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$4B Approved for Atlanta Transportation

Thursday, October 25, 2018

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The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority's board of directors announced earlier this month the approval of a $2.7 billion, 40-year program in funding that will help cover roughly $3.9 billion of transportation projects slated for Atlanta.

Known as the More MARTA plan, the endeavor will extend the agency’s services from the center of the city outward via roadways, light rail and bus rapid transit. According to The Architects’ Newspaper, this is MARTA’s largest strategic development in decades. Atlanta is also known for being the U.S.’s third-fastest growing metropolitan area, and poor public transportation has been a chronic problem.

More MARTA History

The approved version of the plan, which passed with a unanimous vote, is different than the original initially proposed in May, and has been two years in the making. The 17-project final plan includes 29 miles of light rail, 13 miles of bus rapid transit routes, bus station renovations and three arterial rapid transit routes, among other plans. (The arterial routes will serve the northern and southern parts of the city.)

Marilyn Nieves / Getty Images

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority's board of directors announced earlier this month the approval of a $2.7 billion, 40-year program in funding that will help cover roughly $3.9 billion of transportation projects slated for Atlanta.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in 2016, a half-penny sales tax was approved by Atlanta voters; the money was to go to transit projects. When a formal plan was announced in May, major revisions followed due to demands from Atlanta Beltline advocates; those pushing for the Beltline wanted more money for public transit along the 22-mile loop.

At the time, other Atlanta residents argued against the Clifton Corridor line, which would connect the recently annexed Emory University to the city’s larger system. (The argument pointed out that the Emory University area was not part of the city when the sales tax was approved.)

Over recent years, several outlying counties also voted to join MARTA, prompting the organization to expand service to those outer areas.

MARTA Plan Approved

The More MARTA program will be partially funded by the $2.7 billion generated from the half-penny sales tax. Other sources of funding, both private and public, will be sought to keep the program moving forward.

The light rail portion of the endeavor includes five miles of service along the Campbellton Line and four miles of upgraded service along the Clifton Corridor, among other adjustments and expansions.

“This is an important day in the history of Atlanta, and a particularly important day for the story of MARTA,” said Robbie Ashe, board executive director for MARTA. “But it is not the end of the discussion.”

Moving forward, schedules and costs for individual projects have yet to be determined. MARTA also noted that it will be educating riders on different transportation programs over the next several months. Simpler projects, such as expanded bus service, have already been implemented.

“As Atlanta’s population grows, so must our investment in equitable and accessible transportation options," said Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “With development plans spanning from Greenbriar in Southwest Atlanta to Emory University, today's MARTA vote helps move us closer towards becoming One Atlanta."

   

Tagged categories: Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Rail; Urban Planning

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