“We really intend on making it a substantial operation of our bus system,” Parker told the Clayton County Commission in late February.
The move comes as MARTA is planning to broaden its presence in the south metro community, including bringing commuter rail services and more bus routes to meet growing demand.
Clayton officials have pushed the agency to pick up the pace on amenities residents want to see today, such as bus shelters.
Parker said MARTA has erected 39 shelters since launching operations in 2015 and plans to build dozens more in 2020. But he admitted the pace was slow and said shelters would not be available at all 625 bus stops in the county.
“The bottom line is we want people to be able to go to work and go wherever they are going without being in the rain,” Commissioner Felicia Franklin Warner said.
In addition to the expanded operations facility, Parker also said MARTA plans to add two east-west bus routes in Clayton and will develop a transit center at the Clayton County Justice Center.
The revised operations and maintenance facility will cost about $110 million, instead of the $26.2 million projected in 2014. MARTA also will put funds into the project, along with federal dollars and Clayton’s capital reserves for transit operations. Clayton’s reserves previously were the sole source of funding.
“We want to increase the efficiency of the MARTA system,” Parker said. “A newer facility in Clayton County will lower our overall maintenance costs and make sure that we have an efficient operation.”