MARTA cuts back on some service, adds buses to Upper Riverdale/Southlake for COVID-19 distancing

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JONESBORO — The Clayton County Board of Commissioners will decide whether to join other local entities in approving a 15th MARTA contract amendment at its Jan. 21 meeting.

Fulton, DeKalb County and the City of Atlanta are also parties to the contract. 

“Clayton County (FY 2016) SPLOST revenue was not utilized as contemplated as a source of revenue in the Rapid Transit Contract entered into between the Authority and Clayton,” the amendment reads in part, adding that Clayton SPLOST revenues “for the year in question” fell short by $25 million.

MARTA wants to extend the one-cent SPLOST tax for rapid transit through 2057 instead of 2047. MARTA officials say they hope the extension will help them get low rates on 30-year-bond sales. In exchange, according to the proposed amendment, MARTA would “commit to ensuring” transit projects in Clayton would be “designed and executed” according to the county’s priorities.

An exhibit attached to the proposed amendment lists several transit projects for Clayton under the existing SPLOST “and other potential funding sources”:

• Adding two new bus and routes in 2021 and maintaining the 10 already in place

• Continued planning and design on the Clayton County Commuter Rail project, which will stretch 22 miles from East Point Station to Lovejoy, with the first phase from East Point to Southlake Mall up and running by 2030

• A Clayton County Bus Rapid Transit corridor route along Georgia State Route 85 and Georgia State Route 139, in service in 2026

• About 175 upgraded “amenities” for Clayton County bus stops by 2024

• A new multipurpose operations and maintenance facility, along with a police precinct and administrative offices, that will replace the Hamilton Mills Bus Facility and that is slated for northern Clayton County by 2026

• Mobility centers (hubs) and Park n Ride locations.

MARTA officials say one project at the Harold R. Banke Justice Center would give riders the ability to transfer between several lines and purchase fare cards. The facility would look something like MARTA rail stations where buses from different lines pull up in separate bays.

The Board of Commissioners meets at 6:30 p.m. at BOC headquarters, 112 Smith St., Jonesboro.

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