Atlanta Has Big Transit Plans

Atlanta needs federal funding to make its light rail and bus service dreams a reality, but it already has $2.5 billion in sales tax revenue to work with.

2 minute read

May 24, 2018, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

MARTA Trains

Rob Marmion / Shutterstock

Thomas Wheatley reports from Atlanta, where MARTA officials recently presented their vision for spending the $2.5 billion in funding approved by voters in 2016 through a .5 percent sales tax.

The largest investment in Atlanta transit since MARTA was built more than 40 years ago would add light rail, express buses to some of the city’s most congested corridors, and at least two “transit centers,” potentially shaping the development of the auto-oriented city for generations to come.

For more detail on the light rail portion of that vision, Wheatley adds:

According to a work session presentation obtained by Atlanta magazine, the MARTA tax funding would be spent on light rail lines along a portion of the segments of the Atlanta BeltLine in both southwest and northeast Atlanta. Light rail would also connect the Lindbergh station to Emory University, providing people another way to access the Clifton Corridor, one of the region’s largest job centers that is not near an interstate or currently served by rail transit. Two east-west light rail lines would also connect to the downtown streetcar, effectively linking the south and north segments of the BeltLine with transit. Finally, Greenbriar Mall in far southwest Atlanta would connect to MARTA’s Oakland City rail station via a light rail line. 

The article includes maps of the proposed light rail lines, early details on proposed improvements to bus routes and the proposed transit centers, and one big glass of cold water: the vision described during the working session would require matching funds from the federal government.

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