MARTA Scales Back Expansion Plans

Atlanta’s transit agency is slowing its plans to extend its bus and rail lines, prompting criticism from city officials.

2 minute read

March 13, 2023, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

MARTA Station

ReanC / Shutterstock

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) is scaling back its expansion plans despite a voter-approved ‘More MARTA’ sales tax passed in 2016, writes Maria Saporta in the Saporta Report. The agency revealed that it plans to complete nine projects by 2028, with only one of them, the expansion of the Atlanta Streetcar, being a rail project. This is in sharp contrast to previous plans—in 2016, MARTA had as many as 70 projects in the pipeline. Saporta adds that the agency has downgraded some planned light rail lines to bus rapid transit (BRT), a move the agency says will save money and time.

While the agency has collected $394.8 million from the More MARTA tax, roughly 46 percent has been spent on bus operations and enhancements, despite an early projection that just 10 percent of revenue would go toward bus enhancements.

The article details frustration from city leaders with the slow pace of MARTA’s expansion. Councilmembers are calling on MARTA to return funds to the capital funding pool, and Mayor Andre Dickens replaced two MARTA board members in a sign of disapproval. “It’s important for me, the City Council and the public to say: ‘MARTA, we want to see projects delivered. We want to see Campbellton Road BRT completed soon. We want to see the Summerhill BRT, completed soon. We want to see Metropolitan and Cleveland Avenue projects completed, and we want to see these things done on time and on budget,” Dickens said.

Monday, March 6, 2023 in Saporta Report

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