After years of discussion and debate over how MARTA should divvy up some $2.7 billion to grow Atlanta’s transit network, the transportation agency’s board of directors gave the thumbs up Thursday to a project list that’d been published just a week prior.
In a 10-0 vote, the MARTA board approved a spending plan for money to be reaped from More MARTA taxes that Atlantans had voted for in a 2016 referendum, and the finalized program looks drastically different than one proposed in May.
The new project list is expected to dedicate more than $570 million to lining 15 miles of the Atlanta Beltline with streetcar tracks—a signifiant jump from the seven miles of Beltline transit outlined in the earlier plan.
It would also funnel a whopping $350 million to help fund a light rail system connecting MARTA’s Lindbergh station with Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—you know, the controversial Clifton Corridor.
Although the Clifton Corridor funding had been cut since the earlier blueprints—it was estimated to cost more than $500 million—it seems key stakeholders such as Emory University President Claire Sterk are simply happy to see transit spending moving forward.
“The entire region is one step closer to a smart, sustainable, and efficient transit network that connects communities as never before,” Sterk wrote in a statement Thursday. “Emory University and Emory Healthcare look forward to joining with businesses, government entities, and others who recognize the importance of this public transit opportunity and are committed to work in broad partnership to make it a reality.”
Additionally, around $311 million worth of light rail lines linking the Oakland City MARTA station to Greenbriar Mall—the Campbellton Road Corridor—will be funded by the More MARTA plan.
Collectively, that makes 29 miles of new streetcar connectivity that’s possibly en route to Atlanta—most of which will be on, or connected to, the Beltline. The oft-maligned existing streetcar loop is just 2.7 miles.
The downtown streetcar loop takes plenty of flak for being bogged down by Atlanta traffic, but Saporta Report learned Thursday that MARTA intends to bring its future light-rail lines into their own designated lanes wherever possible.
In downtown, that could mean converting Auburn and Edgewood avenues—both of which have segments of the existing streetcar track—into one-way streets, the publication reported.
Also on the docket in the tax plan is the promise of 13 miles of bus rapid transit lines and three arterial rapid transit routes, not to mention needed upgrades to MARTA stops.
To scope the full extent of MARTA’s massive undertaking, check out the agency’s More MARTA web page.
- MARTA to seek its own lanes for streetcar expansion [Saporta Report]