Transportation Reform in Georgia

SELC is working to halt highways that lead to more traffic and instead shift investments to real solutions such as transit and rail.


Photo © Ron Sherman

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“MartaMenu” tool lets you tinker with Atlanta’s transit potential More »

Building momentum around a potential referendum to expand the Atlanta region’s public transportation system, Citizens for Progressive Transit has launched a transportation analysis tool to help users envision a variety of transit options.

Using technology developed by transportation planning consultancy Conveyal, the “Build Your Own MARTA Expansion” interactive tool provides Atlanta residents with a robust visualization of what a future network of transit investments could look like, based on estimated costs.

Evaluating the impact of both current and future transportation systems, the tool offers optics for transit investments including:

  • additional BeltLine rail options
  • added Streetcar lines
  • extended light rail routes
  • supplemental MARTA stations
  • expanded rapid bus corridors, and
  • increased frequency of existing bus service.

This fall, City of Atlanta residents will vote on whether to levy an addition ½ cent sales tax to fund an expansion of MARTA. If passed, the vote would support the largest expansion of MARTA service in the City of Atlanta in decades.

SELC, Citizens for Progressive Transit, and a number of other Atlanta transportation groups are hopeful that the tool will provoke public interest in options that would create more diversity in funding transit investments outside of heavy rail.

“MartaMenu gives Atlanta residents a clear vision for the types of projects we could build and how these additional options can work together effectively,” said Senior Attorney Brian Gist. “We hope this will continue to shape public discussions around possible ways to allocate funding to various projects that could expand Atlanta’s network of transportation choices in an unprecedented way.”

Click here to test out the interactive MARTA expansion tool.

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Decades of sprawling growth and an auto-centric culture have saddled metro Atlanta with some of the most congested roads, dirtiest air, and longest commutes in the country.

As part of our regional transportation reform work, SELC is working to steer Georgia away from asphalt-centered transportation policies and toward solutions that strengthen communities, reduce air and water pollution, protect sensitive ecosystems, and decrease global warming emissions.

Looking Beyond Toll Lanes

Facing congested roadways and limited transportation funds, metro Atlanta has seen a push toward construction of toll lanes on the region’s interstates. Among other problems, these toll lanes fail to provide a long term transportation solution, provide more space for solo drivers, and because of their price could be less accessible to low income drivers.

To prevent the region from becoming over-reliant on toll lanes as a central mobility strategy, SELC is weighing in on these projects to ensure they are used as a tool to encourage carpooling and transit use.

Supporting Investment in Transit

Residents of metro Atlanta are increasingly demanding alternatives to driving, like increased access to public transit and more walkable communities. Supporting legislative and policy efforts in response to shifting transportation demands, SELC and our partners are working to provide suggestions for additional investments in transit, bicycle, and pedestrian projects, safety improvements for drivers and non-drivers, and projects that allow for greater accessibility to job centers and transit stations.

We are also helping to advance projects that create access to a variety of transit choices, such as the expansion of MARTA into Clayton County, increasing MARTA service throughout the City of Atlanta, adding lines to the Atlanta streetcar, and expanding rail options for the Atlanta BeltLine―an urban redevelopment and mobility venture that ties together public parks, multi-use trails, and transit by re-using 22-miles of historic railroad corridors circling downtown neighborhoods.

Successful execution of these projects is helping to chart a new path for metro Atlanta, providing concrete examples of how it can move beyond building more roads. SELC will continue to work with local partner groups, city and state agencies, elected officials, and leaders in the business community to explore other ways to fund such alternatives.

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