Through the month of January, Fulton County residents can weigh in on how they want to get around the county in the years to come.
Fulton, outside the city of Atlanta, is considering expanding its mass transit options in both the north and south parts of the county. The county’s proposals came about with residents’ input, and leaders are seeking more feedback about which plan to get behind by holding four public meetings.
The meetings are:
- Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Best Western at 907 Holcomb Bridge Road in Roswell;
- Jan. 18 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the South Fulton Service Center at 5600 Stonewall Tell Road in College Park;
- Jan. 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Atlanta Marriott at 5750 Windward Parkway in Alpharetta;
- Jan. 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the College Park City Hall at 3667 Main Street in College Park.
Residents who can’t make the meetings can fill out a survey online at http://www.fultoncountyga.gov/tmp-home. It will be live through Jan. 24.
At the meetings, the county will present several options for expanding transit in the metro area. A $16 billion plan that would encompass everything residents were looking for would include MARTA rail extensions, including up Ga. 400 from the North Springs station to Holcomb Bridge Road, from the Hamilton Holmes MARTA station west along I-20 and from Hapeville to Clayton County.
It would also have light rail on the top end of I-285, bus rapid transit lines in the north and south of the county and arterial rapid transit lines that would allow more connections between stations.
Other options that are more affordable — and therefore more likely — were also presented. A quarter penny sales tax would bring in $2.4 billion over 40 years and allow for the construction of three bus rapid transit lines. A half-penny tax could raise $4.9 billion to pay for the northern MARTA extension and some bus rapid transit, but wouldn’t cover the cost of making connections outside those main lines. Used another way, that $4.9 billion could pay for bus rapid transit lines up Ga. 400 to Old Milton Parkway, and along Holcomb Bridge Road to the north and along South Fulton Parkway to Ga. 92 and on U.S. 29 in the south. Bus rapid transit has dedicated lanes and stations for people to board.
It could also cover the cost of arterial rapid transit lines, which use stations like bus rapid transit, but don’t have their own lanes. Arterial rapid transit vehicles have the ability to turn traffic lights green and have dedicated bypass lanes at major intersections. Those lines are proposed for Roswell Road, Old Milton Parkway, Ga. 141, Fulton Industrial Boulevard and Camp Creek Parkway.
“The public is asking us to do something,” Fulton County Commissioner Liz Hausmann said in December. “It’s a sea change, really, from what it was before.”
Fulton could begin collecting a quarter penny in 2019, but could not collect a half penny until 2022, because it already has a 7.75 percent tax rate, and the state caps its rate at 8 percent. A three-quarter penny transportation sales tax that was passed in 2016 expires after five years.
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