ATLANTA — With the passage of House Bill 511, state lawmakers have established a mechanism to annually fund capital transit projects that support economic development priorities throughout the state.
The Fiscal Year 2022 budget includes $6 million to support a $50 million station transformation at the Bankhead rail station, which will serve the new Microsoft Campus announced last month at Quarry Yards.
“House Speaker David Ralston and Dean Calvin Smyre have been working for years on bi-partisan state funding for transit projects, and are to be commended,” MARTA General Manager and CEO Jeffrey Parker said in a news release.
“I also want to acknowledge the leadership shown by Governor Kemp to recognize these funds in the budget and the Georgia Senate for embracing this new funding model,” Parker added. “I believe that having the State of Georgia partner with us to make the changes needed at Bankhead Station to support Microsoft will lead to a long and mutually beneficial relationship that will support continued economic development in our region and more mobility for residents and visitors alike.”
MARTA officials point to the Microsoft Campus investment as an example of how the state and transit authorities can partner to make Georgia more attractive to companies seeking to make significant investments in the metro Atlanta area. Transit was listed as a critical consideration for Microsoft in choosing to invest in Georgia, officials said.
In working with Microsoft, MARTA has identified $50 million in infrastructure improvements to the Bankhead rail station, including increased capacity and access and potential transit-oriented development.
“MARTA has been working over the last decade to get our house in order to be prepared for this moment,” MARTA Board Chair Rita Scott said in a news release. “The State of Georgia can feel confident that MARTA’s nine years of balanced budgets, strong bond rating and current leadership team will be responsible stewards of this investment.”