Supporters of two Atlanta transit projects are making their voices heard as agencies develop transportation plans for the region’s future.
In recent weeks the Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority has been soliciting public input for a transit plan for 13 metro counties. Last week the agency’s planning committee heard a summary of public feedback on the plan.
Support for MARTA’s proposed Clifton Corridor light rail line was a major theme of the public comments, the committee learned. The proposed line would stretch four miles from MARTA’s Lindbergh station to the Emory University/Centers for Disease Control and Prevent Area.
Betty Willis, a senior associate vice president at Emory, said the transit line would provide better access to tens of thousands of jobs to people across the region.
“We have so many job opportunities for people of all skills and education levels,” Willis told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “People who can’t afford to live in the (Emory) area – this would make for such easy access.”
The authority is expected to approve the $27.4 billion transit plan on Friday.
Meanwhile, another agency – the Atlanta Regional Commission – is soliciting public input on a larger $173 billion transportation plan, which includes hundreds of road, transit and other projects. Supporters of the Atlanta Beltline – a proposed 22-mile light rail loop around the core of the city – are making their voices heard.
Matthew Rao, co-chair of the group Beltline Rail Now, said more than 200 people have e-mailed the ARC to express support for the project. They want the agency to pressure MARTA to speed up its proposed timeline for construction of the Beltline.
Under the existing timeline, the first segment of the Beltline would not be completed until 2028, with other segments to follow through the mid-2040s. Rao said trains should be operating on the first segment within three years, with much of the rest completed by 2030.
“We think that’s possible,” he told the AJC. “That’s not about putting something in the plan that’s not there. It’s about shifting priorities.”
That’s not likely to happen unless MARTA changes its own plans.
You can learn more about MARTA’s timeline for the Beltline, the Clifton Corridor and other Atlanta transit projects here.
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