A MARTA train. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority’s (MARTA) Board of Directors today unanimously approved the More MARTA program – the region’s largest investment in transit in more than 40 years.
“In Atlanta in the 21st century, transit is the lifeblood of opportunity,” Board Chairman Robert Ashe said in a statement. “It is how millions of Atlantans access jobs, school, health care, and move throughout their communities. Today, we together took an important step in building the Atlanta we want for decades to come.”
The program will be partially funded by the $2.7 billion generated by a half-penny sales tax approved by voters in 2016, according to city materials. Additional public and private funding will be sought for certain aspects of the program.
“Think of this as a major and transformational down payment on our future commitment to the city and to the region,” MARTA General Manager and CEO Jeffrey Parker said in a statement. “This is an important milestone, but it’s not the finish line.”
The next steps will include developing costs and schedules associated with individual projects as well as looking into ways of securing additional funding, according to city materials. MARTA says it will also work to educate riders on various programs in the months ahead.
“Today, MARTA and the City of Atlanta made an historic commitment to public transportation and to the future of our community. The entire region is one step closer to a smart, sustainable and efficient transit network that connects communities as never before,” Emory University President Claire Sterk said in a statement. “Emory University and Emory Healthcare look forward to joining with businesses, government entities, and others who recognize the importance of this public transit opportunity and are committed to work in broad partnership to make it a reality.”