old farmers market

Retiring state property chief had immense influence over metro Atlanta for 15 years

Steve Stancil may not have a household name. But when he steps down Feb. 1 as State Property Officer, he will have affected metro Atlanta since 2003 on issues ranging from mass transit, to development policies, to future development along the Atlanta BeltLine and the future film studio/mixed use development that’s to be built in Atlanta at the old Pullman Yard.

$100 Billion

On Jan. 11, MARTA CEO Jeff Parker stood before the audience of the 6th annual State of MARTA address announcing that within the next few decades the metro Atlanta area would need to invest $100 billion in new transit & developments to meet future needs by 2045.

Enough already: GRTA, SRTA, MARTA, GDOT, ARC…and now….the ATL

Nearly 20 years ago, key business and government leaders heralded the creation of a new transportation authority that would tackle metro Atlanta’s traffic problems by expanding transit.

And so the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority – GRTA – was born.

At the time, there was one naysayer – the late Harry West, the longtime executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission.

GRTA’s new executive director knows Xpress buses from passenger’s seat

Just minutes after he was named GRTA’s executive director, Chris Tomlinson was busy Wednesday talking about potential synergy between GRTA and the state agency that oversees managed lanes.

“We’ll roll out incentives to get more people to take advantage of transit,” Tomlinson said. “We hope to shift people out of vehicles, especially at the peaks, and take advantage of what transit providers already are doing.”

GRTA considers options to keep its bus fleet safe, reliable, tidy

Repair or replace? That’s the question facing GRTA as it considers its fleet of aging buses. The answer isn’t obvious.

Repair is cheaper for the next six years. But after that, replacement is the less expensive option, according to a consultant’s report presented Wednesday to GRTA’s board.

GRTA officials have presented the figures to Gov. Nathan Deal’s staff, and to the governor’s budget writing agency, the Office of Planning and Budget. The timing suggests GRTA may seek some level of funding in the state’s upcoming FY 2016 budget, which the next governor will present to the Legislature in January.

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, 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).

Air quality improving in metro Atlanta, according to preliminary GRTA report

The air quality in metro Atlanta is showing significant improvements in terms of a reduction in the amount of fine particulates, according to a preliminary report by GRTA.

The number of “good” air quality days reached a preliminary figure of about 50 percent in 2013, the best year on a chart that shows years going back to 2004. The air quality index hovered in the mid 60 percentile range from 2012 back to 2009.

If the preliminary findings stand, the region will meet the stricter air quality standards the federal EPA imposed in December 2012. Metro Atlanta’s improvements coincide with the great recession and a number of rules implemented by Georgia.

GRTA marks 10th anniversary with “thank you” events at park-and-ride locations through June 29

GRTA is marking a few milestones this summer with customer appreciation events at each of its park-and-ride locations. The first events were held Tuesday in Gwinnett County.

The Xpress bus service has now been operating for 10 years. The service has provided more than 17 million passenger trips during that period and now provides about 2 million trips a year, according to GRTA.

The commemorations occur even as mobility remains a major public issue in metro Atlanta. The latest example unfolded Tuesday in Clayton County, when MARTA GM Keith Parker presented an overview of how MARTA could serve the county if Clayton resumes bus service.