starring Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock Johnson” in the central roles with Tyrese Gibson and Atlanta’s own Ludacris, who both appeared at Tuesday’s event, centers around high-end, high-powered cars zooming around at breakneck speed. Nothing like the snail’s pace crawl Atlanta motorists are experiencing these days.
MARTA, though, is experiencing such a spike in ridership that some stations’ parking lots have filled to capacity in recent days.
“On this night that this disaster occurred, I said everybody needed to get familiar with MARTA,” Reed said.
Looks like many folks heeded the mayor’s advice. Want to join them? Here’s a guide if you’re new to the transit system.