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Atlanta’s MARTA expansion seeks input; growth to suburbs could be stymied

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The good news: Atlantans hoping for their taxes to go toward impactful projects have chance to weigh in

A MARTA train at Atlanta’s King Memorial Station.
All aboard!
Curbed Atlanta

Back in November, City of Atlanta residents voted to self-impose additional sales taxes to fund the expansion of MARTA within city limits. The margin wasn’t even close, which sent a message.

Now, residents hoping for a say in what projects come to fruition have a chance to speak up again.

The transit system has opened an online survey to gauge interest in a range of proposed initiatives to bring more service to the City of Atlanta.

Questions include topics such as the potential expansion of bus service, the construction of heavy rail lines, bus rapid transit, and light rail service—all projects that could be funded over the next few decades with $2.5 to $3.5 billion in funds raised through the 1/2-percent tax.

However, the tax (and therefore the areas covered in the survey) are limited to the City of Atlanta—though interestingly, the Clifton Road corridor is included.

While the City of Atlanta preps for more service, the potential for MARTA to extend out to Cobb County could be stifled by the Georgia General Assembly.

According to a report in the AJC, the State Legislature is eyeing the sale of miles of state-owned rail corridors in Cobb County. While limited to freight service now, the rails could potentially serve as the backbone for heavy rail transit service to Cobb, if approved by voters.

If the state sells the tracks, however, the acquisition of land in the future could be prohibitively expensive for the creation of transit corridors.

Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time the State had hampered the growth of regional transit.