Atlanta City Council has voted to call for a public vote in November to decide whether MARTA should collect an extra half-cent in sales taxes to pay for expansion projects.
The list of projects to be financed through the tax includes light rail and bus plans for Buckhead, including:
–A new Armour Yard rail station on the Gold and Red Lines. Armour Yard, at Piedmont Road and I-85, currently has a MARTA maintenance facility.
–BeltLine light rail. Buckhead’s segment of the BeltLine would run between Armour Yard and I-75 along Peachtree Creek, the Shepherd Center and Piedmont Hospital.
–Clifton Corridor light rail. This new line would run from Buckhead’s Lindbergh Center Gold/Red Line station to the Blue Line’s Avondale station through the Emory University area.
–Arterial rapid transit buses on Peachtree Street and Peachtree Road. “Arterial rapid transit” means a bus that runs especially frequently and with priority at signals and in lines. The Peachtree route would run through Buckhead between the Five Points station and the Brookhaven/Oglethorpe Gold/Red Line station in Brookhaven. MARTA proposes pedestrian improvements on that corridor as well.
–Bus rapid transit on Northside Drive. “Bus rapid transit” means the bus would travel mostly in a dedicated lane. The Northside route would run between southwest Atlanta and I-75 on the Buckhead border.
–A light rail plan to link BeltLine light rail to the new Armour Yard station, the streetcar and other intown transit facilities.
–Improved signage, pedestrian access and other amenities at all existing rail stations; additional cars on rail lines; and better bus timing on some routes.
In July, the council will take up a potential second referendum for a transportation sales tax – or TSPLOST – to fund bike trails, sidewalk and road projects for five years. If voters approve another half-penny for the TSPLOST along with approving the MARTA tax, that would increase the city’s sales tax to 9 percent – the highest in the state.
–Collin Kelley contributed to this report.