Atlanta Proposed Rail Line to Become Bus Rapid Transit

MARTA officials argue that bus rapid transit will be faster and more cost-effective than the originally proposed light rail option.

1 minute read

February 15, 2023, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

MARTA bus with Atlanta skyline in background

Erik Gonzalez / MARTA Bus, Atlanta

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) is downgrading a planned light rail route to bus rapid transit (BRT) in an effort to cut costs, reports Tyler Wilkins in BizJournals.

“The plan involves running buses in dedicated lanes through the Druid Hills and North Decatur areas. The route would travel between the Lindbergh Center and Avondale rail stations.” The agency is also considering an arterial rapid transit (ART) route along Clairemont Avenue, which would put buses in shared lanes with traffic signal prioritization.

“It could cost up to $2.9 billion to construct a light rail line for the project, compared with $1.4 billion for BRT and ART, according to MARTA estimates in 2031 dollars.” Wilkins adds that operational costs are also lower for BRT than rail, and could be completed sooner than a rail line. Ride time would only be around a minute longer on the bus than the train.

“Assuming both BRT and ART routes make it into the final plan, anywhere between $400 million to $800 million is needed for the portion in DeKalb County, according to MARTA's estimates.” The Atlanta portion would be funded by the $2.7 billion More MARTA program, a voter-approved initiative that dedicates a half-cent sales tax increase to transit projects.

Monday, February 13, 2023 in BizJournals

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