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Regional leaders adopt sweeping, $27B transit expansion plan. Now what?

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All aboard for the Jimmy Carter Multimodal Hub in Gwinnett County, or Stonecrest Station?

A MARTA train arriving at a crowded platform at Five Points Station.
MARTA rail could service more suburbs if the ATL’s plans are realized.
JTesFaye

Officials from 13-county regional transit agency The ATL have adopted a sweeping plan to expand metro Atlanta’s transportation network to the tune of $27.4 billion.

The ATL, a collaboration of transit and planning agencies from around the region, such as MARTA, GDOT, and the Atlanta Regional Commission, was formed just last year.

Now, the organization is poised to change the way people move around the region for decades to come.

The newly published ATL Regional Transit Plan promises a mishmash of 192 projects ranging from new heavy and light rail lines, expanded bus services, and upgrades to other infrastructure, such as sidewalks.

Seventy-six of those projects will likely rely on funding help from the state or federal government, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Big-ticket items on the massive docket include projects such as the long-anticipated Clifton Corridor, a potentially $1.9 billion transit line linking MARTA’s Lindbergh station to Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There’s also an estimated $1.4 billion planned extension of MARTA’s Gold Line. That would thread a new heavy rail route into Gwinnett County, to a “multimodal hub” that would be developed at the intersection of Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Interstate 85.

Another major heavy rail project would send MARTA tracks along Interstate 20, out to Stonecrest. That item is anticipated to cost almost $1.5 billion.

The unanimous adoption of the plan is regarded as merely a first step toward a truly regional transit network, but in an AJC interview, one leading ATL official said the Friday decision could be viewed as a watershed moment in the future.