MARTA preps for new Atlanta transit line

For a year and a half, much of the attention paid to MARTA's Atlanta expansion has focused on two light rail projects: the Beltline and the Clifton Corridor. But a third project is about to grab some of the spotlight.

On Tuesday night the agency launched the planning for a major transit line along Campbellton Road in Southwest Atlanta.

The five-mile line would stretch from Greenbriar Mall to MARTA's Oakland City station. For planning purposes, the agency's final Atlanta project list shows light rail along Campbellton Road. But the agency also is considering bus rapid transit for the corridor.

On Tuesday night MARTA held a public meeting at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church to explain the options and solicit public feedback.

“We are committed to making this project a success,” Frank Rucker, MARTA’s chief of capital programs, planning and innovation, told scores of people who attended the event.

There’s a reason MARTA believes some sort of high-capacity transit would do well on Campbellton Road. The existing local bus line along the road is the second-busiest in the MARTA system, averaging more than 4,300 weekday boardings. A quarter of households in the area don’t have a car.

Light rail along Campbellton Road would cost an estimated $375 million to $550 million to build. MARTA estimates it would take 11 years to open the line. Bus rapid transit would cost about $125 million, and it could open in seven and a half years.

Planning for the line is just getting started. MARTA hopes to pick a transit mode for Campbellton Road by the end of 2020.