MARTA APPROVES CONTRACT WITH GWINNETT COUNTY
Next Step is County Referendum in March 2019
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) Board of Directors has approved a contract to extend bus, rail, and Mobility services into Gwinnett County, an important step before a decisive countywide ballot referendum scheduled for March 2019.
“This vote is another step in fulfilling the dream of a truly regional transit system,” said MARTA Board of Directors Chairman Robert L. Ashe. “We are excited about the opportunity to transform the region and provide greater connectivity.”
In a unanimous vote, the board authorized MARTA to execute a formal agreement that was signed by the Gwinnett County Commission in August. Although Gwinnett was one of the five metro Atlanta counties originally included in state legislation that created MARTA in 1965, the contract between MARTA and Gwinnett County is pursuant to HB930, which passed the Georgia General Assembly this year.
“The commission vote in August and this board vote illustrate how important transit has become to our expanding region,” said MARTA General Manager & CEO Jeffrey Parker. “Our lives don’t stop at county lines and this is a chance to further connect all the communities of metro Atlanta.”
If the latest measure is approved by voters in the 2019 special election, a one-percent sales tax would be collected in Gwinnett County to fund transit operations, capital expenses, and expansion through 2057. Projections show the sales tax would raise approximately $170 million per year, or $5 billion during that period.
Under the terms of the contract, MARTA would immediately assume control of six local bus routes and five express routes that take commuters to destinations inside I-285 that are currently operated by Gwinnett County Transit.
“I am excited about the vote made by the board and what the contract between MARTA and Gwinnett County will mean to the people of Gwinnett and across the region,” said Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Charlotte Nash.
Gwinnett County recently adopted a transit development plan that envisions a heavy rail line from MARTA’s Doraville Station to Gwinnett Place Mall along the I-85 corridor as well as bus rapid transit (BRT) and increased local bus service to serve its fast-growing population and to alleviate traffic congestion.