The financial and service planning processes in Atlanta, Georgia, metropolitan region are reviewed. The transportation planning package supporting the 1971 Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) referendum has had long-term benefits not originally anticipated. The central pillars of transportation planning in the area are the Atlanta Regional Commission's (ARC) long-term plan and the MARTA rail system. The Triparty Agreement among ARC, MARTA, and the Georgia Department of Transportation (GADOT) is especially important since it brought three of the most powerful organizations in the area into regular and structured contact and led to mutual goodwill and respect. Since the MARTA referendum was passed, virtually all the freeways that have been planned have been deleted in favor of upgrading the existing freeway system and expanding the MARTA rail system. The 1971 passage of an addition to the sales tax to fund the construction of a 53-mile rapid rail system is probably the single most important event in Atlanta transportation. All long-range transportation planning starts from the referendum rail system and then upgraded freeway system. The Transportation Improvements Plan (TIP), developed in 1977, endorses the referendum rail system and addresses alternatives for the post referendum system period. In the plan, highways and transit have been integrated and treated as complementary mobility techniques. ARC policy requires that financial planning occur at each level of funding. The MARTA system's strong community support rests on the packaging of the original proposal and effective delivery of the items in the package. When first proposed in 1968, the MARTA system was defeated. It was passed when funding was agreed to with a 1 percent sales tax (one half percent after 10 years) and very low fares. MARTA is committeed to 7 years of 15-cent fares, followed by 3 years of 5-cent increases. Thereafter, the fare will be set as needed to fulfill legal requirements. Along with such items as bus shelters, air-conditioned buses, and services levels, the community responsibility component is important in MARTA's success. Among important policy committments of the system are: (1) fair treatment for those displaced by MARTA construction; (2) equal employment practices; (3) minority business enterprise procurement policies; and (4) equal service levels to all segments of the community. The most important element in the long-term success of the package has been delivery on the public trust. An important problem may be regional, funding is largely local. This separation of transportation planning and funding is makes any effective packaging of service and financing for multimodal transport projects virtually impossible.

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    • Distribution, posting, or copying of this PDF is strictly prohibited without written permission of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials in this PDF are copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. This paper appeared in TRB Special Report 208, Proceedings of the Conference on Evaluating Alternative Local Transportation Financing Techniques. Conference was conducted by TRB and sponsored by FHWA and UMTA, November 28-30, 1984, Denver, Colorado.
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    Transportation Research Board

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  • Authors:
    • Walther, Erskine S
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  • Publication Date: 1985

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  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Pagination: pp 11-14
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  • Accession Number: 00451146
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Nov 30 1985 12:00AM