Georgia’s top political leaders Friday appointed representatives to a new regional board that will have a big say in metro Atlanta’s transit plans in coming years.
Gov. Nathan Deal named Georgia Power executive Charlie Sutlive to chair the board, which will oversee transit funding and construction in the 13-county region.
Sutlive is Georgia Power’s director of corporate communication. He previously was vice chancellor for communications and governmental affairs for the University System of Georgia and has held leadership positions for MCI, McKesson and Coca-Cola North America.
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Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle appointed Russell Landscape president Teddy Russell and developer Mark Toro to the board. And House Speaker David Ralston named Gwinnett County Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash and state Rep. Earl Ehrhart, who is leaving office at the end of the year.
The Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority (dubbed "the ATL") is the creation of a new state law that could lead to a dramatic transit expansion across the region. The law allows counties to raise sales taxes to support transit construction and operations.
Already, Gwinnett has scheduled a referendum on joining MARTA for March. Fulton, Cobb and DeKalb counties also are drafting transit expansion plans.
The 16-member ATL Board will coordinate those efforts. The idea is to development a seamless regional transit system from the county-by-county approach that has developed over the decades.
“By 2040, the metro Atlanta area is projected to add another 2.5 million residents and the ATL is a significant step towards providing a coordinated, streamlined and unified approach to prepare for the future of metro Atlanta and the surrounding communities,” Deal said in announcing the appointments.