Some DeKalb County residents want more investment in public transit.
On Sept. 29, the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts asked that $10 million for an assessment of a transit line in north DeKalb be added to a list of $6.1 billion worth of regional transportation projects that would be funded with a penny sales tax.
The deadline for amendments is Sept. 30. The Perimeter CIDs want the Atlanta Regional Roundtable to spend $10 million to complete the environmental assessment of a transit line to parallel I-285 from Dunwoody to Doraville. Perimeter CIDs President and CEO Yvonne Williams said the line could start as a trolley or bus service and eventually become light rail.
The night before, on Sept. 28, most of people who attended the DeKalb County Sept. 28 public hearing on the proposed 1-cent transportation sales tax showed up to support a MARTA line along I-20 East in south DeKalb — a project that also has the support of several county leaders.
DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis said he supports adding the MARTA line to the project list. Ellis said it is important that the list include regional public transit projects.
“In order to be a smart, successful regional plan we’ve got to look beyond jurisdictional boundaries,” Ellis said.
One of the questions asked of a panel of transportation officials at the Manuel Maloof Auditorium in Decatur was why a MARTA line from Doraville to the Perimeter area did not make the list of projects.
“I think that has merit,” said Cheryl King, assistant general manager of planning for MARTA. “There is a need for that project but it was not considered a priority by those who made those decisions.”
The panel also was asked why Ashford-Dunwoody Road was included on the project list when there has been a lot of controversy in the community about changing the road.
Ted Rhinehart, deputy chief operating officer of the infrastructure group of departments for DeKalb County, said the amount of money allocated to the project would likely not be enough to widen the road, but rather would go toward a project such as improving the bottleneck at Johnson Ferry Road.
“It could still come off or stay on [the list],” Rhinehart said.
The list of transportation projects will be finalized in October. The sales tax goes before voters in the region next year.
–Melissa Weinman, Dan Whisenhunt