ATLANTA — MARTA has released its revised list of priority projects for the city of Atlanta, focusing on nine expansion programs to build out with funds from the "More MARTA" sales tax money voters approved six years ago.
It comes after urbanists, community advocates and the City Council expressed concern earlier this year when an outgoing MARTA executive claimed there was a $1 billion shortfall in the expansion budget.
MARTA CEO Collie Greenwood then responded before the City Council, explaining that the broad list of 70+ expansion projects originally proposed for the More MARTA funding couldn't come close to the actual tax dollars the program would collect.
The transit agency whittled the expansive wishlist down to 19 in its revised sequencing plan presented Wednesday to the Council, with nine of those considered Tier 1 projects with hard timetables and funding moving forward.
The ten Tier 2 projects, according to MARTA documents, "will be reevaluated for for timelines based on financial modeling, equity and schedule."
MARTA compiled the revised expansion priorities list with consultation from Mayor Andre Dickens and his office.
Atlanta Department of Transportation Commissioner Solomon Caviness IV said at Wednesday's meeting the project priorities are "all about connecting communities, connecting our citizens, making sure those investments go back into the community."
The revised list includes the following projects (types of projects explained here):
- Summerhill bus rapid transit (BRT) line
- Cleveland Avenue arterial rapid transit (ART) bus line
- Metropolitan Parkway ART
- Bankhead Station expansion
- Streetcar East extension (to Ponce City Market) light rail line
- Five Points Station renovation and expansion
- Campbellton Road BRT
- Greenbriar Transit Center
- Clifton Corridor BRT
Of those projects, MARTA notes that Summerhill is currently in the construction phase, with a target completion date of 2025; Cleveland Avenue, Metropolitan Parkway, Bankhead and Streetcar East are in the final stages of the design process, with targeted completions of 2025 for Cleveland Avenue/Metropolitan Parkway, 2027 for Bankhead and 2028 for Streetcar East; and Five Points, Campbellton Road, Greenbriar and Clifton Corridor in the conceptual design phase with targeted completions of 2026 for Five Points and 2028 for the other three.
MARTA documents note progress on these projects, including:
- The Summerhill BRT construction contract was approved by MARTA Board Committee on Feb. 23 and will get a full Board vote this month.
- The Bankhead Station expansion is 30% complete in its design phase, according to the documents, with plans for a new public plaza, a new station entrance and a new platform extension and canopy. There are also plans for a mixed-use development the adjoin the station.
- The design phase is 90% complete for Cleveland Avenue and Metropolitan Parkway.
- Design is 30% complete for Streetcar East, with planned stops at Edgewood Ave./Boulevard, Irwin Street/BeltLine, Freedom Parkway & Highland Ave., Ralph McGill Blvd. and Ponce City Market.
- The Five Points Station expansion is moving toward a final design concept "that can be delivered in time for the 2026 World Cup," with Atlanta serving as a host city for that tournament.
MARTA's financial model included in documentation projects close to $2 billion in funds the agency can expect for More MARTA City of Atlanta projects through Fiscal Year 2032, with about a $25 million cushion above planned total expenditures through that time period.