Atlanta transit agency proposes timeline for big projects
ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta’s public transit agency has laid out a preliminary timeline for new construction projects that puts off some highly anticipated items to 2035 and later, a newspaper reported.
The plan by the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority calls for launching two bus rapid transit lines and making other bus improvement by 2025, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported this week. Construction would also start in the coming years on a streetcar extension.
But light rail along a portion of a popular urban trail known as the Atlanta Beltline would take longer. The full light-rail network in the plan would not be completed until after 2040, and that would include only two-thirds of the Beltline loop.
Kay Stephenson, with the group Beltline Rail Now, said she was hoping for a more ambitious timeline.
“We need to see evidence that MARTA is aggressively working this and other opportunities to deliver meaningful transit faster,” Stephenson told the Journal-Constitution.
MARTA officials said the proposed timeline is preliminary and could change. A committee of MARTA’s Board of Directors approved the timeline unanimously on Thursday. The full board is scheduled to consider it in June.
The agency considered distributing projects equitably across the city, according to a briefing about the timeline obtained by the Journal-Constitution. It also looked at the availability of funding.
Money for the projects would come from a half-penny sales tax hike that city voters approved in 2016 that is expected to raise about $2.7 billion over 40 years. The biggest projects, including light-rail, would require federal funding.