MARTA: Southlake bus rapid transit line gets federal support

MARTA’s plans to construct a bus rapid transit line from its College Park train station to Southlake Mall received on Friday federal support that is key to the project.

The Atlanta transit agency’s proposed Southlake BRT line in Clayton County has moved into the “development phase” of the Federal Transportation Administration’s Small Starts Project. Being included in Small Starts, part of the FTA’s Capital Investment Grant, will give the proposal potential access to $150 million in funding.

“Clayton County residents will benefit from the Southlake BRT because it will make a trip from College Park to Southlake Mall 19 minutes faster, making it easier to access jobs, healthcare, and entertainment throughout the region,” Clayton County Chairman Jeff Turner said in a statement.

MARTA said the FTA’s acceptance of the Clayton project could be the first of many the Atlanta agency advocated for as part its MARTA 2040 program.

“This is an exciting milestone for both MARTA and Clayton County as we undertake the region’s first major transit expansion in decades,” MARTA CEO and interim General Manager Collie Greenwood said.

The Southlake BRT is estimated to cost around $338 million and will connect several destinations in Clayton County, including Airport Gateway, Riverdale Town Center, Southern Regional Medical Center and the Mount Zion commercial corridor.

MARTA had considered bringing a commuter rail line to Clayton County, but scrapped the plan last year after struggling to get access to freight tracks necessary to make that happen.