State reps: Gwinnett County needs MARTA

Four state representatives with Gwinnett ties have sponsored a resolution advocating for MARTA in the county.

Credit: Hyosub Shin

Credit: Hyosub Shin

Four state representatives with Gwinnett ties have sponsored a resolution advocating for MARTA in the county.

Four members of Gwinnett’s delegation to the General Assembly have sponsored a resolution that openly advocates for MARTA to expand into the county.

State representatives Pedro Marin, Dewey McClain, Brenda Lopez and Scott Holcomb — all Democrats — are listed as sponsors of the resolution, which was dropped late last week. All four legislators represent districts along Gwinnett's I-85 corridor, which has long been seen as the logical landing spot if MARTA rail service were to be expanded into the county.

Gwinnett commuter discusses MARTA

Their resolution urges Gwinnett’s Board of Commissioners to “incorporate mass transit options” in the county and explicitly mentions MARTA several times. It claims that “many citizens” have “voiced their frustration with elected officials who do not advocate for their desire to join MARTA.”

It provides a more specific suggestion, too.

"Extending the MARTA rail line into Gwinnett County to the Gwinnett Center Arena would not only help alleviate traffic congestion in the area but also spur economic growth,” the resolution says.

The “Gwinnett Center Arena” is now known as Infinite Energy Arena. It’s off Sugarloaf Parkway near I-85 in the Duluth area.

The resolution — which would function only as a sort of legislative opinion and would not have any effect on state law — comes as Gwinnett County is beginning work on a comprehensive transit development plan.

The plan will explore what expanded transit options might be most feasible in Gwinnett. County officials have not endorsed one mode of transit or another, but have routinely suggested bus rapid transit might be the most cost-effective measure.

A contract to complete the transit plan is expected to be awarded to a consulting firm sometime in the next month or so.

In her Feb. 13 state of the county address, Gwinnett Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash called more transit options a must. She said she wants residents to have a vote on expanded transit options in the near future, possibly as soon as 2018.

Channel 2's Tony Thomas reports.

In their resolution, Marin, McClain, Lopez and Holcomb said that would be the right target.

“The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners is recommended to take immediate action so that a vote of the people may be taken during the 2018 elections as to the expansion of MARTA and other transportation expansion projects or alternatives,” the resolution says.