Tag Archives: MARTA

MARTA’s proposed Brookhaven Station development offers challenges, report says

MARTA wants to engage a developer to build a live-work-play community in the 2-year-old city of Brookhaven, where a proposed 30-year plan appears to embrace dense urban development.

MARTA is seeking developers for its Brookhaven Station. MARTA intends to develop homes, offices and shops on almost half the station’s sparsely used lot, and replace those parking spaces in structured parking.

The project may not be easy, according to a MARTA report that states: “The positive involvement of [Brookhaven and DeKalb County] could be a challenge to bring about. It will take careful negotiation and cooperation, of which ARC [Atlanta Regional Commission] could help facilitate. The largest hurdle, however, could be the participation of private money lenders.”
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Clayton County’s vote on MARTA comes as county’s growth rate slows

As Clayton County prepares to vote this autumn on joining MARTA, a recent report from the Atlanta Regional Commission shines new light on the number of potential riders who reside in Clayton County.

The ARC’s unofficial population estimates show the county added 1,000 residents from 2013 to 2014. That was the smallest increase among the 10 counties tracked by the ARC report.

Clayton’s population shifts will be among the factoids that will bear watching as the campaign for the 1 percent sales tax gears up after Labor Day. Clayton voters rejected a proposed regional 1 percent transportation sales tax that was on the ballot in July 2012.
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MARTA to open bids today for land in Midtown, Stone Mountain Village

MARTA officials today are slated to open bids for land MARTA intends to sell near the Arts Center Station in Midtown, and an additional property in Stone Mountain.

The minimum prices set by MARTA indicate that a sliver of land in Midtown is significantly more valuable than a parcel in Stone Mountain.

The Midtown site is barely more than a tenth the size of the one in Stone Mountain. The minimum price for this tract is set at about 75 percent of the Stone Mountain parcel, according to bid documents.
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New regional transit trip-planner website growing slowly, as planned

A new transit website serving metro Atlanta is an example of local agencies responding to an idea many view as sensible, and which results from legislation that wasn’t enacted by the General Assembly.

In the first two weeks after its very soft launch, on July 1, ATLtransit.org has attracted slightly more than 1,000 views.

The website intends to help transit riders plan and pay for trips that involve riding one or more of the region’s transit systems. Four transit systems and ARC decided to build the site even though the Legislature did not vote for the concept brought forward by Sen. Brandon (R-Alpharetta).
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Lawmakers support Clayton/MARTA deal, raise questions of equity

State lawmakers who oversee MARTA expressed a few reservations Tuesday as they generally applauded the potential of MARTA extending its service into Clayton County.

“This is a major step forward for transit in the region,” said state Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Brookhaven), who chairs MARTOC, the Legislature’s MARTA oversight committee. “Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come in terms of transit in metro Atlanta.”
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Norfolk Southern in sound position if talks begin over rail transit in its freight corridor in Clayton County

Norfolk Southern appears to be in a solid negotiating position as advocates of Clayton County’s potential transit system prepare to ask the company to allow MARTA to operate passenger trains on Norfolk Southern’s freight tracks.

A MARTA study shows that $185 million could be saved if Norfolk Southern allows use of its freight line for passenger rail service. Norfolk Southern has sent a letter to MARTA that raised a red flag over the notion that passenger service could begin in seven years at the price contemplated in the MARTA study.

The issue will come to a head if Clayton County voters approve in November a 1 percent transit tax. Clayton’s Board of Commissioners voted Saturday to place the referendum on the ballot.
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MARTA’s financial plan for serving Clayton County activated by Saturday vote to set proposed tax at 1 percent

The finances of the planned expansion of MARTA service in Clayton County gained clarity after Clayton’s Board of Commissioners voted Saturday to put a proposed 1 percent transit tax on the November ballot.

That’s because the 1 percent tax rate activates a feasibility study by MARTA, which envisioned only the 1 percent tax rate and not the 0.5 percent rate the board approved this week. The cost of rail expansion remains a significant variable in MARTA’s plan.
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Wall Street affirms MARTA, warns of system’s continuing fiscal dangers

A Wall Street credit rating agency has raised MARTA’s rating in advance of the system’s plan to sell $96 million in bonds on June 26.

The rating action states MARTA’s reliance on sales tax revenues as both an asset and a liability. Moody’s Investors Service cited as an asset MARTA’s gross pledge of its 1 percent sales tax, and as a liability the historic volatility of sales tax revenues – revenues that recent Georgia laws have reduced.

While any upgrade in credit is positive, Moody’s warned investors of the danger that MARTA could again raid its savings account to keep the system afloat – as was the case during the depth of the great recession.
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MARTA gingerly tests alcohol ads to raise money for transit operations

Ads for alcohol could become commonplace on MARTA buses, trains, stations and shelters as early as January.

MARTA is in the process of hiring an advertising firm and has asked proponents to estimate the amount of money MARTA could make from alcohol ads. The bids are due June 10.

The decision to allow alcohol ads is one of MARTA’s latest efforts to raise money to operate the system. The decision also leads MARTA into territory that it traditionally has avoided, and entered just this year by allowing ad vendor CBS Outdoor to sell alcohol ads on MARTA property.
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MARTA’s mystery rider program, up for renewal, grew from federal ADA lawsuit filed by disabled riders

When MARTA on Wednesday begins its latest effort to improve customer service, it will be renewing a program that grew out of a federal court order issued in 2002 to protect disabled riders.

MARTA is soliciting proposals for a mystery rider program. A central issue is MARTA’s compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

The program goes by the sort of fun-sounding name of, “MARTA’s Mystery Customer Program.” The name harkens to the mystery customers who check on retail clerks to advise management on how well the clerks treat customers.
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