Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms today announced that the United States Department of Transportation (US DOT) has awarded the City of Atlanta and the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) a $12.6 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant.
The $12.6 million grant will help fund a $48.6 million, 9.4-mile route of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) from the historic Summerhill neighborhood South of I-20 to the MARTA Arts Center Station in Midtown Atlanta.
“This TIGER grant is more than an investment in our city’s infrastructure, it is a long overdue investment in an often-overlooked area of our City,” Bottoms said. “The dividends paid by investing in South Atlanta will boost our economy and lift up communities long-waiting for an opportunity. This news is further evidence of what can be accomplished when we reach across partisan and governmental lines to work together for a common good.”
The Summerhill Bus Rapid Transit is an approximately 9.4-mile bus rapid transit route connecting the Summerhill neighborhood of Atlanta anchored by Georgia State University to MARTA’s heavy rail system and the Atlanta Streetcar network.
The route will include stations and vehicles linking Midtown, Piedmont Park, Downtown, existing MARTA stations, and the new Summerhill mixed-use development. The Summerhill development—expected to take several years to fully build out—represents a potentially $1 billion investment in South Atlanta.
“Passengers, drivers and so many others will benefit from this grant, which will address mobility, access, and safety challenges in some of our vital Atlanta transportation corridors,” said U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson. “The rapid bus transit project once completed will offer much better links between neighborhoods, office buildings, higher education institutions and medical facilities that area residents rely on daily. I congratulate MARTA and the City of Atlanta on this positive news.”
This announcement represents the very first installation of BRT in the state of Georgia. BRT is a high-capacity transit system that utilizes existing roadways and dedicated lanes to quickly transport passengers throughout a city or region via bus.
BRT lines are connected to local traffic grids so they trip lights, stop less frequently than traditional buses, and have pre-paid ticketing systems.
The project also includes the purchase of approximately five new bus rapid transit vehicles that will operate in a mix of exclusive and shared roadways and the installation of approximately 30 transit station locations with level boarding along with other conveniences.
“We are incredibly excited to see BRT in Atlanta,” said Robbie Ashe, MARTA Chairman. “BRT has been widely successful in the United States and abroad, and I’m excited to see it come to Atlanta. We look forward to working with US DOT and the City on this transformative project.”
Prior to being elected mayor, Bottoms served as Executive Director of the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority (AFCRA), where she fostered community engagement and spearheaded the sale and $350 million planned redevelopment transition of Turner Field.
The redevelopment offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring new amenities, transit and infrastructure to the Southeast stadium neighborhoods of Summerhill, Peoplestown, Mechanicsville, Pittsburgh, and Grant Park.