In 2016, Atlanta voters approved a half-cent sales tax to pay for a MARTA expansion across the city. Last year, the MARTA Board of Directors approved a project list that includes 29 miles of light rail – including 15 of the 22 miles of proposed rail around the Beltline.
But in May the board approved a construction timetable that pushes most of that rail work beyond 2035. Transit supporters say that's not good enough.
On Tuesday, they vowed to take their grievance a step further. At the breakfast, Beltline Rail Now leaders threatened to encourage neighborhood groups to oppose waivers of parking requirements the city has been granting to encourage development along the trail. They said those waivers have been granted with the understanding that transit would soon alleviate traffic in the booming Beltline area.
“We’re getting the development,” Rao told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We’re not getting the train.”
Atlanta Beltline Rail Inc. CEO Clyde Higgs noted that an extension of the Atlanta Streetcar to the Beltline on the east side of the city is slated to be finished by 2027. That includes about a mile of rail on the Beltline itself. A western Streetcar extension is set to be finished before 2035.
Transit supporters are not satisfied. Beltline Rail Now Co-Chair Patty Durand noted that a photo of a train was used as a backdrop for Tuesday’s breakfast.
“It’s ironic that they picture they have on the stage is of a train,” she said,” when there is no train.”
You can learn more about MARTA's timeline for light rail development in Atlanta here.
Read more about today's good news here.