Metro Atlanta transit expansion: a county-by-county look


House Bill 930, signed by Gov. Nathan Deal on Thursday, allows 13 metro Atlanta counties to raise sales taxes for mass transit, if their voters approve. But some counties are more open to the idea than others. Here’s a look at the status of transit in each county.

Cherokee County

Cherokee has two local bus routes, a van-pool service for commuters and an on-demand local bus service, which operates by appointment instead of on a fixed route with bus stops. It’s also serves by the state’s commuter bus system. Chairman L.B. “Buzz” Ahrens said the county might consider expanding its transit service in the future. But he said Cherokee would be more likely to see seek a referendum for road improvements than for transit.

Clayton County

Clayton voters agreed to join MARTA in 2014 and recently celebrated three years of local bus service. The county also is setting aside money for a MARTA rail extension out of the 1 cent sales tax voters have already approved. Chairman Jeffrey Turner doesn’t see Clayton adopting an additional sales tax to expand transit anytime soon.

Cobb County

Cobb offers local and commuter bus routes and recently began a study that could lead to an expansion of its transit system. Chairman Mike Boyce said the study should be done by year’s end. Many believe a countywide transit vote would fail. But HB 930 gives Cobb the option of creating a special district that could (with voter permission) impose a tax only on parts of the county that want more transit. Boyce said a decision on how to proceed won’t come until next year.

Coweta County

Coweta offers an on-demand bus service anywhere in the county and connects to a MARTA bus top in Palmetto. Eventually, the county plans to expand that “Dial-a-Ride” service and to launch fixed-route bus service around Newnan. There’s no timetable for the fixed-route service.

DeKalb County

DeKalb County has MARTA rail and bus service and recently began a transit study that could lead to expanded service. CEO Michael Thurmond said early public feedback suggests DeKalb should focus extending rail service to Stonecrest and the Clifton Corridor and on improving existing service. The plan should be completed this fall. Though DeKalb is focused on implementing a sales tax for road and bridge improvements, Thurmond didn’t rule out a future transit vote.

Douglas County

Douglas offers a van-pool service for commuters and transportation vouchers for seniors and the disabled. It’s also served by the state’s commuter bus system. The county plans to launch four fixed bus routes next year, but there’s opposition to the proposal. County commissioners must decide whether to accept a regional grant for the service later this year. County Commissioner Kelly Robinson said there are no plans for a transit referendum, but that could change if the new bus routes are a success.

Fayette County

Fayette has an on-demand bus service for seniors and the disabled. Chairman Eric Maxwell said county commissioners have not discussed HB 930, but he doesn’t believe Fayette is interested in expanding transit service.

Forsyth County

Forsyth has an on-demand van service. It does not have plans to expand transit service, and Chairman Todd Levent said he does not believe residents would support a transit sales tax.

Fulton County

Fulton has MARTA rail and bus service and is looking to expand transit service. County and city officials recently agreed on a transit plan that, among other things, calls for new bus rapid transit service on Ga. 400 and on South Fulton Parkway. They must soon decide whether they want to hold a referendum on a .2-percent sales tax this fall or wait until at least next year.

Gwinnett County

Gwinnett offers local and commuter bus service and is looking to expand transit service. It’s finalizing a transit study that calls for extending MARTA rail to Jimmy Carter Boulevard, new bus rapid transit service and expanded local bus service. HB 930 gives Gwinnett the ability to hold a referendum to join MARTA this year. The county also could opt to wait and hold a transit referendum that does not involve joining MARTA. Commissioners must decide soon how to proceed.

Henry County

The county provides on-demand bus service and recently launched its first fixed bus route in north Henry. As demand grows, the county may consider expanding its fixed-route service, according to Communications Director Melissa Robinson. But she would not speculate on whether voters would embrace a transit sales tax.

Paulding County

Paulding operates an on-demand bus service and is served by the state’s commuter bus system. It may expand its bus service as its population grows, according to Scott Green, director of operations for the Board of Commissioners. Green does not believe voters would support a transit tax.

Rockdale County

Rockdale is served by the state’s commuter bus service, but offers no local transit service. Transportation Director Brian Allen said the county has no plans to call for a transit referendum.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Report: Amazon chooses N.Y. and Va. for new headquarters
Report: Amazon chooses N.Y. and Va. for new headquarters

The New York City and Washington D.C. metro areas are splitting Amazon’s planned second headquarters project, according to a Wall Street Journal report Monday night. The official announcement could be made as soon as Tuesday, the media outlet said, citing unnamed “people familiar with the matter.” Losing dibs on the tech giant&rsquo...
WATCH: 5-year-old football players shake hands as parents, coaches throw punches
WATCH: 5-year-old football players shake hands as parents, coaches throw punches

While a group of 5-year-olds shook hands after a youth football game Saturday, parents and coaches began throwing punches. Cellphone video obtained by Channel 2 Action News shows the brawl that started between coaches after a Georgia Youth Football Alliance game that eventually included parents.  A parent, who asked the news station to remain...
Marietta man ejected from truck, seriously injured during Cobb crash
Marietta man ejected from truck, seriously injured during Cobb crash

A man was seriously injured after being ejected from his truck during a two-vehicle wreck in Cobb County Monday, police said. Patrick Bruce, 38, of Marietta, was driving his 1998 Ford F-150 north on Canton Road when he left the roadway around 6:30 a.m. for unknown reasons, striking a utility pole and a stone wall, Cobb County police said in a news...
Walton County lawyer, judge faces 12 child porn, enticing children charges
Walton County lawyer, judge faces 12 child porn, enticing children charges

A Walton County lawyer, part-time judge and ex-special assistant attorneys general (SAAG) faces 12 charges of sexual exploitation of children, Channel 2 Action News reported. George Randolph Jeffrey, who goes by Randy, was arrested Friday amid a joint investigation by the GBI and FBI, Channel 2 reported. Documents obtained by the news station indicate...
Defense: Uber Eats driver accused of killing Morehouse grad shot in self-defense
Defense: Uber Eats driver accused of killing Morehouse grad shot in self-defense

The attorney for an Uber Eats driver accused of killing a customer wants a judge to throw out the charges against his client.   Robert Bivines’ attorney filed a request for an immunity hearing, allowing a judge to decide if his client acted in self-defense when he allegedly killed one of his customers in February. If the judge agrees...
More Stories