Atlanta Transit Plans Stall Due to Budget Concerns

With MARTA facing a potential billion dollar shortfall, the agency says it can’t fulfill its system expansion plan.

1 minute read

January 29, 2023, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Atlanta Rail Service

MARTA station in Atlanta, Georgia. | ReanC / Shutterstock

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) faces an “apparently insurmountable” budget shortfall that will prevent it from completing its planned expansion projects, reports Josh Green for Urbanize Atlanta.

The announcement came from MARTA CEO Collie Greenwood, who told the city council that growing construction costs and the complexity of transit projects have prevented progress despite a sales tax meant to fund transit expansion approved by voters in 2016. 

As recently as June of last year, MARTA officials said the agency was ‘well-positioned’ to go back to pre-pandemic operations and invest in new projects. Now, the agency could face a shortfall of as much as $1 billion and plans to propose seven projects that could go forward with the limited funding available. “Projects that appear likely to make the pared-down list of seven, per the newspaper, include renovations at Five Points and Bankhead stations, BRT lines through Summerhill and Campbellton Road, and bus system improvements (aka, Arterial Rapid Transit) down Cleveland Avenue and Metropolitan Parkway.” The agency also shifted some proposed projects from rail to bus rapid transit (BRT) to lower construction costs, among other factors.

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