A poster explaining the ballot question for Gwinnett County’s upcoming MARTA referendum. TYLER ESTEP / TYLER.ESTEP@AJC.COM

Questions about Gwinnett MARTA vote? 2 informational sessions left

Early voting is already underway and Election Day is right around the corner — but those still looking for more information on Gwinnett’s MARTA referendum still have the time (and place) to find it. 

In addition to reviewing the AJC’s comprehensive voter’s guide and visiting gwinnettcounty.com, the county still has two  educational open houses remaining. 

They are scheduled as follows:

  • From 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, March 11 at the Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology, 970 McElvaney Lane NW in Lawrenceville.
  • From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 16 at Berean Christian Church Gwinnett, 1465 Highpoint Road in Snellville.

The sessions are drop-in style and meant to provide education about Gwinnett’s pending contract with MARTA and the transit projects that a new 1 percent sales tax would pay for should the referendum pass on March 19.

The events will be the 17th and 18th educational open houses that the county has hosted on the referendum since January. A total of about 660 people have attended the events thus far, a county spokeswoman said.

That’s an average of about 40 people per open house.

County officials like Commission Chair Charlotte Nash and transportation director have also discussed the referendum at nearly three dozen other events in recent weeks.

Pro- and anti-transit advocates have also held their own events. 

MORE: Gwinnett MARTA election: Is a formal opposition movement important?

IN-DEPTH: How pro-transit forces are trying to drive turnout in Gwinnett MARTA election

Thousands of Gwinnett voters have already cast ballots during early voting for the referendum, which started Feb. 25 and continues until March 15 at eight locations throughout the county. 

Those locations are listed here.

If the referendum passes on March 19, it would ratify Gwinnett’s pending contract with MARTA and commit county residents and other shoppers to paying a new 1 percent sales tax until 2057. 

The estimated $5.5 billion in sales tax collections would help fund transit projects that include a heavy rail extension from the Doraville MARTA station to a new multimodal hub planned for near I-85 and Jimmy Carter Boulevard. Other projects, which will be guided by a plan the county created, include about 50 miles of bus rapid transit lines, which generally operate in dedicated lanes with limited stops; around 110 miles of arterial bus lines, which operate in mixed traffic but can have technology to skip lines and trigger light changes; and greatly expanded traditional local bus service. 

IN-DEPTH: A look at what Gwinnett’s transit plan would bring to your neighborhood

The contract between Gwinnett and MARTA calls for sales tax collections to be remitted to the county, which would then write checks to MARTA to pay for projects and other expenses. 

For the first six years, Gwinnett would be committed to pay MARTA 29 percent of its sales tax proceeds to help fund general costs of maintaining the larger MARTA system, and to cover the costs associated with MARTA’s takeover and expansion of the county’s existing bus system.

The 29 percent figure would be reassessed and adjusted as deemed appropriate following the initial six-year period.

> Updates and news about the Gwinnett MARTA expansion vote from the AJC

View the pending contract between Gwinnett and MARTA below.

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