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MARTA transit could be back in cards for Gwinnett County

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Just months after a majority of voters turned down the possibility, officials are back at the drawing board

A Marta train is shown with Georgia’s Gold Dome at right and the rest of downtown.
Next stop: Norcross?
Curbed Atlanta

Gwinnett County officials are once again mulling plans that could bring MARTA transit services to the northeast metro Atlanta area.

In March, Gwinnett voters shot down a chance at welcoming MARTA in a referendum that, if approved, would have paved the way for boosted bus services, new Bus Rapid Transit lines, and heavy rail.

Now, however, local leaders are back at the drawing board and could bring their plans to public conversations sometime next year, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Gwinnett County, like other metro suburbs, such as Cobb County, has historically been averse to mass transit.

But the political landscape in Gwinnett is shifting, as the county just welcomed two pro-transit freshman commissioners, Marlene Fosque and Ben Ku, according to the paper.

It’s unclear what the transit plan could look like, and BRT is more feasible, financially speaking, than heavy rail.

But in recent years, other OTP communities have shown that mass transit—specifically heavy rail—can be an asset in bringing businesses to the area.

Take Dunwoody, for example, where State Farm is still developing its 1.7 million-square-foot office campus adjacent to the city’s MARTA train station.

State Farm officials have said that more than 12 percent of the company’s on-campus employees—almost 3,000 people—use public transit to get to work, and that more would join the club if MARTA went farther north.

They’ve also said that bringing MARTA to Gwinnett County could be a boon for employee morale and a big selling point for potential hires.

Additionally, the thinking goes, if a traditionally anti-transit suburban area like Gwinnett decides to embrace MARTA, it could signal to places like Cobb County that mass transit is worth the investment.