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Roswell, Gwinnett regional transit aspirations are translating to action

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Governments in northern metro are beginning to think big-picture, and want state help for planning

For decades, the explosive northern reaches of the five-county core metro area have found themselves in the transit doldrums. That is, more than two million residents in North Fulton, Gwinnett, and Cobb counties have missed out on high-capacity transit access.

Now, many of those folks who’ve gone without are beginning to question why.

The AJC reports that leaders in Roswell, a city served by MARTA bus service, are hoping to push the state legislature to explore funding for a more comprehensive, high-capacity option to stretch north of Sandy Springs.

A resolution was passed by the Roswell City Council that highlighted the potential of northward MARTA expansion to mitigate congestion in not just Roswell, but “throughout the greater Atlanta metro region.” It even went so far as to say the economy and health and safety of the public were at risk if transit wasn’t explored as an option for the area.

The resolution is basically the opposite of the response that nearby Johns Creek had to potential MARTA expansion less than two years ago.

Meanwhile, Gwinnett County also is making moves to explore high-capacity transit options to connect into the heart of Atlanta. According to the AJC, the county is preparing to embark on a transit plan to look at dedicated right-of-way transit service.

While the study isn’t tied to MARTA, the report will outline what options that county has, including heavy rail and bus rapid transit.

The transit plan will follow a study about transportation in Gwinnett conducted last year—one that hinted citizens and government leaders understand the importance of transit.

A shift in attitudes in the quickly growing and changing county isn’t all that surprising.

Last year, Gwinnett County leaders showed an interest in exploring the possibility of bringing MARTA to the county—just a year after it seemed the idea was a long-shot.

With the state legislature set to look into ways to support transit in the metro area, it seems the train of progressive mindsets toward regional transit is finally on track.