Spinning our Wheels

Spinning our Wheels is a commuting blog about the challenges of getting around Atlanta by car, bus, MARTA, bicycles and on foot written by transportation reporter David Wickert

Transit on I-285: Here’s the latest

As The Atlanta Journal-Constitute reported Monday, Fulton County officials must make a decision soon about whether to proceed with a transit referendum in November or wait until 2019 or beyond. 

But those aren’t the only transit talks affecting the county. A group of suburban Atlanta mayors continues to discuss the possibility of a transit line along the northern half of I-285

The group began meeting since November. The goal is to ensure transit options aren’t lost in the shuffle as the Georgia Department of Transportation proceeds with plans to build new express lanes across the top of the Perimeter. 

Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul told the AJC Monday those talks continue and may be accelerated, thanks to new state legislation that allows 13 metro Atlanta counties to impose new sales taxes for mass transit. 

Under that legislation, any plans for transit along I-285 would have to be approved by a new regional transit board that won’t be up and running until next year. Paul said the mayors’ group wants to be in a position to make recommendations to the board as it devises a regional transportation plan. 

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Any transit line along I-285 would require cooperation among Cobb, Fulton, DeKalb and possibly Gwinnett counties. The new board is designed to encourage the kind of coordination across county lines that the mayors are attempting. 

Sandy Springs sits at the crossroads of Ga 400 and I-285. A bus rapid transit expansion up Ga. 400 is a top priority in Fulton County’s master plan. But transit along I-285 is a longer-term proposition. 

“For us, east-west (transit) is more important than north-south,” Paul said.

About the Author

David Wickert writes about transportation issues for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He previously worked for newspapers in Washington state, Illinois, Virginia and Tennessee.

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