Sen. Warnock, MARTA Chief Executive: Invest In Infrastructure And Jobs Will Follow

Georgia U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock is continuing to push for passage of legislation that will invest in infrastructure improvements across the country.

Warnock says doing so will not only add sustainability but will also create more jobs.

“When we talk about infrastructure, we’re talking about transit, rail, ports, housing, broadband and much more,” said Warnock. “As we’re coming out of this pandemic and looking into the future, what better time than now to invest in America?”

Georgia’s unemployment rate has fallen steadily over the past year, but remains above pre-pandemic levels at 4.3%. At the same time, some employers say they’re having problems filling existing positions.

“I think there’s a disconnect in some ways between the folks who need workers and the folks who are looking for jobs. One of the things I’m looking to do is to figure out how we can connect those two things. But as I’m talking to workers, they are certainly interested in getting back to work,” said Warnock.

Warnock was joined Thursday on a virtual press conference by MARTA CEO Jeff Parker to advocate for passage of the American Jobs Plan as well as the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act.

Parker says innovation in new technologies is made easier with assistance from the federal government.

“The biggest challenge we have as an industry is finding the funds to begin that transition from the fleets that we have today to a more modern electric bus fleet,” said Parker.

He also noted that MARTA recently received its first electric bus thanks to a grant from the Federal Transit Administration.

Parker says parts for trains such as flooring, lights, HVAC systems and rail car couplers are manufactured in Georgia – helping to create manufacturing jobs throughout the state.

“All of this equipment that will ultimately be used to expand our service, much of it is being built here in Georgia,” said Parker. “Transit agencies in California and New York City and in the Midwest are using our local companies here in Georgia to deliver their projects as well.”

Parker says MARTA will continue to invest in growing its service as metro Atlanta’s population continues to boom.

“We’ve got to support the growth of our transportation – and in particular our transit infrastructure — to make sure that we can continue to provide access to jobs, to make sure people can thrive,” said Parker.