At BeltLine Rail Now, the “Now” part is as important as “Rail.” That’s why we’re disappointed that MARTA doesn't plan to build light rail on the full loop until the 2040s. We had high hopes after MARTA’s board voted to include most of the BeltLine on its project list last year, but this plan careens down the wrong track.
This week we asked you to come out and you showed up! There is positive movement towards ARC including rail on the entire BeltLine on their list but it is not for certain due to the lack of support from Atlanta city council and MARTA. Please email your city council members and ask why they haven’t asked the ARC to include light rail transit on the whole Beltline in the Regional Transportation Plan, which would qualify it for federal matching funds.
The Atlanta Retional Commission is taking away transit from the 45 neighborhoods the BeltLine would connect.
Last fall, your voices convinced the MARTA board that rail transit on the BeltLine is imperative to keep Atlanta moving. Now we need you to speak out once again. Neither MARTA nor the city has asked the Atlanta Regional Commission to include BeltLine Rail in their long-range plan. If the BeltLine is not in the ARC plan it can’t qualify for Federal matching dollars and thus won’t be completed for decades.
Transportation along the Atlanta BeltLine has come a long way since the original light rail plans in 1999. Five steps must be taken before rail construction can begin. These 5 steps are complete or almost complete for 16 of the 22 miles of light rail. This blog is an overview of where we are today after the More MARTA funding.
Completing the goal of the Atlanta BeltLine, using More MARTA would improve equity and connect affordable housing to jobs and amenities. Let’s finish what we began in 2007, when then MARTA’s Board decided that BeltLine should be built with rail transit along the entire loop. This is the best and probably last chance we will have, in our lifetimes, to fund and build rail transit on the entire BeltLine loop.
This was never the plan, but two thirds of the Beltline may forever move forward without transit. That’s because MARTA is only committed to one third of the long-promised project in the current More MARTA plan – a $2.5 billion list of projects to help the urban core of Atlanta manage incredible growth and change over the next 40 years. Worse, MARTA has offered no commitment to other funding or timing to close the 22-mile loop of transit.
Transit on the Atlanta Beltline advances equity by laying a more equitable and sustainable foundation for a future Atlanta – a city much larger than the one we see today. This future is fueled by powerful economic forces of change, but the Atlanta Beltline – especially its transit component – will help the city manage that change so that it benefits existing residents and businesses. If we also follow through on policies and investments for other equity goals like affordable housing, economic opportunity, and workforce development, Atlanta can be a model city of the future. We can catalyze new ways of thinking and set new expectations for project delivery that reach beyond transit to define success by a wide range of equity goals.
Dear City Hall, Dear MARTA. Dear decision makers, dear agency staffers, dear community organizers, dear ordinary citizens who may not have been around when we got started in 2001. Dear young people who were children at that time. Dear anyone who cares about this city’s future – the Atlanta Beltline needs your help.
A year and a half after the November 2016 referendum, MARTA released its draft plan for how to spend $2.5 billion of City of Atlanta taxpayer money on transit – a plan dubbed “More MARTA.” I guess since I was outspoken about it before the news came out, and since the plan includes only one third of the Atlanta Beltline, several people have asked what I think. Here’s my initial reply.
This call isn’t only about transit. It’s a much wider call-to-action because without transit – soon and urgently – we won’t get the Beltline we’ve been talking about all these years. Regarding the use of $2.5+ billion from the 2016 MARTA referendum in the City of Atlanta, here’s what I think we should be asking for:
Our collective memory of the Atlanta Beltline’s story is important – especially regarding its more challenging aspects like equity, affordability, and transit. We’ve made many commitments over the years, but there has also been a lot of turnover in leadership and staff at both City Hall and MARTA. My intent with the following timeline, therefore, is simply to articulate my account of these commitments regarding transit so that the best decisions can be made about transit implementation.