Proposals: Trim money from BeltLine, Ga. 400/I-285, Emory transit to fund GRTA, etc.

By David Pendered

Proposals to reduce funding for the Atlanta BeltLine, the Ga. 400/I-285 area, and transit lines to Emory University and Cumberland Mall are up for discussion at Thursday’s meeting of the Atlanta Region Transportation Roundtable.

These reductions are among more than $730 million in amendments proposed to the $6.14 billion draft project list the roundtable adopted last month. Almost $12 out of every $100 dollars in the draft list would be redirected, if the amendments are adopted into the referendum for the 1 percent transportation sales tax.

The proposed commuter rail line from Atlanta toward Macon also is back in play. Clayton County proposes to keep it alive with $20 million that would be trimmed from plans to develop Tara Boulevard into a major roadway.

Beneficiaries of the proposed spending reductions include a proposed MARTA line along I-20 in south DeKalb County; GRTA’s regional bus service; and Hammond Drive, in Sandy Springs.

Proposed losers are MARTA’s program to boost its state of good repair; collector/distributor lanes along Ga. 400, north of the I-285 interchange; and upgrades to Fulton Industrial Boulevard south of Camp Creek Road.

To read the list of amendments, click here.

The roundtable has allocated 75 minutes to discuss nine amendments that were filed by Sept. 30. Two other amendments are on the list, but aren’t up for debate. One is a space-saver item filed for the commuter rail, and it was superseded by a subsequent filing. The other is a $6.4 million amendment in Fayette County approved last week by the roundtable.

The Atlanta BeltLine sought Wednesday to rally its supporters, distributing an email urging BeltLine advocates to attend the meeting Thursday and to contact members of the roundtable.

Here’s a breakout of four significant proposed amendments:

No. 5: $271 million – reduce funding for a transit line from MARTA’s Arts Center Station to Cumberland Mall area; add road improvements and bus service from Town Center area to Arts Center Station.

No. 7: $297 million: Reduce intersection improvements at Ga. 400/I-285, and eliminate collector/distributor system along Ga. 400; add transit line along I-20 in south DeKalb County.

No. 9: $34.5 million: Reduce MARTA state of good repair; add to GRTA bus service.

No. 10: $80 million: Reduce maintenance and operations funds for BeltLine, Cumberland Mall transit, and Emory transit; add to GRTA bus service.


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. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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