Breaking News

WATCH LIVE: Biden, Harris making first appearance since announcement

X

Regional transit board approves Gwinnett plan

Gwinnett County Transit express buses depart for downtown Atlanta from the Express Bus Park and Ride lot at Sugarloaf Mills in Lawrenceville. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM AJC FILE PHOTO
Gwinnett County Transit express buses depart for downtown Atlanta from the Express Bus Park and Ride lot at Sugarloaf Mills in Lawrenceville. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM AJC FILE PHOTO

Metro Atlanta's regional transit board on Thursday signed off on Gwinnett County's proposed plan for expansion of services. It's one of the final steps before commissioners must decide whether they want to send a transit measure to voters, the second in less than two years.

Gwinnett's proposal would extend MARTA's heavy rail from the Doraville station to Jimmy Carter Boulevard, add four bus-rapid transit routes and expand paratransit service around the county, in addition to other countywide changes.

“I really believe this represents a true landmark, a milestone for the region,” said Chris Tomlinson, executive director of the Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority (ATL). “I’m just looking forward to seeing how things unfold from here.”

Gwinnett voters rejected transit expansion in March 2019, but since then, county commissioners and others have been tweaking the plan to make it more appealing to voters. Now, commissioners must decide whether to put the $12 billion transit plan before voters in November. That decision must be made by the end of the month.

If they intend to, commissioners also must decide the funding source for the penny sales tax that will pay for the $12 billion plan. The choices are MARTA, in which case the regional transit agency would manage the entire Gwinnett system; or the new ATL tax, in which case MARTA would run the heavy rail, but the county could operate the rest of the system.