Pedestrians walk past a recently built trio of geodesic domes that are part of the Seattle headquarters for Amazon,. The online retail giant is searching for a second headquarters in North America, a huge new development that would cost as much as $5 billion to build and run, and house as many as 50,000 employees. (Stuart Isett/The New York Times)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

New Ga. 400 transit line could become key to Amazon pitch 

The state’s plan to develop a mass transit expansion along the spine of Ga. 400 through north metro Atlanta has already become a key part of its pursuit of Amazon’s second headquarters. 

The state has kept Amazon updated on the state’s $100 million down payment to build interchanges for commuter buses along the highway, along with other recent legislative votes that paved the way for transit expansions across the region. 

Amazon has whittled its list of contenders for the $5 billion project to Atlanta and 19 other cities, and Georgia has prepared the most lucrative incentive package in state history to entice the online retail giant and the 50,000 high-paying jobs it promises. 

The firm’s executives recently scouted several Atlanta sites, including the warren of sunken parking lots in downtown known as the Gulch. But a chunk of the company’s workforce is likely to settle in the northern suburbs, where the bus rapid transit lines could help cut commutes. 

The state’s investment marks the first time Georgia has teamed with Fulton County and the MARTA system on a significant transit initiative. It also marks a sea change for state Republicans who once disdained significant funding for mass transit in Atlanta. 

VIDEO: Take a trip to Amazon's Seattle headquarters with AJC business reporters J. Scott Trubey and Matt Kempner.
Video: Mandi Albright/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

House Speaker David Ralston credited firms, such as Amazon, that “tell us explicitly that transit is important to world-class companies and their employees” for the policy shift. 

And Gov. Nathan Deal said he hoped it would send a powerful message to the company’s executives as they narrow down their choices.

"The fact that they see good faith on the part of the state taking these kinds of moves hopefully will give them and others confidence that we’re ready to address not only the current needs of our citizens, but also those that we may anticipate in the future," he said.

Read more AJC coverage on Georgia’s bid for Amazon’s second headquarters:

Amazon tours Atlanta in its second headquarters search

The business and politics of Georgia's Amazon HQ2 bid for Amazon

Amazon visit gave Georgia chance to get past rocky past 

Seattle’s message to Atlanta about Amazon HQ2: ‘Be prepared for growth’  

Atlanta’s HQ2 bid: Amazon’s business much more than e-commerce  

The business and politics of Georgia's Amazon HQ2 bid for Atlanta 

Why not everyone wants Amazon 

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.