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MARTA rail's expansion to Gwinnett County debated, as deadline looms

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The historically transit-averse government needs to sort out a plan by April 7

A MARTA train at Atlanta’s King Memorial Station.
All aboard?
Curbed Atlanta

Gwinnett County’s transit future is still up in the air, even as a deadline to determine what local voters should see on a November ballot fast approaches.

A year ago, Gwinnett voters turned down the prospect of major transit expansion in a referendum that would have launched a one-penny sales tax increase over the next four decades to fund upgraded bus services, new bus rapid transit (BRT) lines, and a heavy rail connection to Atlanta’s MARTA system.

Now, county officials are again debating what should go before county voters during the November election, and they have until just April 7 to figure it out, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

During a Thursday meeting, Gwinnett County commissioners mulled four different proposals that could shape the way residents travel for decades to come, per the newspaper.

One option looks just like the aforementioned plan voters turned down last year; another, crafted by the county’s new Transit Review Committee, offers much the same plus some minor tweaks regarding coverage; a third pitch suggests bailing on the heavy rail link entirely; and the last builds off the original proposal, including a potential bus connection to Athens.

But the jury’s still out on what would be both best for the county and most feasible to get approved by voters and actually implemented.

In fact, it’s unclear whether Gwinnett commissioners are willing to fast-track the planning process in order to meet the fast-approaching deadline, the AJC reported.

Commissioners are scheduled to discuss the matter again this week.