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ARC allocations could provide for bus transit expansion, funding for Beltline extensions

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A study released by the Atlanta Regional Commission highlights $86 million of bus-related plans, new trails and bikeways.

Two MARTA buses passing each other.
Buses—the future for regional transit?
James Willamor

Newly crafted recommendations for bolstering regional transit through 2023 call for the addition of new bus services across the metro, and increased frequency for service on highly traveled routes.

Plus, more Beltline.

The plans, outlined in a new document produced by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), could cost $86 million, representing some 20 percent of $422 million—much of it federal dollars—for region-wide transportation initiatives.

Among transit-related improvements, the report allocates funds for Douglas County to begin operating its first bus system in and around Douglasville. Cobb County and Gwinnett County would each see an increase in frequency and hours of bus service, with CobbLinc establishing seven-day service and Gwinnett running buses until midnight on weekdays.

Transit workhorses MARTA and GRTA would also see expanded service footprints, with MARTA adding more frequent service along primary corridors such as Metropolitan Parkway and Peachtree Road. GRTA would expand along the northwest managed Xpress lanes to Cherokee County, as well as increase service in Rockdale and Gwinnett.

Beyond transit investment, the report calls for major expenditures in managed toll lanes on Interstate 285 and improved interchanges at both sides of the Perimeter at Interstate 20.

Finally—and perhaps most excitingly—the report also calls for funding to boost trail development around the region.

Millions of dollars could be funneled into two Beltline extensions—one from Piedmont Park to Lindbergh Center and another from Glenwood Avenue to University Avenue. The latter would be part of the Beltline’s planned Southside Trail.

Funds would also be available for the northernmost phase of PATH 400; a trail connecting West End MARTA Station to Ft. McPherson MARTA Station; a portion of the Peachtree Creek Greenway; and a trail in Cobb County.

Plans are now open for public comment, with a hearing slated for Jan. 11.

If funds are approved, expect implementation to begin in late 2018.

Path 400

, Atlanta, GA