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Ambitious project list unveiled for metro Atlanta’s regional transit plan

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But funding and executing these 76 projects, which include full Beltline rail, is another story

A MARTA train arriving at a crowded platform at Five Points Station.
Could MARTA reach Norcross some day?
JTesFaye

Metro Atlanta’s new regional transit authority, The ATL, on Tuesday debuted a 76-project list that constitutes the agency’s tentative plan for transit expansion.

Calling it ambitious is like calling Atlanta traffic kind of problematic.

No doubt, refining that project list—it’s really a wishlist—into something that’s executable is going to take abundant community engagement, politicking, and fundraising. But the fruits of those labors could change the way people move throughout the region for decades to come.

Officials with The ATL categorized the projects in three self-explanatory denominations: “higher impact/lower cost,” “higher impact/higher cost,” and “lower impact/lower cost,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Some of the dozens of projects, however, were chunked up and spread among those categories.

For instance, “Segment 1b” of the Clifton Corridor light-rail project—which would ultimately produce a new transit line from MARTA’s Lindbergh station to Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—is considered a “higher impact/lower cost” project that could cost DeKalb County about $143 million.

The MARTA-sponsored Clifton Corridor “Phase 1,” however—a “higher impact/higher cost” project—could run almost $1.9 billion.

Other high-profile projects to make the list include light-rail transit along the entirety of the 22-mile Beltline loop; a commuter rail line from MARTA’s East Point station to Jonesboro and Lovejoy in Clayton County; and bus rapid transit (BRT) routes in Fulton, DeKalb, and Gwinnett counties.

Plus, under these plans, MARTA’s Gold Line could make its way from the Doraville station up to Norcross, at Jimmy Carter Boulevard.

It would cost around $15 billion to carry out every project, based on The ATL’s estimates.

The endgame would serve 12 of the 13 counties The ATL board oversees, since Fayette County declined to submit any transit plans for board consideration, per the AJC.

More details are expected to emerge at public hearings planned next month.