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Atlanta Mayor Offers Transit Plan Hints

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Light rail could grace the skies and Beltline in Reed's take on transit

There's been a lot of talk of transit funding in Atlanta as the legislative session draws to a close. Despite boatloads of infighting, it seems likely that some form of funding for transit will be put forward to voters in the fall. Hurray.

With passage in the state legislature of a modified transit funding bill looking pretty good as the session comes to a close, Mayor Kasim Reed addressed a crowd in Atlanta earlier this week, highlighting what he envisions as far as MARTA expansions in the city. The AJC covered the discussion, which offered a number of interesting tidbits, as conceptualized by Reed:

  • If approved, almost $2.5 billion in funding could be leveraged in the next 25 years — "the largest expansion of MARTA funding in the history of the system"

(That's kind of a big deal)

  • An emphasis would be placed on light rail infrastructure, especially on the Beltline
  • Future light rail will expansion will be located "above the road" to separate it from traffic, which is one of the biggest complaints about the Atlanta Streetcar
  • The goal of transit expansion in the city would be to provide first and last mile connections between MARTA and destinations

While Hizzoner laid out no specific plans, he did insist that no one "thinks that the future of rail expansion in the city of Atlanta is heavy rail driven." That could be a hard argument to make, considering MARTA plans indicate that more heavy rail is an emphasis, and surveys show there is heavy interest in it.

UPDATED: The article was updated from a previous version which indicated Mayor Reed's comments were made in Austin.