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ATL seeks public input on $29 billion transit wish list

By David Pendered

Metro Atlanta residents still have time to offer suggestions on the $29 billion transit wish list being assembled by the region’s transit planning agency, the ATL.

The public still has time to provide input on the Regional Transit Plan the ATL is assembling for 13 counties in metro Atlanta. Credit: atltransit.ga.gov

The final two open houses to be hosted by the ATL are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Along with providing an overview of the ATL’s role in planning regional transit efforts, presenters in the virtual meeting show viewers how to use the virtual reality page that provides details on each proposed project.

Multiple methods are provided for public input, including by telephone.

This is the second year the ATL has created a Regional Transit Plan. It informs short- and long-term transit planning by entities including the Atlanta Regional Commission. The plan also informs the project list the ATL board forwards to the Legislature for possible state funding, as with the list the board approved in September.

DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond said at the Oct. 8 meeting, which the ATL has named District Downloads:

  • “We are excited about the work we are doing and the most important thing is the transportation plan is not based on jurisdiction. It expands transit opportunities throughout metro Atlanta.”
DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond, pictured in a January file photo, says a Republican state House bill that would eliminate the CEO post is counterproductive and divisive. Credit: Kelly Jordan

Michael Thurmond

The Legislature created the ATL in 2018 to help stitch together a mobility plan that deals exclusively public transit in the 13-county metro Atlanta region. Tangible results include the ATL’s collaboration with MARTA to ensure the regional viability of the fare collection system MARTA is developing, ATL Executive Director Chris Tomlinson has said.

ATL’s current round of open houses provides the public with its opportunity to learn about and provide input on the list of proposed projects. A formal public comment meeting is to be scheduled in November, followed by a vote by the ATL board to adopt the Atlanta Regional Transit Plan.

Not all the projects will be built because not all will be funded. This list is a vision of transit that is unconstrained by the realities of funding. This very attribute is intended to make it an invaluable starting point for a regional mobility plan that actually can be constructed.

pleasant hill road

Gwinnett County’s transit wish list includes a bus rapid transit route between Snellville and Peachtree Corners, traveling along Pleasant Hill Road with part of the route on dedicated lanes. The total cost is estimated at $303.7 million, according to the proposed Regional Transit Plan. Credit: David Pendered

In all, 245 projects across the 13-county region made the list. More than half of them, 129 projects, advance regional goals – they meet criteria such as crossing two or more counties; connecting two or more transit operators; connects to a regional activity center; or connects to, or is, a transportation terminal such as an airport or bus station.

Cobb County offers an example of a project that involves a transportation terminal. The project appears on both the ATL wish list and the project list for the 1 percent special purpose local option sales tax referendum now on the ballot.

In Marietta, the county intends significant revisions for bus facilities that serve CobbLinc.

The county intends to build a bus transfer facility, with a park-and-ride lot and space for bicycle parking that’s to be located near the intersection of I-75 and Roswell Road, according to the ATL project list. The new facility is to replace the existing one at 800 South Marietta Parkway.

Cobb’s TSPLOST project list provides $4.6 million to provide partial funding for the new facility. The old facility may be retooled into a bus maintenance and storage facility

David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


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