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Report: ATL board’s regional plan would create about 1,000 miles of new transit lines

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The expansion plans call for bringing bus and train transit closer to hundreds of thousands of jobs

A MARTA train leaving the East Lake station near Decatur.
More people could have easier access to transit over the next few years.

Should the ATL Regional Transit Plan pan out, metro Atlanta could welcome 973 miles of new transit lines and 1,126 miles of transit improvements, according to a new report from the 13-county planning agency.

The new study of the ARTP draft, published last week, illustrates the impact such a monumental transit expansion effort could have on the region.

If the potentially $27.4 billion of transit projects materialize, the region could see the percentage of jobs within a half-mile of a “high-capacity” transit station (i.e. heavy or light rail stops or bus rapid transit stations) jump from 17 to 35 percent—or 420,000 new jobs—per the report.

“Close proximity to transit and transit-oriented development within communities can increase property values and intensify redevelopment,” stated Chris Tomlinson, Executive Director of The ATL, according to a press release.

Additionally, the amount of jobs within a half-mile of “low-capacity transit stops”—non-BRT bus stations—could rise from 55 percent to 59 percent, or more than 100,000 new jobs.

The impact study also suggests that transit expansion could spur a 19 percent increase in low-wage jobs within walking distance of a high-capacity transit station.

What’s more, nearly 400,000 low-income, minority, or car-free households would one day be within walking distance of a high-capacity transit station.

That jump represents a 409 percent uptick, per the report.

That same demographic would also enjoy a 9 percent increase in walking access to bus stops, the findings state.

The ATL board has identified nearly 200 projects that would grow the regional transit network with the help of local agencies such as MARTA, CobbLinc, and Gwinnett County Transit.

The next ATL board of directors meeting is scheduled December 13. The board is expected to approve a version of the broad wishlist next month, a crucial step in securing state funding.