At Monday's council meeting, MARTA project manager Janide Sidifall presented findings from the on-going study, Connect 400, which is looking at long-range transit options for an area extending from Perimeter Center to Windward Parkway in Alpharetta.
According to Sidifall, the project has been narrowed down to three high-capacity transit options – heavy rail transit, light rail transit and bus rapid transit.
The project team has held four public meetings on the subject to gain input from the community and stakeholders.
Sidifall said the question of funding has come up in these meetings.
“A lot of people have said, 'well, there's no transportation funding. How are we going to fund it?' That's a big question for us and something that we're working on,” she said.
Mayor David Belle Isle said since the transit authority is already operating at a deficit, “giving MARTA more responsibility isn't the best idea.”
Sidifall also said “there's very strong community support for heavy-rail transit” and said community members along the 11-mile corridor – not necessarily from Alpharetta – have expressed a desire to leave their cars at home when they go out.
But Councilman D.C. Aiken pointed out that the project team had not held any input sessions in Alpharetta before that night, even though four of the six proposed stations are in Alpharetta, at Mansell Road, North Point, Old Milton Parkway and Windward Parkway.
“You do need to get community support,” he said.
Sidifall said the team will be collecting community and stakeholder input through about Oct. 28.
“We will use all of that information to make a determination and a recommendation to the MARTA board,” she said.
Council members expressed concern that they have been out of the loop on the project; Councilman Michael Cross said he didn't realize the process was so close to recommending a plan for adoption.
The next input meeting will be held at Alpharetta City Hall Sept. 26 from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m.
The purpose of the meeting will be to gather public comment on three alternative plans.
Information, including complete study documents, on MARTA’s proposed north Fulton expansion can be found at www.itsmarta.com/northline-documents.aspx.
MARTA also has a Facebook page dedicated to the expansion at www.facebook.com/Connect400.
A public input session will be held at Alpharetta City Hall Sept. 26 from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m.