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Thought Leader Transit


Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) General Manager, Jeffrey A. Parker, recently participated in a discussion about the impact of failing to modernize public transit systems, organized by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

APTA President Paul P. Skoutelas moderated the discussion that included Parker and leaders from the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA/Muni), and Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA).

The conversation centered around a report released by APTA last week, The Economic Cost of Failing to Modernize Public Transportation.

The report details how MARTA’s proactive approach to the state of good repair enables the Authority to show how investments made in the system will enhance the region’s ability to offer more, and better service over time at less cost. It also found when it comes to prioritizing public transit assets for investment, replacement, or rehabilitation, MARTA typically invests first in the oldest assets. As state of good repair issues arise, MARTA’s policy is to initiate inspection, maintenance, and testing as to have no measurable adverse impact on the rider experience.

During the discussion of the report’s findings, Parker detailed how MARTA is able to use its local funding source to maintain a state of good repair but expanding the system to meet the needs of a growing population will require federal funding and support.

“Metro Atlanta’s population when MARTA last expanded 20 years ago was 4 million. The population has since grown to almost 6 million with projections of 8-10 million people by 2040,” said Parker. “Transit expansion projects cannot be implemented overnight. We must receive federal help now in order to plan and execute these projects and meet the needs of a rapidly growing population.”

The Red Line extension north into Fulton County in 2000 was the last heavy rail expansion for MARTA. Bus service was expanded to Clayton County in 2015 and has seen incredible growth, now boasting two of the system’s highest ridership bus routes.


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