Picture credit- MARTA

Gov. Nathan Deal Thursday signed legislation that creates the state-level Atlanta-region Transit Link Authority, which will be called the ATL.

The new law will provide a new structure for coordinated transit planning and funding for the 13-county metro Atlanta region. The ATL will be responsible for developing a Regional Transit Plan, as well as identifying and prioritizing the projects and initiatives required to develop region-wide transit. Deal also allotted $100 million in 10-year General Obligation bonds in the FY 2019 budget to fund public transit.

This legislation will create this new ATL organization which will also include and rebrand Atlanta’s MARTA train system. The new law will allow voters in 13 metro counties will also have the chance to vote on a 1-cent sales tax which would fund new transit projects in this area, and allocates $100 million to expand transit through the area.

The law looks to improve transit coordination, integration and efficiency in Cherokee, Clayton, Coweta, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding and Rockdale counties. The new law would also allow Gwinnett County to vote as soon as this November to join MARTA. South Cobb and north and south Fulton counties could follow as well.

“Georgia is a destination for all types of industries and people from all walks of life to come and enjoy the economic and natural prosperity of our state,” said Deal. “It is projected that the metro Atlanta area will add another 2.5 million residents by 2040, and HB 930 recognizes this growth and provides a coordinated, streamlined and unified approach to prepare for the future of metro Atlanta and the surrounding communities. With the establishment of the ATL, we are taking another significant step to ensure that our modes of transit and mobility are worthy of the No. 1 state for business and the best place for opportunity.”

The legislation was passed in the final hours of the 2018 legislative session.

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