Fulton County Transit Expansion Options Revealed at Meeting of County Officials | Print |

ATLANTA (Dec. 14, 2017) – After six months of extensive analysis, robust public engagement, and comprehensive study, a series of Fulton County transit expansion scenarios were presented for review and discussion at a meeting of Fulton County Commissioners and Mayors today. The options, which were developed as part of the Fulton County Transit Master Plan, address Fulton County’s mobility and connectivity needs based on guiding principles and funding scenarios established by community leaders and citizens.

Fulton County officials partnered with the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) earlier this year to study the County’s transit future following voter approval of a transportation special purpose local option sales tax (TSPLOST) in November 2016. While the TSPLOST dedicates ¾ of a cent over the next five years to roadway construction and maintenance in Fulton County—outside of the City of Atlanta—the transit plan provides a community-based vision and corresponding funding scenarios for the extension of public transit as part of a complete transportation solution.

The development of transit expansion scenarios in Fulton County comes after decades of population growth and investment, growing concerns over traffic congestion, and a renewed focus on improving county infrastructure, especially transit.

“It’s imperative our region consider transit as a necessary component for congestion relief,” said Liz Hausmann, Fulton County Commissioner for District 1. “A well-managed transportation system will foster economic prosperity and continue to keep our state as a national leader in which to do business.”

The Transit Master Plan team, led by Kimley-Horn and HNTB, presented five scenarios at the Dec. 14 meeting. The scenarios were based upon analysis of population and employment densities, major activity center locations, future growth projections, mobility needs, and locations of populations likely to use transit. The scenarios include a market-based plan, which represents a countywide vision for transit services, and four scenarios based on potential funding levels. The scenarios consider different mode types across North and South Fulton with implementation, maintenance, and operations costs estimated over a 40-year period.

In addition to upgrades to existing MARTA rail stations and bus stops in Fulton County, the scenarios include the following features:

  • The market-based scenario provides a demand-based, aspirational plan to meet the access and mobility needs of Fulton County over the next 40 years. The scenario envisions expanding heavy rail north along GA 400 to Holcomb Bridge Road, west along I-20 to Fulton Industrial Boulevard, and south from College Park through the City of Hapeville and into Clayton County. The vision also includes light rail along the top end of I-285, and bus rapid transit (BRT) and arterial rapid transit (ART) along several north and south Fulton corridors.
  • A ¼-cent sales tax, or Transit sales tax, scenario offers bus rapid transit (BRT) on two North Fulton and two South Fulton corridors. While it is not sufficient to meet Fulton County’s needs nor the public’s desire for enhanced transit access, this scenario utilized the remaining sales tax increment in Fulton County under current limits set by the State of Georgia.
  • A ½-cent RAIL scenario includes the potential for rail along GA 400 to Holcomb Bridge Road and bus or arterial rapid transit along GA 400 from Holcomb Bridge Road to Old Milton Parkway, South Fulton Parkway, and Highway 29/Roosevelt Highway.
  • A ½-cent BRT/ART scenario provides significant BRT and ART investments throughout south and north Fulton.
  • A ½-cent PLUS scenario would combine BRT and ART investments with heavy rail along GA 400 to Holcomb Bridge Road.

To move forward with any of the scenarios, the Fulton County Mayors and Commission must work with state legislators to authorize a funding stream that extends beyond the current limit of five years.

The presentation of transit options caps a six-month process that began in June with extensive public outreach including public meetings, task force meetings, focus groups, and online public surveys. In January 2018, these scenarios will be presented to the public at a series of open houses across Fulton County. Public input is critical to providing a direction for a scenario to move forward in the 2018 legislative session.

“Improved public transit service is a step toward better equity for our residents,” says Vince Williams, Mayor of Union City. “We want to improve mobility for everyone living in Fulton County, regardless of income or geography. And, to get there, we’re going to need more funding than the quarter-penny remaining under TSPLOST—at least, that was my take away. This is a long-term investment in our future and it’s what Fulton residents will need.”

For more information or to sign-up for plan updates and public open house announcements, visit the project website:  http://www.fultoncountyga.gov/tmp-home.