The vision cast by the TPB is a bold, multimodal one, stretching over 14 counties, representing an ambitious but necessary expansion of service coverage. With unprecedented state and regional support for this transit plan, regional coordination is expected to continue through its implementation. The components of the plan include small extensions to the rail system to better leverage the existing infrastructure, an introduction of fixed-guideway applications such as commuter rail, light rail and streetcar applications, and the addition of arterial rapid bus service. The multimodal composition will create a transit system of first choice that will sustain and improve lifeline mobility needs, as well as offer viable transit options for the lifestyle commuter. Successful implementation of the plan will also require an immediate investment to optimize the existing core transit network, including a 25 percent increase in local and community bus service to serve existing needs, improved and expanded amenities such as sidewalks and bicycle facilities, and a focus on transit supportive land use and zoning policies. Most critical to advancing the vision is the need for an aggressive phasing strategy for construction that will require various methods of project delivery and innovative funding sources, primarily from local channels.
Concept 3 is the Atlanta region’s bold transit plan representing an effort to recapture, in theory, what was envisioned more than 40 years ago. MARTA looks forward to continuing its work with the region to establish a funding mechanism and governance framework that will bring this new transit vision into reality.
Johnny Dunning is MARTA’s senior director of Transit System Planning.