Taxpayers have agreed to give MARTA at least $2.5 billion to expand transit over 40 years, but audits obtained by Channel 2 Action News and our partners at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution raise questions about the transit authority’s competence to manage such projects.

DeKalb leaders raise concerns ahead of MARTA vote on Gwinnett

Ahead of today’s scheduled vote by the MARTA board on a contract with Gwinnett County, DeKalb County officials are raising concerns.

CEO Michael Thurmond and Commissioner Jeff Rader, the presiding officer, said they want assurances that MARTA will not ignore DeKalb needs as Gwinnett joins the fold.

“What we need from MARTA is a tangible and specific commitment to correct long standing deficiencies within the existing service area, including the extent, quality and reliability of DeKalb County bus service, paratransit, and transit amenities like bus stops and shelters,” a letter signed by the both of them said.

DeKalb officials worry that MARTA could possibly underserve their county while concentrating on new Gwinnett transit expansion. JOHN SPINK/JSPINK@AJC.COM
Photo: JOHN SPINK / AJC/JOHN SPINK / AJC

MARTA’s agreement with Gwinnett would allow the agency to expand train service into the county and take over existing bus service. It also provides a unique amount of local control over how transit dollars are spent in an attempt to gain wider support for a tax increase referendum.

In the letter, Thurmond and Rader said MARTA’s proposed light rail project in the Clifton corridor near Emory University and discussions about how to ease congestion along Interstate 20 should continue to be priorities.

 “If the Contract is approved, we also expect implementation of strategies to maximize the benefit to DeKalb residents of new service traversing DeKalb, including stops in DeKalb and reverse commute scheduling,” they wrote.

Read the letter from DeKalb officials to MARTA:

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