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Former City Council member takes job at Atlanta Department of Transportation

Carla Smith.

By John Ruch

Carla Smith, the former Atlanta City Council member, is back at City Hall in a new job at the Department of Transportation (ATLDOT).

In a brief interview, Smith said she just started work assisting John Saxton, an ATLDOT official who acts as a liaison to MARTA and Community Improvement Districts, which are groups of commercial property owners that tax themselves to fund local projects.

“I’ve come back to work. I’m in the Department of Transportation,” said Smith. “…I’m really back. I’m so excited.” She said it’s a full-time job while indicating that the exact role is still being defined at this early stage.

ATLDOT did not have immediate comment.

MARTA is in the midst of reworking a list of priority projects funded by the “More MARTA” sales tax while promising quick progress on such programs as the Atlanta Streetcar extension onto the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail. Mayor Andre Dickens, City Council President Doug Shipman and the council’s Transportation Committee are pressuring MARTA for more transparency and quicker delivery of projects.

Smith served four terms – roughly 20 years – as the District 1 councilmember before deciding not to run again in 2021. She worked on enabling legislation for one of the biggest transit projects still in the works – the BeltLine – and on local planning for the redevelopment of the former Turner Field area in Summerhill and Peoplestown. She also was known for her role in the creation of the Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials.

Jason Winston now serves as the District 1 councilmember.


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  1. Dana Blankenhorn March 17, 2023 9:37 am

    We became friendly with Carla after a mutual friend became ill. (He’s getting better.) She’s a very nice person and a great advocate for rapid transit. She lives a CHARMed life. (dad joke.)Report


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