State House budget committee proposes $6 million for Bankhead MARTA renovation
In an unusual move, the Georgia House is proposing $6 million in state funding for transit in Atlanta — it would go toward Bankhead MARTA station renovations favored by the area’s newest resident, Microsoft.
The renovations were on MARTA’s to-do list already, part of the “more MARTA” transit expansion program approved by Atlanta voters in 2016 and paid for by a half-penny sales tax. The improvements include lengthening the platform so longer trains can arrive.
Microsoft recently bought Quarry Yards, some 90 acres just beside the station that had been assembled by developers over years for a mixed-use development. Microsoft plans to build a corporate campus there plus some below-market-rate and other projects, but it has also stoked fears of gentrification.
The $6 million spend is part of the Georgia House Appropriation Committee’s budget proposal, which should pass the full House today. The state House and the state Senate and Republican Gov. Brian Kemp all need to come to a consensus budget by March 31.
The state of Georgia has a record of spending relatively little on metro Atlanta transit — something on the scale of $12 million or so annually toward Xpress regional buses. Transit, including MARTA, is mainly paid for by local sales taxes, federal money and ticket sales.
Back in 2018, the state did announce it would borrow $100 million to help pay for bus rapid transit on Ga. 400.