ALPHARETTA, Ga. — The metro region’s transit planning agency will close entries July 10 for a Call for Projects it issued last month to give project sponsors the opportunity to submit new or make updates/changes to existing projects.

The Atlanta Region Transit Link Authority (the ATL) is studying close to 200 projects for funding in the 13-county metro region, including DeKalb, Fulton and Forsyth counties. The newly submitted and updated projects will form the basis of short-term (six-year) and long-term (20-year) transit priorities for the region. The prioritized project lists are designed to give the agency a strategy to help target additional state and federal investments, according to Deidre Johnson, ATL public information officer.

The final plan will be submitted to the Atlanta Regional Commission late this year for inclusion in the federally required short-range Transportation Improvement Program and the long-range Regional Transportation Plan. The documents guide allocation of federal, state and local funding for all regionally significant transportation investment in the Atlanta Region.

At its June board of director’s meeting, the ATL board reviewed a timeline that will allow it to finalize a regional transportation program report by the end of the year.

Over the course of the summer, projects will be prioritized based on the ATL’s Project Performance Framework as well as prioritized by the project timelines identified and submitted by individual agencies, cities and counties.

The schedule also calls for another series of “district downloads,” town-hall-style information sessions that will be held in early fall at different locations throughout the region.

The latest list of projects range in cost and scope from CobbLinc’s $800,000 transit signal priority plan to MARTA’s $1.4 billion proposed heavy rail line to Stonecrest in DeKalb County.

Other projects with varying price tags include renovation of pedestrian bridges at $6.3 million and MARTA’s North Fulton bus rapid transit service along Ga. 400 at $300 million.

Last fall, the ATL staff culled the original project list to 79 projects that have been identified as having assumed federal or state discretionary funding sources. The 79 projects were evaluated based on 14 criteria that basically rated their impact. Each project was then assigned a numerical value and charted based on how much bang it would provide for the buck, according to Lori Sand, planner with the ATL.

The ATL has scheduled three meetings this month.

The Transit Planning Committee is set to hear a 2020 Legislative Session review and discuss a presentation on Gwinnett County’s plan to schedule another referendum on MARTA rail service. Gwinnett County commissioners voted June 16 to lay the groundwork to give county voters the opportunity — possibly this fall — to adopt a special sales tax to fund incorporation into the transit system, which serves DeKalb, Fulton and Clayton counties.

Gwinnett voters rejected the idea in a referendum held in March 2019, but proponents say the issue might fare better if placed on the ballot during the presidential election.

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